By Nicole Boyer
Prairie-born Hayley Clackson grew up behind a sewing machine, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother before her. Before starting in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Wilson School of Design, she had never considered fashion as a career option. In fact, pursuing work in an area so creative was practically unheard of back home.
After exploring her options, Clackson decided to follow her heart west, where she discovered a passion for handcrafted “slow” fashion. Her first line, NRTHRNTWNS Workshop, is a collection of fitted workwear for men, and a true reflection of herself.
NRTHRNTWNS Workshop will be unveiled at 2016 The Show: The Final Cut, presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 6 and 7 at the Imperial Vancouver (319 Main Street). Thirty-five other lines by Kwantlen Polytechnic University fashion design and technology students will also be showcased.
Nicole Boyer: Describe your collection.
Hayley Clackson: I have been surrounded by craftspeople all my life and consider myself one as well. When my brother approached me with concern about ill-fitting workwear for a slim-built tradesperson, I knew I had to run with it. NRTHRNTWNS Workshop focuses on clothing and accessories built for the modern craftsman. The idea is centralized around slow fashion, in that the pieces have a longer life and provide more value to the wearer. I wanted it to be about more than just the clothing. It’s about building a community of makers that want to reflect who they are through their clothing and in everyday life.
NB: What was the inspiration behind your line?
HC: Growing up on the prairies has had an influence on every aspect of my life. The change of scenery really made me appreciate where I grew up and how much it shaped who I am. The laidback prairie lifestyle, as well as its simplistic, understated beauty inspires everything that I do. NRTHRNTWNS Workshop was based around the colours of prairies and the heritage feel that lies there. Beyond that, I was very inspired by the “maker movement”, which is all about getting back to making things with your own two hands. Handcrafting and learning new skills are a big part of who I am and I wanted to bring that into my final collection.
NB: Can you tell me about your creative process?
HC: My creative process is simple: it generally starts with a basic idea and seems to snowball. That one idea leads to endless research, which leads to subsequent ideas. My creative process leads me in all different directions, which eventually come together into one cohesive product.
NB: What have you learned at KPU?
HC: KPU has taught me the skills I need in order to start a career in the ever-changing fashion industry. Before moving to Vancouver, I had no idea what a career in this industry would look like. I now know the many different avenues that I could take and feel like I would be prepared to start down any one of those paths. I feel like all of the hard work that I have put in has paid off.
NB: What are your plans after graduation?
HC: I am excited to see where further development of NRTHRNTWNS will take me. Outside of that, I hope to expand my knowledge in the industry by focusing on pattern making – which is where I excel – or in the design field, where I am constantly inspired.
NB: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?
HC: I am extremely keen on the pattern making side of the industry as it feels like a never-ending puzzle. I have never passed up an opportunity to solve a problem; every pattern that I take on presents a new challenge and gives me a sense of pride after it has been tackled. However, I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into one area, I want to learn as much as I can about the entire fashion industry.