I headed down to South Africa to shoot this campaign, a collaboration between Banana Republic and Piece & Co., and to capture the artisans behind the sun dyed fabrics that make up the summer collection. We started early in the morning when the dew was still resting on the flowers. The women arrived and lead us to their farm (I guess you’d call it a farm?) which I discovered was just a wild space down a dirt road tucked between vineyards where they keep supplies in an old barn. The artisans ascended, plucking flowers and leaves, picking up things I’d never even seen before, finding lilies in the pond and savoring their scent. These are the native objects they use to create the patterns on the fabrics which are sun dyed right here on this piece of earth.
They were proud and happy. The land was beautiful and loved. I like to think all this energy and joy is transferred into fabrics that now are cut into beautiful dresses and men’s shirts and one can feel this when they put it on. At least I hope these photographs can help share their story and shed light on conscience fashion.
Final portraits of the artisans are shot on back and white film in the barn they work at using a spool of burlap we found lying around as a backdrop. Color portrait of the American woman is Piece & Co.’s founder Kathleen Wright.
You guys know that I am a photographer, professionally. Sometimes I think I am put in a blogger or influencer category which is fine because I love to share my passions on social media and have now for years. It has helped me grow as an artist and thinker, pushed myself creatively and brought many wonderful friends and opportunities into my life. However, at the end of the day I make my living making photographs for companies and brands. Sometimes I share my work and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I not even legally allowed to because the company owns the images and rights straight from my camera. Sometimes the shoots are really creative and fun and inspiring and sometimes I feel as if I’m just a body there to push the trigger of a camera.
This is one of those photography jobs I took that I feel so honored to be a part of. Banana Republic did a really cool thing. They partnered with a globally conscience textile manufacturer called Piece & Co whose main objective was to give opportunities to women in developing worlds while celebrating and even saving artisanal practices. The fabrics created by Piece & Co in partnership with these co-ops around the world are environmentally sustainable and empowering woman as small business owners and even in some cases, the bread winner for their families. When Banana Republic learned about the socially conscience initiative of Piece & Co. they wanted to partner to create a unique limited collection of artisan fabrics. So, off to South Africa we went to photograph the stunning artisans doing their handmade sun dying process that make up the fabrics in the collection, I’ll share those photographs on another post later this week, and to shoot the Banana Republic campaign for the collection on two local South African models.
I loved this shoot. The spirit of the South African people is as beautiful as the landscape. The pride of the artisans showing their process and joy they had seeing the fabric come to life in fashion on our models. I love these photographs because for me they represent a circle, a connection we all have. The hands that create on to the souls that carry them on.
Very special thank you to my dear friend and collaborator Kelly for bringing on board with this project and to Piece & Co., truly Kathleen (founder of Piece & Co.) and Liza (director of Piece & Co.) you two are the most intelligent, talented, impressive women I’ve ever worked with. Thank you Banana Republic for trusting me as your photographer.
Modeled by Carla Peters + Samuel Mukhuwana // Creative Direction by Kizmet. World // Styling by Kelly Framel // Hair & Makeup by Tina Hoffmann // Production by Liza Voloshin
This entire collection is available on Banana Republic where you can see and learn more behind the collection.