Known to to 1.5million Instagram followers as @fashion_pirate, Zeynab El-Helw has worked across the fashion industry — spending time at a prestigious haute couture house, founding her own blog and becoming a style influencer. Now navigating motherhood, Zeynab talks MOJEH about how her life has changed and what the future holds. Here, Zeynab wears autumn/winter 2020 looks by Dior and Fendi, alongside her adorable sidekick Luca
Your son Luca is involved in the shoot today. What was the best thing about having him on set with you?
It was our first time to really shoot an editorial style concept wearing the brands I love. The best part is that we giggled a lot and naturally captured images that reflected his personality. It was a very fun and laid back shoot which I hope to do more of. ‘We moved to his beat’ and didn’t force any shots which was the most enjoyable and rewarding part of it all.
Tell us how your life has changed since having Luca?
My priorities have definitely shifted. I had to turn down some jobs or frequent travel trips that I would have attended last minute. I am much more selective which has really given me the chance to take a step back and focus on things that I didn’t have much time for before. I naturally involve Luca a lot in my daily stories like unboxing, as I can’t miss out on spending quality time and special moments with him since he’s growing up so fast.
Has your fashion and beauty routine changed since becoming a mum?
It changed in the beginning slightly as I didn’t really have much time for myself. Yet now that I’m in the rhythm of being a mum I can vouch that I’m still maintaining a similar beauty and fashion routine and have more time for face masks. But definitely jump into my sneakers frequently to run after him since he started walking.
What is the most challenging thing about being a parent, and the most rewarding?
The most challenging thing when you have your first kid is that everything is new! No matter how much you read or swap stories with friends about motherhood, nothing compares to experiencing it hands on. Most importantly, the decisions and responsibilities you face are yours to make. I really do believe in gut feeling.
Luca just turned 1 — how did you celebrate this milestone?
We had an intimate celebration at home with close friends and family. The idea was to create a theme that he could be interactive with, which was basketball, he has a mini basketball rim at home and he makes sure we are watching him every time he is dunking. We let him enjoy his time while he was also having fun with a cake smash which was a huge success as he really enjoyed touching and tasting it for the very first time.
What are your go-to brands when it comes to shopping for Luca?
I always opt for comfortable, soft materials and easy clothing for Luca to slip on and off as he does get through many outfits in a day! In fact the Dior and Fendi pieces he wore in this shoot worked so well on him as they were stylish at the same time practical and comfy to roam around in and he got lots of compliments.
And what about your own personal style? Which AW20 trends can we expect to see you wearing this season?
I’m very into loungewear, oversized clothing which I’m seeing a lot of this season. I will definitely be wearing the cosy long knitwear and buttery soft leather pieces that filled the runway which I’m very obsessed with. I’ve also noticed a lot of tartan patterns and fringed skirts which are so much fun to wear and I can’t wait to embrace them this season.
The one style staple you can’t live without?
The one staple piece I can’t live without would have to be my oversized leather jacket which I literally style with pretty much everything in my wardrobe. It always comes in handy as it jazzes up a very casual look while also complimenting fabrics and my figure.
Here you are wearing some of the new autumn/winter 2020 looks for Dior and Fendi — which pieces did you love wearing most?
I loved the mix of items worn in this shoot, for example the blue dress was so elegant and flattering to wear from Fendi, while the matching denim white jeans and jacket fit like a glove from Dior. The looks were so me. I loved the fantastic colour palette while being very versatile to style whether its for a casual outing or a more dressy evening.
You previously worked for Dior. Tell us about your time at the brand…
I really enjoyed the 5 years I spent there. It was my first job that I learnt so much from and I still aspire to my piers today. I feel very blessed to have had that opportunity and miss it sometimes. Travelling in the region was my favourite part of the job which really helped me develop and gave me a great experience in the world of events. Moreover the entire journey helped me come out of my shell as I was quite shy in the beginning. Dior gave me the tools I needed to understand the fashion industry and the market.
What encouraged you to start your own blog?
I was inspired by the beauty and creativity I saw around me during my time at Dior which encouraged me to write while capturing my experiences that reflected my persona. I then indulged in blogging and social media which turned from a pastime hobby to a career. Now, in parallel, I’m focusing on working on my brand which I can’t wait to launch hopefully by the end of the year.
What advice would you give to other mothers juggling parenthood and careers?
I would definitely say trying to find that right balance. It is not easy but the best advice is to try plan as much as you possibly can in advance and utilise your time, for example when Luca is napping or sleeping I do my best to complete pending work where necessary. Moreover, never be afraid to ask for help.
Finally, what can we expect to see from you in the future — can you share any more information on your new launch?
I’m continuing my long term partnerships with my favourite brands, while embracing more features on TV and opening doors for new opportunities. For my brand, I can’t say much…it is called ‘Reborn’ and is an ethical, chillwear brand close to my heart that I have been working on.