Absolutely Mama meets author, journalist, influencer and mama-of-two Katherine Ormerod to talk about her new collaboration with sustainable womenswear brand Baukjen…
Tell us about your collaboration with Baukjen. How did it come about?
I’ve been working with Baukjen on content projects for five years now and the team and I have always had a natural affinity. I so believe in everything they have done to turn their business upside down to become a BCorp business, putting planet and people first. I’ve also kept so many of the classic Baukjen pieces over the years, and so when we started talking about a bigger project, it felt natural that it would be a collection of contemporary staples which would work season after season.
How did you work with Baukjen to design the collection and how does it reflect your own personal style?
I worked with Baukjen and her design team firstly to come up with the 10 signature pieces which I rely on every spring. We then put together a moodboard of shared images and started talking about the cuts, silhouettes and – something that is really important to me – the way the garments would feel on the body. It is everything that I wear – a mixture of feminine shapes with more masculine detailing, simple, distinctive staples which you can wear in hundreds of different ways.
Sustainability is a hot topic in fashion right now. Was it important to you to partner with an eco-conscious brand?
I mean, sustainability is more than just a hot topic, it’s our only response to an unprecedented catastrophe. Everyone is looking for ways to do what they can to avert the climate crisis – and I always felt that if I was putting my name (quite literally on the Florence Dress!) on a collection, it had to be made ethically and with environmentally considered materials.
Do you think your style has changed since becoming a mother and if yes, how so?
I don’t think my style has changed, except I feel like I am clearer on what that style actually is. I’ve been pregnant three times since 2017 and my body has been through all that flux – so the pieces that I still reach for after all of that are the ones which really define my personal aesthetic. Pleated trousers, unusual prints in a Picasso-esque palette, stripes, raw denim… But I also still do tight dresses, high heels and short shorts, so I certainly haven’t become more conservative.
On a busy day juggling mum and work duties, what would be your go-to, failsafe outfit?
I don’t really dress like I’m juggling even when I am. If I’m doing soft play, I’ll do a jumpsuit in a bright colour with Converse, but otherwise it’s a printed dress with heeled boots or polished trousers with a Breton, and slip ons. I never leave the house without clean hair, perfume and my jewellery – I don’t need makeup, but I do need a clean fringe if I’m going to be able to shake off a bad night and feel bright for the day ahead.
What’s the transition from being a mama-of-one to having two little ones been like?
It’s been very seamless, but that’s because we got an angel after having an extremely challenging first baby! I think the most important difference is that I don’t care what anyone else thinks this time around and am very much in my stride as a parent. We started paying for childcare from 14 weeks when I started easing back into writing and I stopped breastfeeding and started sleep training when both issues were negatively impacting the family as a whole. Those were steps which I should have taken with my first baby, instead I pushed myself to the brink doing all sorts of frankly insane things trying to please people I didn’t even know. I think when you have had a really tough experience with an unsettled child it can be so daunting to think about having another – but it’s always going to be yin and yang – have you ever heard anyone say, ‘my children are exactly the same’? Never!
With your career busier than ever, how are you managing the mum-work-life balance?
Childcare is the only way you can manage doing two full time jobs at once. At the moment my eldest son is in nursery four days a week and I have 12 hours of childminder childcare for the baby – the rest of the time I’m a stay at home mum, which is the majority of my time. Because I also ghostwrite (I wrote two books before Ripley was one) and run the social media side of my business, my boyfriend and I have to be really nimble and flexible as parents (he also works for himself which makes it possible). Sometimes I will have to work 6-11pm four days a week, starting immediately after bath time and that gets hideously exhausting if it’s been an intense day of parenting. Other times, it’s weekend work. But then I’ll also have times when I don’t have any books on and I can lean out of it all a bit more and find the time to get bored of cleaning the fridge and Cocomelon. Basically for me, I need both the family time and the work time, but I struggle doing either of them exclusively. I’d say I definitely need less sleep than I used to and am laser focused whenever I have a window to work. I write a lot on my iPhone notes and even if it’s just 10 minutes, I’ll make that time count. When I was a younger journalist I could spend 5 hours thinking up the opening paragraph to a feature. That is no longer my reality! I also still go out a lot for work, but that is something that remains a huge pleasure for me. I need the evenings of conversations and good food and wine to balance out the time spent raising the boys. I always say 7pm comes and it’s like I’m Clark Kent, out that swivel door in good shoes and red lipstick, unrecognisable 10 minutes before!
And finally, what’s your favourite piece from the Katherine Ormerod X Baukjen collection?
You’re asking me to choose between my babies, here, but probably the Gigi jumper because it works with everything.