Topic Gender-neutral fashion for children
As a modern boutique we like to keep on top of what is currently trending in the world of toys, children's fashion and mum life.
Today we are chatting to Lauren Anne Bostock, former fashion buyer with over 10 years luxury and contemporary experience. Currently works as a small business consultant and a sustainability advisor.
Hi Lauren, could you tell us more about your career background?
I started my career at Net a Porter where I worked for nearly 5 years. I then moved to Asos to work on the Branded footwear team buying Designer and High Street. I stayed there for a similar length of time as NAP. I then went to Selfridges to buy Luxury and Contemporary footwear for the Shoe Galleries, which at the time was the biggest shoe floor in the World. I then moved to be buyer of Footwear and Accessories at Browns, South Molton Street.
When I decided to leave buying to start a family, I wanted to take what I loved from the industry and become freelance. I adore the product and creativity, the relationships with the brands, and sourcing up and coming brands and helping to launch them. It used to bother me how much dead and wasted stock there was and how the buying calendar seemed out of sync with real life.
So here I am now, a freelance brand consultant to small businesses. I help with the buying cycle, achieving better margins, marketing and social media strategies and styling shoots. I have also collaborated with a few brands on their design process and advise on how to make their brands more sustainable.
After many years of buying products that weren't to my taste but for the consumer, I now only work with brands where I truly believe in the product and would wear or use myself.
I feel sustainability and circular fashion is becoming more of a focus nowadays but there still needs to be more awareness. Fast fashion has such a fundamental impact across the board. Vivienne Westwood has always said 'Buy less, choose well, make it last', and that is so true. Also, relevant because I bought a pair of her iconic Pirate boots 14 years ago and I was wearing them on Tuesday. Instead of buying 10 cheap t shirts that fall apart after one wash, but 4 better quality ones that have been made better, wash better, and will last longer. The end price will be the same as the cheaper 10.
There has been an increasing demand for gender neutral fashion across women’s and children’s fashion. Where do you shop?
My favourite womenswear designer brands I used to love buying were always Celine, Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann. I used to enter the showrooms and drool. All of these brands have always been on the more gender-neutral side and I find that reflects in my style as well. I am very much a jeans, shirt and loafer girl and I live in my husband's stripe shirts and wool jumpers.
For my girls I have always bought more neutral pieces for them, but that is mostly because that's what I like. My youngest Evie lives in boys' dungarees from Zara and my eldest Maya lives in the boys white t shirts from the H&M Conscious range. Little Cotton Clothes - Such a beautiful and easy to wear brand. I bought their first collection 5 years ago and they just get better and better.
Greenberry Kids. Maya has been a Greenberry Girl since she was 3 months old. Everything Joo selects is perfect and such a wonderful curation.
Nellie Quats. My youngest Evie lives in Nellie Quats rompers, especially in the summer. Not much cuter than lovely toddler thighs in a romper!
Faune. Again, I bought from the gorgeous girls at Faune way back when with their first collection. Predominately a nightwear brand but it truly is from dusk until dawn. My girls tend to wear their nightdresses in the day and Maya even wore a Faune nightdress to Evie's christening!
What would you say to those who say that dressing kids in neutral colours is taking magic away from childhood/ making them grow up too quickly?
My children have huge fancy dress boxes in their rooms, and as soon as Maya comes in from school, fancy dress goes on. They also have so many parties each weekend and 90% are dressing up. Last weekend they were Batgirl and Robin, the weekend before Princess Jasmine and Superheroes. But no, they don't normally wear 'Disney' clothes other than that. Our life is also very outdoorsy as we live in the country, so our weekends (when not at a kid's party!) is in wellies and Barbours. I never judge other mothers on how they dress and raise their children and therefore I hope I don't get judged too much in return. I believe in buying clothes that wash well and last. They also need to stand the test of time for hand-me-downs in this house. I buy from a lot of small businesses, but also from Zara, H&M (their multipacks of vests, leggings and t shirts are great), and Arket.
The magic of childhood is ever present in our family even if they don't wear their Princess costumes out in the street. Maya lost her first tooth last week and when she woke up there was a fairy door on her bedroom skirting board and glitter scattered over the floor.
What are your thoughts on circular fashion?
It first became more and more relevant to me when i got married 8 years ago. I tried on so many wedding gowns, but I never found 'The One'. I had in my head something so simple, but as we were having a candlelit winter wedding, I needed to up the ante a little. I ended up sourcing a big piece of French antique lace which became my dress (I found a wonderful tailor in Islington to make my dress who also makes a lot of dresses for Princess Anne). I then had a simple strapless dress underneath.
I decided when I had my first girl, I would turn my dress into her Christening gown. And that I did. It was so special, and I couldn't have been happier with the result. I then went on to have my second girl and the same gown was used again. To know that the most important dress I have ever worn became the most important dresses they have ever worn so far means so much. I still have the strapless underdress intact in case they want that for their weddings when they get older. To think that the dress where so many hours went into the making, got to be used on three special occasions emphasised the importance to me of reduce-reuse-recycle.
What would you say is your mum day-to-day style?
Classic, minimal with more statement accessories. I love a good shirt, good coat and damn good shoes! When it comes to my eveningwear, it is a more accessorised version of my daywear. My favourite brands to wear are:
With Nothing Underneath for shirts
46 Stitch for bags and belts (all made from dead stock fabric... Hannah is a genius!)
Navy Grey for knitwear
Honna, If only if Nightwear and Hesper Fox for nightwear (but I also wear during the day too)
We know that you believe in the same ethos as we do – ‘’Buy Less Buy Better’’
What are your top 10 items that you will always treasure?
With Nothing Underneath monogrammed shirt (my husband got our initials embroidered on the cuff for Valentines Day/ my birthday)
My Cos white wrap shirt
Arket brown cashmere roll neck
Topshop Considered mum jeans in blue and washed black
My Bass Loafers that are about 10 years old and i still love them
My Cos grey wool long coat
Gianvito Rossi leopard Maryjane flats
My husband's old Barbour
My Chanel bag which I bought when i joined Selfridges
My Maison M velvet pouch
And a final question-
What do your girls want for Christmas?
Christmas this year will be a little crazy for us as we are moving house the week before. But it will be wonderful to be boxed high in our forever home. Luckily, I’m not cooking Christmas dinner this year as we will have an AGA and I am a novice to that!
The girls will be getting a joint Christmas present in a climbing frame for their new garden. The only other presents they will be getting are their Santa stocking ones. I’m sure Maya will have many Barbies and LOLs noted on her Christmas list!
Thank you for sharing your opinion on gender-neutral style & muted colours for children.
If you would like to follow Lauren's journey on Instagram search for a_style_lab