BabyFace work on their own terms
Girls need each other more than ever.
The facts that expose our working landscape as sexist are just a quick web search away, and you need only to chat to your nearest lady for the freshest example of female talent being passed over. Within the art world’s growing community of female-led collectives and artistic hive minds, a new generation of girl gangs are attempting to tackle the issue head on. A response that is gathering momentum across the internet, a number of collectives are emerging with the aim to foster underrepresented voices and provide a much needed eco-system of support to female creatives.
Fed up of being “ID’d and underestimated”, Claire Burman and Nellie Eden (pictured below) have set up an all-girl collective and creative agency, BabyFace, pulling focus on women who are excelling in their respective fields. By giving these hand-picked, word of mouth-recommended creatives a platform and trusted support network, they hope to catapult the next generation of geniuses into a more equal future.
We asked the founding duo a few questions about visibility, hope, and going global.
What were you motivations for starting BabyFace – what inspired you to create such a platform?
The concept for BabyFace evolved very organically from conversations the two of us had been having about the wealth of creative people that we were meeting. We’d just moved to London, and there was this overwhelming abundance of women whose output was really so impressive. We began by discussing the lack of community both off and online for women to comfortably chat about work and their career trajectories that was a safe environment and didn’t feel corny or corporate. So, we simply began by interviewing these girls we admired- with the one prerequisite that they recommend the next BabyFace girl, so that the network would grow naturally outwards. Two years later and we’re now an expanding, travelling community of creatives and friends.
Can you tell us about other female collectives that were inspirations for your work with BabyFace?
There are a whole host of communities and collectives who we admire, and they’re not just female. In that last year or two the arrival of WW Club, Born n Bread, Art Hoe, gal-dem, Gurls Talk and numerous other platforms have filled us with inspiration and hope for the future of youth culture.
How did you go about selecting girls to be involved and what qualities make a BabyFace girl?
We don’t have a set of tick boxes when we accept or go after a new girl- there’s myriad attributes that make someone a BabyFace woman. At the core of it, we guess she has to have her own opinion and voice; a signature style and a creative outlet. She has to be active and engaged. The women on our site are people who’s work and personalities we respect and value.
Tell us about some of your favourite BabyFace projects so far.
Each of our projects have been enormously gratifying for different reasons. I think our most recent, a series of images for Evisu (pictured below), stands to be the most representative of us a group. Evisu stood for so much in our youth; it was the pinnacle of streetwear, of an attitudinal and empowered style – it was for a moment, the only thing to be seen in London. We wanted to work with the brand for those reasons, but also to bring it back round for a second time. We love the images because we styled it on some of our most active members and the girls look so empowered and bold. Our friend Leonn Ward shot it, and on shoot day it was more of a hang-out than work, and we think that really comes through. Our first editorial for Champion (pictured top) will always be a favourite of ours. Shot by Francesca Allen, the tracksuits against the backdrop of Sketch just popped. The images shared themselves really – we couldn’t have been happier with the end result.
Why is it important to challenge existing visibility and create your own platform?
Because existing visibility is for white cis males and that just won’t do anymore. We created our own platform because we wanted to work in a way that was unique to us and was entirely on our terms.
What has the response been like to BabyFace and the community?
Nothing but supportive and positive.
How do you see BabyFace evolving in the future?
We want more members and we want the platform to grow globally but we’d be lying if we said our hopes are any more complex that continuing to produce challenging, beautiful and inspiring work with some of the brilliantly talented people we know. That and continuing to facilitate conversation with our peers.