It's been said ad nauseam that, for a young brand, having a large presence and clear aesthetic on Instagram is absolutely crucial, as buyers, stylists and editors prowl the platform daily for new, inspiring talent. Case in point: Husband-and-wife duo Renee and Gibson Fox, who founded their brand Daisy just two years ago, landed an exclusive retail partnership with Opening Ceremony after debuting their first collection on the feed.
"When we started Daisy, we wanted to do a project that was our baby — not for a client, just something we would do for fun," explains Renee, who left her "dream job" as the fashion editor at Oyster magazine to work on the brand with Gibson full time. "After we released the first images on Instagram, Opening Ceremony sent us a DM saying they loved the label."
The partners each have a rich background in the fashion industry: Renee studied design in Sydney, which included courses in textiles, screen printing and illustration, and her mother has a pattern making company, teaching her how to sew as a child. Gibson studied photography, but has both technical and production experience as well. "We worked together on-and-off at a lot of places," Renee says of the times they collaborated on projects for different Australian fashion brands. "But what we liked most was the stuff we had total creative control over — we found it challenging working for other people and not doing what we wanted," adds Gibson, who pointed to editorials that he photographed and Renee styled as his favorite examples.
When they decided to take the leap and start Daisy, the couple claims to not have considered the aesthetic too much beforehand. "It was really like what [Renee] wanted to wear at the time," Gibson says. "We were going on honeymoon, which led to the gingham tops and everything." The first collection, entitled "Pure Country," was chock-full of Americana: cowhide separates, sailor-style tops and crisp cotton, all in shades of red, white and blue. "Because some of it is so sweet and super-feminine, we like to have a fetish element to temper it and give it a bit of balance," Renee explains. "It's nice to have these two opposite characters interplaying within the same story."
Because they're based in a different hemisphere, the duo tries to stay away from season-specific collections, opting to name or number each range. "The second season was a big jump; I think people thought 'ah, this is a country brand,'" Gibson says of "Human Emotion," which was inspired by Renaissance-era humanist theory and included everything from oversize streetwear to lace-up corset dresses to silky, puff-sleeve blouses. By the time season two dropped, Kim Kardashian had worn a first-season piece on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," exponentially increasing brand awareness and sell-through. (Daisy even created a capsule for OC based on best-selling items that flew off shelves.) Other high-profile fans of the label include Bella Hadid, Petra Collins, Chrissy Teigen and Chanel Iman, whose looks have been featured on Daisy's Instagram. The third season of Daisy is set for a July release, and the duo will bring their wares stateside to participate in Made Los Angeles in June.
Renee and Gibson do every conceivable aspect of the business themselves, from shipping out e-commerce orders, to pattern making and sewing the first sample sets, to shooting the look books, which Renee does hair and makeup for. All production is done in Australia with local merchants, as well. "We're super hands-on... it feels like we can be proud of it and that it's really 'us,' because we do everything to do with it — it's not diluted or anything," Renee says. "Having worked in the industry for other people and them not having such a strong idea — if it's just us, we pretty much live it. We fight a lot, but it's good," Gibson adds with a laugh.
Perhaps the biggest challenge? Maintaining the work-life balance as a married couple. "The thing that changed my life was not reading emails in bed; we get up, take the dog for a walk, get a coffee and have a morning together," Gibson says. "It is really demanding to be doing something ourselves and it's growing and we're trying to manage it all, so we do have to give a lot of our time to it," Renee adds. But the ability to speak bluntly to each other and unwavering trust in Daisy's vision is the duo's biggest asset. "If I feel really strongly about something or vice versa, we'll trust each others' judgement; we're pretty much on the same page with everything," Gibson explains. "If you couldn't express yourself completely honestly to someone, it just would never work," echoes Renee. "We can just say whatever to each other and we'll get over it. We do fight, but it's worth it. I love to be able to have a career where we can be together."
Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia provided my transportation and accommodations to cover the event.