We Are The Rhoads is Free to go from Coast to Coast
For any fashion shoot, the model is the focus. They are who we’re supposed to pay attention to, where the energy comes from and where our energy goes. But they don’t exist in a vacuum. The location affects the image as much as the model, even if it’s not front and center. The energy of a space, the colors, the light, the natural angles, curves, and topography all contribute to the energy, and usually clients and brands are very picky about what locations they want. When We Are The Rhoads agreed to shoot for Piperlime, it was a much more collaborative and open process.
Piperlime is a very relaxed company, which afforded The Rhoads a lot of space to explore and have fun. The boundaries were far extended from the typical fashion project. “Since it was a Fashion Lookbook it veered more towards an editorial approach. And that’s really refreshing for us,” explains Chris Rhoads. “It’s nice to approach advertising from an editorial perspective.” The constraints on fashion are much higher, since it really has to be about showing off the clothes exclusively. But The Rhoads know what they’re doing, and they can do both at the same time. No problem.
They used that editorial perspective to shoot a veritable catalogue of what Piperlime has to offer. They drew from the entire breadth of brands Piperlime carries, which adds a whole other dimension of bespoke beauty to the shoot. “We were working with several brands,” says Sarah Rhoads. “It was cool to mix and match and have that freedom.” That mixing and matching meant every look, every piece, was chosen precisely for the image it would help to finally build, coalescing into a carefully calibrated look, even though The Rhoads make it look effortless.
For the New York leg of the trip, they went all over. “We shot in Chinatown, that's where we ended at night and was really cool,” explains Sarah. “We’d never shot there in New York, so that was awesome. We also shot in this really amazing, quintessential Indian restaurant that’s been in several movies.” Sarah’s referring to a hole in the wall in the East Village whose ceilings are chock full of Christmas twinkle and chili shaped lights. For many tourists it’s a destination, for The Rhoads it was a new opportunity. Chris says, “We were originally thinking maybe we could find a small hole in the wall bar, or a little restaurant, and then we came up with the idea that it would be awesome to find the smallest place possible with a lot of cool character.” They certainly got that.
Their shoot also brought them to Los Angeles, their own back yard, to shoot Nicole Richie. She’s one of Piperlime's influencers. Nicole picked out a look from the collections, and then she and The Rhoads ventured out into the lesser-known, artsy regions of LA. “We wanted to shoot her in an area that had life and character, and this element of spontaneity because she’s that kind of person,” says Sarah. Chris adds, “It doesn’t look so ‘LA.’ It has some ‘New York’ vibes without being New York, while still also being ‘California.’ It’s kind of its own thing. It really has its own perspective and point of view.”
It’s not often that photographers get as much freedom as The Rhoads were afforded from Piperlime. But it certainly pays off in the photographs.