Trying to find a perfectly slouchy sweater or just-the-right-fit tee is hard enough as a style-conscious mother, but when you’re also searching for the little people in your life? Well, the hunt can be filled with a seriously lacklustre selection of ill-fitting shapes and more licensed characters than you can throw a stick at…
Camilla Freeman-Topper of CAMILLA AND MARC took matters into her own finely-skilled hands when she couldn’t find quality basics for her own three children, Wolfie, Missy and Leudi, and we’re so glad she did. The CAMILLA AND MARC KIDS range consists of two unisex pieces, a logo sweater and logo tee, both made with function, comfort, and above all else, fun in mind. The capsule collection is available exclusively from CAMILLA AND MARC stores nationally, as well as online, and range from sizes 2 – 10, meaning quality basics with just the right amount of spunk are available to cater to both little and big kids who might even like to twin with mum (the popular Huntington Logo Tee is also available in adult size). To celebrate the launch of this exciting foray into the kids-wear market, we caught up with Camilla to talk business, babies and the ever-changing Australian fashion landscape. Images: Sarah Adamson | Words: Marisa Remond | Go to www.camillaandmarc.com
Describe your new childrenswear range in three words...
Classic, effortless, timeless.
Do you have any little muses for the range?
The inspiration for the capsule began with my own children; Wolfie, Missy and Leudi. Finding quality basics in great shapes and relaxed fits was the starting point for the design and from there, I wanted to create pieces that could be worn or layered for any season, that would wear well.
What are some of the biggest challenges for fashion brands in Australia right now?
The challenges locally here in Australia are very similar to the challenges that designers face internationally. The industry is evolving and shifting so rapidly and the digital age of fashion means that staying relevant and staying meaningful is now more important than ever. What do you stand for as a brand? How are you talking to your customers? Understanding that is essential.
When launching a new range such as your kidswear range, how do you marry business considerations with creative aspirations?
The process really doesn’t change from collection to collection or for limited edition capsules like this one. Marc takes care of the business side of things, I look after the design and creative direction and together we work on brand – it’s a formula that’s always worked well for us, so we very lucky in that respect.
How do you juggle running your own business with mothering three children – do you ever experience mother’s guilt?
I try to be as centred and balanced as I can be so I’m present with my family and when I’m at work. Being organised is so essential; creating a disciplined routine and daily structure allows me the time and space to enjoy my children and have fun when I’m home with the kids. Looking after myself is also essential. I try to get enough rest, I eat plenty of nourishing whole foods and I find time for myself – usually a few yoga classes per week, daily walks and a massage with my husband once a week. If I don’t do all of the above, things can have a tendency to fall off balance, and that’s when the guilt can have a way of creeping in. Ultimately the business is my passion, joy and my livelihood but at the end of the day, it’s work, and that perspective is important. My kids are my everything, and so when push comes to shove, they’re always my priority.
Do you ever feel exhausted and if so, how do you overcome this?
Finding the balance is key and making sure my schedule isn’t too intense is so crucial in avoiding going into overwhelm. That said, yes, there are times when I’m exhausted, like all working mothers, and I take it as a sign that I need to slow down, reconnect to what’s really important and set stronger boundaries around work and home life.
Do you work at night or get up early – how do you structure your working day?
I like to work late, it’s when I feel most creative. Often it can be a double edged sword as too many late nights and I start to feel drained so I try to strike a balance, allocating select nights as work, and others as pure family time. I start every day with cuddles in bed with my babies, then yoga or walk, followed by taking the kids to school, then into the office. I arrive at the office most days around 9am, and a typical day involves many meetings with the design team, PR and marketing department, retail design meetings and event planning – no two days are ever the same which I love. I finish every day feeling grateful to the team – we all work so hard, the business wouldn’t be what it is without them, and I don’t ever take that for granted. In the evening I have dinner with my family and put my children to bed. After that, my husband and I are either working or spending time being with each other, enjoying some quiet time.
What do you love most about motherhood?
It’s so difficult to answer that question in a few sentences or less, the love is indescribable. Every day is filled with so much joy and having three, all with such unique personalities and ideas and perspectives on the world is endlessly fascinating, magical and hilarious. They are my world. Every day I learn from them, they’re my ultimate teachers. Their perspectives help guide and shape my own view of the world, which then allows me to see things differently. They are my biggest inspiration.
And what do you find is the most challenging part of motherhood for you?
Striking a balance between motherhood, work, and self. There are only so many hours in a day, and I feel the more pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect – the more challenging we can make things for ourselves. The more organised and disciplined I am, the more I’m able to relax into a routine, which then allows me to live in the moment and enjoy life.