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Erin was modelling, Becky was styling, and the two hit it off.
“We always laughed that we had the same taste, we’d turn up with the same bag or the same Zara pants, and just so many factors of our lives were identical,” says Erin.
Even when Erin married footballer Fabio Borini and the couple relocated from her home city of Liverpool to Newcastle then Milan, they never lost touch, meeting up each year to shoot the latest collections.
After Erin gave birth to baby Stella and Becky went over to Italy to visit for New Year 2020, they realised fashion wasn’t just a shared passion, but it could be a new business venture for them too.
Now just over 18 months later, their brand Bow&Bo has become a mini-me style go-to, with celebrities dressing up to match their children in the friends’ designs.
“Stella was about three months old at the time and I was telling Becky I found it hard to find good quality baby grows in Italy,” explains Erin. “They were all either at the cheaper end and not such nice quality or a jump up to a 100+ euro price tag, so there was a real gap in the market for good quality organic baby grows that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
“And I was always trying to twin with Stella and wear matching outfits, but there wasn’t a lot out there that I liked.
“I was still on maternity leave and on a break from modelling, and Becky told me she’d always wanted to do a clothing brand that she could also wear. My degree is in international fashion marketing, Becky’s is in fashion journalism and she’s worked in the industry as a stylist for 15 years, so we thought we could pull these things together and do our own mini-me really high-quality clothing brand. That’s how Bow&Bo was born.”
After their holiday Becky, who lives in Cheshire, flew back to the UK and they both began working on ideas for their new brand. Once Covid hit it meant that Becky’s diary, which had been full with styling jobs, was suddenly clear and the two could give it their undivided attention.
“When everything closed down, I started sketching on my iPad, she started sketching at home and we were bouncing off each other,” says Erin.
“We talked about what we liked and what we didn’t, fabrics, colours, what was practical and what wasn’t, and what was missing. We came up with our first collection and we called on valuable contacts in the fashion industry to help us put our ideas into a factory-ready Tech Pack. We had some social distanced meetings in gardens and it took off from there.”
Erin and Becky centred their designs on mini-me looks, but from an adult perspective of what they wanted to wear, creating a range of pyjamas and loungewear for adults and under-11s to match.
“Quite often mini-me brands can be portrayed as cheesy or not so cool but we’ve really kept the high fashion styles and put them into mini-me without compromising on the quality or ethics of the brand because we felt very strongly that everything should be organic and sustainable,” says Erin.
“We made sure we used a neutral colour palette because we wanted dads to match little girls and mums to match little boys. It’s not all about mums and daughters.”
Erin and Becky launched their first Bow&Bo collection in January 2021 having worked on every element themselves.
“Even the prints were initially hand-drawn before being made digital and printed onto fabric,” says Erin. “Nothing has been out-sourced creatively, that’s why we’re so proud of it because it’s our ideas completely from start to finish.”
They’ve been lucky, they admit, to have a loyal network of contacts and friends in the fashion and football worlds supporting their hard work.
So many celebs have already shared photos of themselves and their kids wearing Bow&Bo, and their combined social media reach running into many millions has given the brand a huge boost.
Gorgeous A-list mums like Vogue Williams, Millie Mackintosh, Amy Jackson, Frankie Bridge and Rochelle Humes have all posted at-home snaps in matching PJs and loungewear. Even England’s World Cup hero Luke Shaw got in on the mini-me act, teaming with his son Reign.
“We’ve never paid an influencer, people genuinely like the product and the brand enough to want to post about it which is very exciting for us. Our following has been as naturally organic as the product,” says Erin.
They were surprised at first by how many women bought the designs for themselves as well as to twin with their children.
“We’d thought it would be predominantly mums and babies, but women love Becky’s style and look to her for fashion inspiration via her Instagram @beckyfashionstylist so a lot buy just for themselves.”
They’ve had plenty of encouragement from closer to home too, and a couple of very willing models to call on.
“Both of our husbands have been so supportive,” says Erin. “Fabio actually modelled for the latest collection drop, matching Stella in his matcha sage green pyjamas!”
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