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I’m a Cool Mom! Photographer Kathy Lo On How Dressing Her Kids Inspired Her Label

Vogue logo Vogue 6/18/2021 Liana Satenstein
a group of people sitting posing for the camera © Vogue

I’m a Cool Mom! is a new column for Vogue where we explore how moms get dressed, what’s in their diaper bag (or if they are anti-diaper bag!), and how their style has developed while having kids.

a man sitting in a park © Photo: Courtesy of Kathy Lo

Photographer Kathy Lo has been in the fashion scene for quite some time. She’s long been snapping images for Sandy Liang’s cool-girl collections, of models during the holidays for Vogue, and, while it is not necessarily work, she is constantly photographing her two adorable sons, Sage (5) and Cassius (2). Her kids, who both have very pinchable cheeks, served as an inspiration for her unisex children’s clothing label Two Bridges, which she launched in 2018. When she started designing, the clothes were more utilitarian, like cargo pants and button-down shirts. But now, it’s grown to be lighter, or as Lo says, “soft”. Our only question: When is she making Two Bridges pieces for adults? 

Here, Lo talks about learning to be a mother, losing the handbag, and upcycling in her new collection.

How did you see yourself as a woman before and how do you see yourself now?

Having Sage really opened my eyes. Being a mother, you look at everything with so much caution in life now, and there’s so much more planning to do because you have two little ones that you really need to look after. It’s not just about me anymore; it’s about them. You’re raising these human beings and want to make sure that they grow up to be a kind person.

a little boy that is standing in the grass © Photo: Courtesy of Kathy Lo

How has motherhood changed how you think about your personal style?

I don’t know if it changed my personal style, but I do say I really love to dress the boys how I would want to dress. There are things I wish I could wear, so I’m like, you know what? Let’s put them on my kids. I always wear workwear style and definitely a little more unisex.

Is dressing your kids how your label Two Bridges happened?

I love this workwear-utilitarian style and it translates into the kids. You could say my first son was my inspiration for all this.

What can we expect from your newest Two Bridges collection?

This collection is more about being soft and cozy. It’s taking a little break from workwear. I’m not trying to make a lot so I like to find extra fabric and not just make more stuff with it. I made these pants out of fabric that I had just found that was leftover. I’m just trying to have fun here at Two Bridges.

Has your mom taught you any lessons about being a mom?

The advice my mom has given me was a saying in Chinese, like “don’t let them act too wild.” I think she wanted to make sure the boys have respect. That’s one thing that I really want to make sure the boys acknowledge and that they say “please” and “thank you” and aren’t just demanding things. My mom is very traditional and old school. In Chinese culture, it’s a sign of respect for the elders.

How do you dress your kids?

The best thing is that they’re fun to dress in the beginning. I still dress my oldest, but my youngest definitely has opinions. I have to slowly say, “Okay, do you want to pick out your socks, and I’ll pick out the other outfits?” 

What is your diaper bag and what is in it?

I don’t have a diaper bag, but I use a tote bag. Recently, I’m using a tote bag that’s from my husband’s general-store-restaurant called The Seneca in Ridgewood, Queens. In the bag is hand sanitizer, wipes from Coterie, and a change of clothes for my younger one, Cassius. Right now, it’s summertime with the water sprinklers on and he has no problem going in with shoes and clothes on. He gets completely drenched. That’s what the extra clothes are in there for.

a couple of people that are sitting on a bench © Photo: Courtesy of Kathy Lo

Do you have a life-saving mom tool?

Wipes. There are many times in the car when the kids are eating and I turn around and I’m like, “What happened?” It’s a huge mess on their face and on their hands. I’m like, “I don’t understand how you guys can eat like this!” There are many times where I had no wipes and I’m freaking out because I get a little bit OCD about dirtiness, too. Also, I have snacks. My kids are always hungry, every five minutes, like “I’m hungry, I want food.”

What are some misconceptions about motherhood and style?

You don’t really need to have a diaper bag. You can make anything work. Also, I feel like you should talk to somebody that has kids before and figure out what is really needed. When I first had Sage, I didn’t really know anyone that had kids, so I was just blindly buying stuff. There are just unnecessary things that you don’t need.

a young boy standing next to a river © Photo: Courtesy of Kathy Lo

What are some pieces that you’ve let go of?

I definitely stopped carrying handbags. I’m really sad about that. I tried and I was just, “Oh no, please don’t touch me” to my kids because their hands are so dirty and their little nails...and you never know, they might scratch that nice fine-grain leather!

What are you wearing now?

I definitely don’t wear dresses as much anymore because now I feel much more comfortable in pants or Patagonia shorts, a button-down shirt, or a T-shirt. Something really chill. I guess less girly!

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