Thara Fashion est merveilleux!
Recently, we were contacted by a commercial client wanting us to shoot a fashion layout for a new Treasure Valley business: Thara Fashion. Rita Thara Yenga is a beautiful young woman recently immigrated from Kinshasa in the Republic of Congo, who, with her mother, has created a clothing and accessories business featuring “bags, clothes, earrings and bracelets with African fabric” (and style, I might add–they’re not just producing the apparel themselves, they’re also creating the designs).
To make matters even more interesting, the official language of RoC is French; Rita’s English is limited and my French is worse, consisting of the usual stand-bys, like “Bonjour,” “Au revoir,” “C’est magnifique,” and, of course, the always-necessary “Où se trouvent les toilettes.” Even scheduling the session required translation services from Rita’s friend, Richard Kitambo, who also attended the session. Although we shoot a lot of basic commercial work involving models, I hadn’t done a full fashion catalog session in years, and I’d certainly never worked through a translator to direct the model, so it was shaping up to be a novel experience in a variety of ways.
When Rita and Richard arrived at the studio, I still didn’t know exactly what to expect. What rolled in the door was a virtual trunk-load of wonderfully coordinated outfits, 12 dresses or tops in all, complete with matching head-dresses, earrings, bracelets, and handbags—an impressive display of design, outfit coordination, and workmanship. Even more surprising—modeling her own designs, first-timer Rita proved to be wonderfully coachable and downright adorable. Lots of pointing, miming, and photographer demonstrations, but Rita was a champ and a delight to work with.
In spite of Rita’s modeling inexperience, we managed to get a variety of quality poses in all of the outfits plus catalog close-ups of the handbags in just a little over 4 hours—an impressive pace even for a professional model, and especially so given that Rita was restyling her own hair for almost every outfit in between wardrobe changes. By the time we’d finished, I was almost ready to hire her as a production stylist for all my commercial work.