Cool People Doing Cool Stuff: Adrian Hailwood - Sans Pareil

Cool People Doing Cool Stuff: Adrian Hailwood

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I’m SO excited to have one of my all time favorite designers – Adrian Hailwood – for my latest installment of CPDCS. Hailwood is one of the most recognisable NZ designers – every year you’ll see a Hailwood runway at New Zealand Fashion Week, and it will always be one of the best shows. I caught up with him just after his Bee Yu talk (In promotion of ID Fashion Week – see I told you I was a busy bee down in Dunedin!) and we got chatting about his awesome career so far and where to next.

1. You’’re one of New Zealand’s most iconic designers. How long have you been in the industry, how did you get into it and how you managed to last as long as you have?

H: I’’ve been in the clothing business since 1999 (with a few tee shirts and denim printed skirts – smoking bikini girl and flamingo skirt prints) going full launch with Hailwood range in 2000. I got into the Industry by mistake, I had to produce a range of tees for a TV commercial ( I was doing art department at the time), then the crew wanted to take them home so my tee-shirt line was born! Jasmine Edgar (very stylish lady) put them into Pavement magazine and the rest is history. As to why I’’ve lasted so long maybe because I love my job! I really enjoy this industry.

As to why I’’ve lasted so long maybe because I love my job! I really enjoy this industry.  There have been lots of ups and downs, but I don’t dwell on past mistakes; I learn from them.  I Also don’t dwell on what might have been or could’’ve been, I just get on with the job and that is to design and sell clothes.

2. I love how regardless of what other designers are doing, You can always recognise your designs because they have an extremely feminine, old Hollywood glam to them. Is that an important ethos to you, or do you simply love designing thank way so it just happens organically?

Adrian Hailwood

Designer, Adrian Hailwood

H: Thank-you! Yes I stick to making clothes for women, not the youngies, I leave that to all the others. My customer comes to me for an evening dress or a tailored jacket. They know that they can get something classic with a twist, I make all my fabric prints as well so this is another point of difference. The design process is an osmosis of previous collections (best sellers etc) mixed with new fabric ideas I like a tailored dress and a well made jacket as opposed to a black silk or linen rectangle that you rope in with a tie or matching belt each to their own.

3. On that note, what specifically, inspires you when you’’re designing? And what was the concept behind this latest collection?

H: Firstly I’m inspired by the women who buy my clothing. I ask them what it is that they like in the ranges, and I go from there. The winter range was inspired by a trip to Barcelona in Spain particularly Antoni Gaudi’s buildings.  The orchid metal and silk fabric was inspired by floral works in his building: the Sagarda Familia (cathedral in central Barcelona) I love architecture and am often inspired by buildings and furniture when designing fabrics or patterns for a jacket etc.

4. Bags! Tell me all about them. What made you decide to start making bags, and what’’s the inspiration behind this first collection?

H: There was a gap in the market for structured bags so I designed 4 styles to test the market. It went well, they sold out in three weeks and we re-cut all four styles The next range is a bit bigger with 10 styles. I love the design process on bags – from sketch to prototype to finished product.

5. What are some of the awesome things in store for the future of Hailwood? What does your 2-year plan entail?

H: I would like to open a second store in Auckland (well overdue) to sell the accessories and knitwear. I’’m also currently working on the ATC production of ‘AMADEUS” as the costume designer and loving it. It’s a new process similar to working in art dept in film but totally creative! the talented Oliver Driver directs and hired me to do my thing and has let me run with it (opens may 2-18)

6. Lastly, I always ask everyone this, what advice can you give for up-and-comers in your field? What do you wish you had known at the start?

H: Just go for it, don’t listening to the naysayers, trust in yourself and you will do amazing things – just you wait and see. xx

Adrian Hailwood Sans Pareil

Models in the latest collection and showing the new bag range.

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