One of the best parts of working for Kt as the Influencer Marketing Specialist is having a hand in the creative side of our company. Within a month of starting my role, I found myself catapulted into the exciting world of creative brainstorming, planning photoshoots and meeting dynamic models from various walks of life.
On June 8th, we launched our Pride-inspired Free to Be Collection, and from the photos we’ve released (so far), it’s evident that the shoot was high energy and tons of fun. What isn’t shown, however, is the amount of hard work, dedication and planning that went into executing a successful campaign.
First, we needed to refine what our overall message was for this collection and how we were going to promote it authentically. It was incredibly important to us that we approached anything related to Pride with a high level of intention and understanding. Rather than attempting to create our own movement that may have come across as inauthentic, we made the decision to focus on immersive storytelling that detailed individual experiences, collective feelings and diverse personalities.
We recognize that there is no such thing as a monolithic experience, so we worked with our New York-based creative team (thank you Maria, Ashley and Alex!) to curate a plan that allowed for more movement, personality and energy to shine through the entire shoot.
We drew inspiration from high-energy, retro time periods like the ‘70s and ‘90s. We were attracted to the bright colors and freedom of the ‘70s and the bold makeup looks and movement of the ‘90s.
Once we had a set plan for the direction of the shoot, the next step was to choose the models. This was a long and dutiful process. Our creative team, Maria, Ashley and Alex, asked models to dance and answer questions about themselves, such as “What does self-expression mean to you?”
Each casting was filmed and I won’t lie, making the final decision on who would be a part of the campaign was difficult. Ultimately, we decided to choose a wide range of models of different sizes, shapes and personalities. In my experience, we could not have chosen a better cast.
I arrived in New York the day before the shoot. Like many people, I’ve always harbored a secret dream of moving to New York City and working in fashion. In some ways, this felt like I was achieving that dream!
I woke up at 7am on the day of the first shoot and arrived at Rein Studios at 10am with a coffee in my hand. I was greeted by a friendly receptionist and met three out of our 12 models – Angelica, Diane and Ariana – to shoot images for our e-commerce. I was excited with how much we had in common. We talked about dating, school, and fashion, and it felt really nice to be around people close to my age. It honestly made the whole experience of being in New York a lot less daunting.
I watched the models pose individually and together, as music by Lizzo and Drake blasted in the background. The models posed with ease and confidence and there wasn’t a single photo I didn’t like. After the shoot, myself and Diane (one of the models) walked to the subway together and they told me more about their experience living in New York. I felt like I had made three new friends.
I arrived at Vivid Kid studios for the second day of shooting at 10:30 am. There were rows and rows of colorful clothing, eclectic jewelry and other funky accessories lining the walls. Further in, at the hair and makeup station, excited models sat to get their hair braided in dynamic styles and faces painted with brightly-colored makeup and glitter. An aura of positive energy pulsated throughout the entire studio. I had arrived at the shoot absolutely exhausted – I decided to make the most out of my New York trip and spent 90% of the night out with my friends – but everyone’s excitement energized me faster than a triple espresso shot.
As soon as I arrived, I sprung into action. I quickly grabbed my phone and began filming footage for the @ktbyknix social media accounts. I queued up a fun mix of Drake, Lizzo, Beyonce, High School Musical and Cardi B on the sound system. When I say everyone was having a fantastic time, I am not exaggerating. The models, the crew and I danced around the studio, laughed, talked and cheered for one another.
In between the shoots, I continued interviewing the models. I gave each model the option to read the questions ahead of time and choose which ones they felt comfortable answering. I was moved by how vulnerable and honest the answers each model gave.
Halfway through the day, we ordered lunch from a Mediterranean restaurant and drank coffee to refuel. Once I grabbed my food, I sat in a huge circle with all of the models and spent more time with them. I loved every second of it.
We all felt comfortable in one another’s presence and I felt really connected to everyone. The theme of the photoshoot was embracing your individuality and acceptance, so it really felt like a safe space for everyone.
Every single person showed up as their true selves, which in turn, encouraged me and others to be who they wanted to be. There was no judgement or shame; you could feel the love, respect and care radiating from each person in the room.
After lunch, the rest of the day seemed to zoom by. By 7pm, we had successfully shot every single piece of underwear and wrapped the photoshoot. We all hugged one another and promised to meet up again in the future.