Web editors and best mates, Ingrid Kesa and Hayley Morgan are good at fashion and the internet. The multi-skilled duo, who are both writers, stylists and photographers, collaborate on projects across both their creative services website You and Me and online magazine Off Top.
“When we first came up with the idea for Off Top we saw a gap in the market. The way we look at it is like Rookie magazine but for a Tumblr girl,” explains Kesa. The online magazine and shopping site reads like a teen-scrapbook with its psychedelic weekly wish lists and collaged shoots of girl crushes, one mixed-media shoot in particular – featuring musician Julia Cumming – is titled Something in the Way She Moves and features images of Cumming in various poses, the backgrounds illustrated with paint, collage and embroidery.
For You and Me the pair predominantly style shoots for clients such as Oyster magazine, Nasty Gal and New Balance as well as photographing their own projects. The first of which features BRACE magazine creators Laura and Matthew Bannister. “We’ve been putting together ideas for shoots for You and Me since 2010,” recalls Morgan. “We were creating them as though they were real pitches to a magazine, just for fun.” The first of these ideas came to fruition in a shoot for Oyster styled by Kesa and Morgan and shot by Sydney photographer, Ryan Kenny, 18 months ago. This shoot set the precedent for the “suburban nostalgia and big teenage influence,” that Kesa says recurs throughout their projects. “That first shoot that we did with Ryan was an idealised or romanticised teenage suburban situation so I think that’s going to be a reference point throughout what we keep doing”.
With backgrounds working as web editors for Oyster magazine and Two Thousand, working in the online space comes naturally to Kesa and Morgan. “We’re trying to provide something for young girls all over the world,” says Morgan, “and that’s where they are, on the Internet.” Audience response and submissions have left Morgan surprised at, “How many really young people are out there doing so much.” A similar phenomenon is taking place on their Instagram feeds, @you&me4eva and @offtopmag, which is heartening for the pair because, as Kesa puts it, it means they are, “Targeting the people who we dreamed of targeting,” says Kesa, referring to young girls who are using Instagram to build an online following and as platform for their creative projects. As the digital environment influences fashion, “Especially with the over-saturation of bloggers at the moment,” says Kesa, You and Me and Off Top try to move away from that and even poke fun at it. “We’re always there egging each other on,” adds Morgan. “Sometimes we’ll be like, ‘is this idea for the site weird?’ And then we’ll be like, ‘yeah, but we should just do it!’”
With Kesa now based in Melbourne, the girls are looking forward to collaborating with new creatives, starting with Melbourne photographer Ben Clement. With Kesa and Morgan keeping each other on their toes, you can bet their projects will continue to be innovative, fun and unequivocally cool.