A Fashion Show Just for Moms? Iman Gets Ready to “Strut!”
Iman is set to host the first ever fashion show for moms. We talk with co-producer Vera Sweeney to get the scoop on fashion, moms, and why it matters.
-April Daniels Hussar
I confess … when I first heard about “Strut: The Fashionable Mom Show” — a new event debuting this Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I thought — cool! On the other, I thought … really? Do moms need a whole separate fashion show? Does that mean the rest of Fashion Week doesn’t apply to us? In the end, my enthusiasm won out, because let’s face it — being a mom does present its own set of fashion challenges. Case in point: as I type this, I’m at my kitchen table, no makeup on, wearing a ratty pair of sweats and a sweater I should have donated two years ago. I am no Iman, let’s put it that way.
“Strut” is the brainchild of Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein of The Moms, a multiplatform lifestyle brand, who brought together Holly Pavlika of Momentum, a women’s focused marketing channel within Big Fuel, a social media agency, and Audrey McClelland and Vera Sweeny of Getting Gorgeous. Two hundred people are expended to attend on the event, scheduled for Thursday, February 16 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
Mom (and model, and designer, and all-round superwoman) Iman will host as twenty of the most influential social media moms, including Nicole Feliciano of MomTrends.com and Carol Cain of NYCityMama.com, will showcase 50 looks by a wide variety of designers, from Rebecca Minkoff, David Meister, Rachel Roy and BCBG to The Children’s Place, The Gap, Laundry, and Jones New York. In other words — a huge range of clothes that most moms can relate to, afford, and lay their hands on.
The moms behind “Strut”
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, director of fashion at Lincoln Center and a fashion consultant to IMG, told the Women’s Wear Daily, “I have spent nearly two decades immersed in the fashion industry and have been a mother for about half that time. For me, the worlds of fashion and motherhood are inextricably connected, but navigating a balance between the two is never easy.”
Amen, sister. Sometimes I feel like I have multiple personalities — one day I’m working from home in sweats while trying to keep an eye on a play date, the next I’m digging through my closet frantically trying to find my “good” pair of black heels so I don’t miss my train into the city, where I’ll be mingling with grown-up types who get blowouts and manicures.
I chatted with Vera Sweeny (of Getting Gorgeous) to get her take on why they’re putting on the show, what it means to be a fashionable mom — and why it’s important in the first place.
April: Why do you think we need a fashion show for moms?
Vera: Traditional Fashion Week is really geared towards the press — there’s always a six-month lead for the magazines, so it tends to lean towards the a season ahead. For the every-day mom it doesn’t really make sense to get information about fall fashion in February! We wanted to target brands with accessible clothing that spoke to moms, and that moms could easily go to the store the very next day and pick up. So this is actually in-store fashion. At the end of the show, if someone likes “Look 8,” for example, we’re going to show them what brands were used to make the runway look, and where to immediately buy it.
April: True — the last thing I want to be looking at right now is Fall stuff! Spring and Summer I’m happy to drool over!
Vera: Yes, I mean Fashion Week has to be that way for the print press because of the lead time and I understand that, but we thought it would be really fun way to speak to the mom market, through such a prestigious event as Fashion Week. I mean — everyone loves Fashion Week!
April: What kind of a reaction have you been getting since announcing Strut?
Vera: Everyone that we’ve spoken to in the mom community is excited over the concept because it’s the first of its kind.
April: Tell me about Iman! What’s her involvement?
Vera: Iman is our celebrity host and we are so thrilled to have her on board. Not only is she a successful business woman, but she is a stylish mom as well. She speaks to our message perfectly!
April: What brands are you going to be showing?
Vera: Our show is a true mix of highs and lows. We are showing brands like Michael Kors and Tori Burch. We’re also really proud to be working with brands like T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and Coldwater Creek. These are brands that everyone can find in their neighborhood stores, and they’re probably already shopping there. We’re showing moms what’s available and how to wear it.
April: What do you think is the biggest challenge for moms when it comes to fashion?
Vera: Personally, I feel that after having children and hitting my mid-30s, fashion magazines no longer target my demographic – which is really why Audrey and I started Getting Gorgeous. Because we’re moms, we still want to be fashionable, but I can’t pick up Cosmopolitan and get inspiration anymore. I don’t dress like I’m in my early 20s. So, I think the excitement for the mom community is having someone directly speak to them and their needs. I mean there’s not a magazine out there that really hits the mid-30s to mid-50s range, while keeping it fashionable, accessible, and fun. Strut is also partnering with The Gap – a brand that spans many ages and that doesn’t discriminate.
April: I think a lot of women in that age-range can relate — not just moms. So what is it about being a mom that makes it particularly challenging to stay fashionable?
Vera: I think everyone would give a different answer to this question. When you have children they become your number one absolute first priority, and that’s as it should be, that’s what makes us good mothers. But what happens is some people lose focus of themselves. You get very comfortable. But even though you are running around and you’re just going food shopping, that doesn’t mean you have yo do it in yoga pants and a t-shirt! Moms are allowed to take that long shower, blow dry their hair, put on make-up and get dressed, even if you’re just running to the post office to drop off mail. I think that’s a major problem for moms – life is very busy. A kid adds a completely different layer to your life, and taking care of yourself, something you were so used to doing in your 20s, falls to the side.
April: Why do you feel staying fashionable post-kids is important?
Vera: I feel that Strut is providing a message, saying, remember you are important too! If you liked fashion in your 20s, before you were a mom, you don’t have to stop – you can still continue to be who you are. Just remember it’s important to continue to take care of yourself as well as your family. Remember to just keep yourself on that list!
April Daniels Hussar is BettyConfidential’s executive editor, full-time mom and part-time fashionista.