Ivy City Co. is making the word “princess” a little more inclusive
We’re in the age of the influencer-brand collab—an often rarefied world where big brands and high-profile influencers get together to design an exclusive item, let their followers know, and celebrate a buzzy launch. One of these compelling collaborations happening right here in Utah might not feature an A-list star, but the influencer-turned-dress-designer is definitely one who shines.
Meet Jayne Adamson—dancer, artist, sister, daughter, best friend, and middle-school standout who just happens to have Down syndrome. Her recent collaboration with Ivy City Co. is her first foray into dress design, and she’s all smiles. The aptly named Jayne Dress launches this month on Jayne’s 14th birthday, Dec. 16.
The world first met Jayne on Instagram when her mom, Summer Adamson, shared a post in October 2017 in honor of World Down Syndrome Awareness Month. “I’m really a private person, but I started Jayne’s Instagram page to help other moms,” Summer says.
“I want to give hope,” she continues. “I want new parents out there to know that it’s going to be OK, that your child will have hopes and dreams, talents, strengths and abilities like any other child would. There are still going to be challenges and hard things they’re going to experience, but their life is going to be beautiful and wonderful; their path is going to be better than you can imagine.”
Scrolling through the page’s feed, Jayne’s exuberance is everywhere—dancing, laughing with friends, horseback riding, skiing, boating…the list goes on and on. The comments and DMs from the 80,000+ followers are what inspire Summer and Jayne to continue sharing.
“I’ve heard from people who have says, ‘I found this account. It’s helped me so much to know it’s going to be OK.’ I have a lot of dads reach out, saying, ‘My wife’s not ready to look at these yet, but I wanted to reach out and ask you questions.’
Instagram is also where Jayne and Ivy City Co. connected. The dress-centric apparel company is headquartered in Utah, led by Whitney Smith and Natasha Thomas (co-founders), and Madeline Hamilton (CMO). Ivy City has been a favorite brand for the Adamson family, who often tag @ivycityco in their posts.
Ivy City took notice of the posts, and they also connected in person when Summer would bring her girls into the Sandy showroom to shop. As they all got to know each other, Smith says, “We really hit it off with Summer and Jayne,” and that’s what led to Ivy City asking Jayne to be part of a photoshoot earlier this year.
“She was so cute—during the shoot she was pretty shy, but after we told her she could keep the dress and she headed to the parking lot, all that shyness left and she started squealing and jumping with her dad,” Hamilton says.
Not long after the photo shoot, an idea started percolating for the Ivy City trio. “We thought it would be cool to design a dress with Jayne,” Thomas says. “Because she loves our dresses, it’s a really organic relationship. [It’s] a cool way to spread the word about Jayne, for everyone to see how cute and beautiful she is.”
“I want new parents out there to know that it’s going to be okay, that your child will have hopes and dreams, talents, strengths and abilities like any other child would. There are still going to be challenges and hard things they’re going to experience, but their life is going to be beautiful and wonderful; their path is going to be better than you can imagine.”
Ivy City reached out to Summer to see if Jayne would have any interest in designing a dress. After Summer proposed the idea, she says, “Jayne started designing without me even asking her to or telling her to. She was busy one day drawing out four different dress designs, along with this cute little note saying, ‘Thank you for letting me design a dress.’”
The process from initial sketch to end-product went smoothly for the team. Ivy City invited Jayne and Summer to their offices, where they reviewed her concepts, went through piles of fabric swatches, and captured Jayne’s preferences on everything from sleeves and necklines to skirt lengths and styles.
Hamilton, who’s also an artist, rendered a final drawing incorporating Jayne’s original design and selections, which Jayne approved. “We talked to our manufacturer, gave them the vision, and the first sample we got was perfect,” Thomas explains.
Before production, Ivy City invited Jayne and Summer back to review the sample. “With Jayne, she doesn’t hide her emotions; she’s so honest,” Thomas says. “We were worried, ‘What if she didn’t like it?’ But she was so happy, you could see her joy. It was a perfect fit; she even wore it home!”
The resulting dress is a whimsical, beautiful take on all things princess, which is exactly what Jayne was going for. “I thought about Cinderella, and how she had courage and was kind,” Jayne says.
There’s a special attention to detail, like the small stars on the sleeves and the skirt’s pattern, that add to the magic of it all. The smocking on the back of the bodice is something Jayne wanted so the dress could be flexible in its sizing, making each girl feel beautiful in the design.
Many of the key moments, from Jayne’s original sketches to the design collaboration and the reveal, have been chronicled on Instagram. The same will happen with the photoshoot and dress launch this month.
Ivy City has invited Jayne’s sisters to join her for the photoshoot, modeling the dress in different sizes. (Ivy City is known for crafting matching dresses that moms, daughters, and sisters can wear.)
The photoshoot location is a setting that’s ideal for a princess—Wadley Farms in Lindon, Utah. The wedding and event venue features a castle that evokes a restrained splendor. “Across all of our customer base, our emails, our social media, we’ll share the photoshoot and dress launch with everyone. Her dress will have its own landing page on our website with Jayne as the model, and Jayne will earn a commission on all those orders,” Thomas says.
Jayne says she’s excited for the shoot and the launch, as is her family. “We can’t believe the opportunities that have opened up to Jayne,” Summer says. “For Ivy City Co. to include Jayne has meant so much to us.”
Summer says she never could have imagined that Jayne would have the opportunity to design her own dress. “Her joy, her smile, her goodness helps to heal broken hearts,” Summer continues. “She has been able to help families out there facing similar challenges know that everything’s going to be OK. That’s my purpose in sharing her page, her life.”
Thomas says that Ivy City Co. aims to be an inclusive brand that creates dresses for everybody. “We’re not getting huge gains from this, it’s just something we want to share with the world. The collaboration has been a perfect fit, where she and her family already organically love our stuff,” she says. “We’re just excited to spread her light and joy.”