Katherine Omerod has always been the 'nicest woman in fashion". When she was a big editor at Grazia and I was a fish out of water at my first fashion industry dinners she would happily complain with me about how awkward it could be and hand me a drink welcoming me in from the fringes of the room. Although a bonafied influncer who looks impossibly put together on her fast growing instagram, her "northerner" brand of honesty and hard work are really her calling card. People seem really to open up to her as in interviewer in way few other Fashion journalists seem to be able to elicit, and her platform workworkwork.co is a rare space in which we see some of social media's most "perfect" women talking about the less than perfect parts of their life.
Katherine also just had a baby and in typical type A, (Katherine YOU WORK WORK WORK too much) fashion she is also writing a book. So when she mentioned she'd finally be getting a break in France in June I wondered what that would look like for the woman always on a mission now she had a child.
Hello Katherine. So I was thinking about how you mentioned you are so looking forward to your escape to your Mum's (in France) in June and if travel represents something else to a new mother?
I’ve spent the past 10 years on the move, travelling for work, pleasure or just to escape the weather and for me nothing has more resembled my freedom and agency than my overseas itineraries. My immediate family all live in different cities abroad and I was raised between London and Munich, so getting on a plane to change my reality is something that’s always been in my blood. The idea that I wasn’t able to travel after 36 weeks of pregnancy really had an impact on me mentally- it was the first real ‘life as we know it is never going to be the same.’ There was also definitely a sense of being trapped or landlocked as if my passport had been unfairly confiscated.
My last trip was to my mum’s in France for new year. I was 33 weeks pregnant and it wasn’t comfortable, but it made me feel more like myself than I had all trimester. Now my son, Grey, is three weeks old and doesn’t even have his own birth certificate yet-and we’re tied together here in the UK for a while yet. But a journey is on the horizon - we will be spending the month of June in south west France with my mum and her husband. The knowledge that after three months of breastfeeding struggles, sleeplessness and the 24/7 nature of looking after a newborn, I’ll be back in the air and en route to a different daily existence is definitely keeping me going through the long days and nights of new motherhood. I’ll be travelling without my boyfriend, just the baby and I, free again to crisscross the skies. A change as they say is as good as a rest.
Do you think that the idea of a holiday has taken on a very different meaning to you all of a sudden having had a baby?
Most definitely. Being a new mother is so profoundly life altering and totally remoulds your identity. I’m no longer that girl who can just book a trip on a bored Monday at my desk. Firstly my desk is now on my lap and secondly I have my baby knitting me to my roots here in London. The idea of getting away is like getting a bit back towards myself.
Does it represent a reprieve from the exhaustion or a chance to reclaim a little of your old self do you think?
It’s both for sure. Like so many women these days, I’m looking after my baby alone for most of the day in a small, urban apartment. I don’t have any family close by, so it’s pretty much my boyfriend and the generosity of friends when it comes to sharing the task. They say it takes a village to raise a baby, but mine is more like a tiny hamlet. I’m definitely looking forward to having someone I trust so implicitly to share some of the hours with. Even just being with my mum will also be wonderful - though I’m sure the glasses of champagne at lunch and pate, cheese & French bread will also help!
You are going to your Mum's house in France do you think you and Haden (her partner) could face any trips without a built in support network soon?
We always travel with or to see friends - in fact in our four years together we’ve only ever done one trip just the two of us. We’ll most probably have a European trip with two of our girlfriends from California this summer and will also go to Munich to see my dad. I know Mexico is on the cards early next year which is already exciting and I’ve been thinking of doing a little city break to Amsterdam too.
I know I oddly didn't really enjoy the idea of going anywhere for 6 months after Luna was born as things seemed so much more impossible? You were traveling right up to D-day did you do that with the fact you felt like you'd be more trapped at home in mind or was it just life?
One of the things I’m most excited about is travelling with Grey - I know it’s not going to be a cakewalk, but I was travelling as a baby from 6 weeks and I’m fairly relaxed about the fact it’s going to be a drag logistically. I guess my life has always included travel so it wasn’t special to be going places up to my labour day - but those trips definitely took in new meaning.
Does it feel harder to be part of "the fashion world" when you can't just pop to Paris next Tuesday? is that scary or kinda nice to have an excuse to say no?
There’s always that insecurity that you’re missing out on work I think when you love your career and you have a baby. I do think social media has changed fashion in terms of participation - I can definitely stay part of the world without ‘going on tour’. My issue was more about the maternity discrimination. As an influencer I had two big jobs cancel when they found out I was pregnant, which I found pretty shocking - especially as I was only 16 weeks when it happened. That made it feel hard to feel part of the fashion world - you just feel so rejected when things like that happen. As to the swanky invites, I’ve found you just don’t get them when you’re really pregnant or you’ve just had a baby, which I’m totally ok with - I’ve got bigger fish to fry both professionally and personally right now.
What are your three favorite Postpartum things?
Not being pregnant (hallelujah), red wine, amazing other mums who have been so incredibly supportive.
Is keeping up a social media presence harder now or is it a nice way to feel connected?
I mean, there’s a lot of time when you’re feeding to connect with other people, but it’s definitely on a different level. I’m not wearing the coolest clothes and my lifestyle isn’t so ‘aspirational’ so it’s trickier to keep that side of things going. But I set up a new account to chart my journey into motherhood and that is very easy to maintain a presence on because it’s just a frank reflection of my new life as a mum.
Tell me about what is next for you apart from obviously being the most wonderful mother I can imagine?
I have a book coming out later in the year and I’ve got to finish it. Not the world’s best timing, but hey, that’s freelance life! Aside from that it’s just learning how to keep Grey happy and creating a rhythm for our new life together ️.