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Modibodi had the pleasure of chatting to the lovely Alex Lyons, the founder of the extremely successful baby carrier company, Ankalia. The recent, This Body Wears Campaign saw a range of beautiful mothers across Australia coming together to celebrate the female form in all its varieties. The campaign aimed to challenge perceptions of what a 'normal' woman's body should look like after pregnancy and to celebrate their post baby bodies with their children. Always looking for new ways to inspire women to be comfortable in their bodies and to promote empowerment and positivity, Modibodi donated a range of garments for mothers to wear at the photoshoot. Read on to find out more about how Ankalia and Modibodi came together for this amazing movement!
Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself (interests/passions etc)
I’m Alex, a 30 year old mum of two little girls. I’m passionate about textiles, babywearing, and have a budding interest in photography. I co-own Ankalia with Kellie Rakich. We started Ankalia in May 2014 when we both noticed a gap in the Australian carrier market.
Where did the idea for the Ankalia carrier come from? What inspired you?
Baby carriers are not a new concept. Parents have been wearing their children for centuries, however we launched Ankalia back in May 2014 when Kellie and I realised they there were no Australian made and owned companies on the market.
How do you think an Ankalia wrap or carrier is superior to other baby carriers?
We pride ourselves on creating a product that is functional, fashionable and of the highest quality, we are also 100% Australian owned, designed and manufactured, which when we launched was unheard of. We maintain our competitive edge by listening to our customers and creating carriers that suit their needs.
Can you tell us a bit about the ‘This Body Wears’ campaign and the vision behind it?
The vision for the This Body Wears campaign was to challenge Western societal expectations and celebrate our bodies postpartum.
Do you think many women find it difficult to accept their changing bodies both during and after pregnancy?
There is no doubt that having children physically changes your body, and these changes can be difficult to accept. We live in a digital age and 99% of the time images that we see online have been retouched, giving us all unrealistic expectations on how women's bodies look postpartum.
How do you think social media has impacted women’s perceptions of themselves?
It absolutely has an impact. Representation across all body shapes matters, and when women don't see their body shape in media they struggle to identify, whether that be with a brand or the concept behind what women are supposed to look like postpartum.
How important do you think it is for perceptions of what ‘motherhood’ should look like to be really broad and inclusive?
We strive for inclusivity as a brand in all aspects of our marketing. As I mentioned above, representation matters. When parents are able to identify with our imagery and our brand they then feel safe to engage in online chatter spaces and the wider Ankalia community. These online spaces are so important in modern day parenting - they act as a safety net to so many.
Modibodi as a company has a strict ‘no retouching or editing’ policy for all our campaigns and photos, do you believe there is a benefit to women when companies decide to use real and raw women in their campaigns?
Yes! We love that you don't retouch. I know I want to see unedited women in more campaigns, some of the imagery used by other companies feels so insincere. It was pivotal to the This Body Wears photo shoots to ensure that there was no retouching either. The whole point was to have women embracing their bodies for all they have done in growing, birthing and nourishing our little humans.
The photoshoot was also about celebrating the beautiful moments between mother and child, why did you think it was important to include this aspect as well as body positivity?
There's no doubt that having a child whether biological or by another means changes us. Not just physically, but emotionally too. Wearing our children through their infancy and beyond has benefits to both the parent or caregiver and child. For the adult most of these benefits are emotional and sensory. For the child it's emotionally, sensory and also developmentally. And it's this deep emotional connection that we wanted to capture. If you chat to any parent who actively wears their baby, they'll tell you that there is something so special about that journey. They way their bond strengthens over the years thanks to a something as simple as a baby carrier - and that's incredible to watch.
What was the atmosphere like at the photoshoot and how were the women feeling both before and after?
Like the first photo shoot held on the Sunshine Coast, there was quite a bit of nervous energy upon arrival. However once hair and make up started and the women got to chatting the vibe loosened up. Whilst there was no pressure from us to get down to just underwear we wanted everyone felt comfortable in their skin, and when you have women not covering themselves back up in between shoots I think that speaks volumes to what we achieved on the day.
The combination of the Ankalia carrier and Modibodi underwear was really amazing, how did the women feel in these products?
All of the women that I spoke to about their underwear loved them, they all commented on how comfortable they were. But one particular conversation stuck with me. I was chatting to one of our participants after her individual and mini group shots and she was left speechless at how beautiful and powerful she felt. A combination of comfortable underwear made for women, by women and being surrounded by other mothers who she’d connected with online to capture this time where her body with its strength, beauty and power carried her son. For me, hearing the few but powerful words coming out of her mouth is a moment i’ll never forget.
Why do you think Modibodi underwear was such a good choice for this shoot?
We really wanted to partner with a brand who shared our ethos our vision and our passion and Modibodi is that brand. Just like Ankalia, Modibodi is the brain child of another incredibly driven woman (Kristy Chong), who is on a mission to empower women through an awesome product.
What are your plans for the future with Ankalia and what do you hope to achieve through it?
2017 for us has been jam packed with new releases, accessories and a rethink when it comes to release sizes and providing our existing customers with beautiful limited edition textiles to keep them feeling fabulous. Since the beginning of last year and an ongoing mission for us to help educate and empower new parents to add babywearing to their parenting toolkit. We feel strongly that wearing your baby safely and easily is one of the best tools that any parent has access to.
The women who took part in this campaign can be seen wearing a variety of garments from the Modibodi Classics Range - all in beige. These include the Classic Full Brief and Classic Bikini. [embed_popupally_pro popup_id="11"]