Hayley Scanlan - Designer Spotlight
From clan kilts to John Boyd’s royal hats and the graphic prints of Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders, Scottish design has a long and impressive history! Following in the footsteps of her predecessors, Dundee’s own Hayley Scanlan is amid the next generation of successful Scottish Designers and in September 2016 she presented her latest designs at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of London’s Design Festival. Now in its fourth year of business, HS has been a hit with celebrities, fashion press and adoring fans across the UK. Following the recent launch of her Tropicanamania collection and V&A exhibition, we catch up with Hayley to discuss her new collection, future plans and the challenges faced by the Scottish design industry!
Hi Hayley! We love the new Tropicanamania HS collection. Tell us more about it!
I wanted the collection to be all about iconic women. I am obsessed with Jerry Hall and I was particularly inspired by her influence during her love affair with Bryan Ferry. As a result, I looked to the Roxy Music Country Life album cover with its tropical feel when designing the collection. This influenced the mix of soft chiffon materials, animal prints and leather used in the collection. Though new, the collection features some HS style staples like the spike embellishments and graphic prints.
What is your favourite piece from the collection?
The Biker jacket has to be my favourite! I made a very similar style of biker a couple of years ago for the Love Me Tender collection but we used real leather and Swarovski crystals and, as a result, the end product was rather high in cost. I remember everybody wanted that jacket but it wasn’t the most affordable so this season I really tried my best to find similar high quality faux leather and faux snakeskin materials to create a biker with a lower price tag. We also manufacture all the clothing locally from a factory in Edinburgh so I am still very much involved in every part of the manufacturing process.
Based in Dundee, you launched your own business from home following your graduation in 2009. Why did you decide to stay in Scotland and what impact has this had on your career?
I never initially intended to become self employed. It all snowballed from making pieces for friends and family until I realised there was a demand for my designs.
Obviously it’s not easy being self-employed and there have been times where I have wanted to give up and go to work for another designer. I’ve had no funding as there are fewer support systems available in Scotland and many move to London for that reason. We have so many talented designers and they shouldn’t have to leave, particularly since we have such an impressive textile heritage.
That said, HS works well for my life as I can design what I want and do what I love whilst staying at home with my sons Freddie and Oscar, who are still so young.
Despite a lack of funding, you’ve won two Scottish Fashion Awards and most recently been asked to show your work at the V&A. What has been your biggest achievement to date?
To date, my invite to exhibit my designs at the V&A for the London Design Festival! Being able to show my family what I do and love in the world’s biggest design museum is some achievement. These opportunities can make a designer and I measure my success on achievements rather than financial benefit.
Similarly, what has been your biggest challenge to date?
In addition to a lack of support networks in Scotland, it has been quite difficult to find a suitable place for this brand because it’s not high street or high end designer. Pop up shops have worked wonders for me but finding a permanent home for the brand is proving more of a challenge. I would love to have a long standing pop up in Glasgow, perhaps even over the festive season.
Throughout the years Hayley Scanlan has been popular with pop stars like Pixie Lott and Foxes. What is it like to have a celebrity following?
It’s just bizarre! I remember the first celebrity request came in not long after I had started up. I was still working from home and I designed the clothes that Jessie J wore for Formula 1 on my mum’s dining room table!
It is fantastic to see your designs worn at events and in music videos. What’s more, it helps raise awareness of the label. Little Mix currently have a lot of items for their album promo photo-shoot.
What are your plans for the future?
Now the V&A exhibition is over, a lot of time will be spent in the factory in the run up to Christmas. I am very much looking forward to working on my new collection, Paper Roses, for A/W 2016. The collection has a dark romance theme so expect a lot of velvets, leathers, pink and burgundy colours and, of course, cheetah print!
More about Hayley Scanlan
As lovers of all things punk, leather and Scottish, we cannot get enough of Hayley Scanlan’s edgy designs and we eagerly anticipate the release of her Paper Roses collection. It is always refreshing to meet a self driven and passionate Scottish designer and, with her recent V&A showcase, it seems HS designs are going from strength to strength!
To view Hayley’s current Tropicanamania collection, head over to the HS online shop here.
What is your favourite Hayley Scanlan design? Are you a Scottish designer? If so, what challenges do you face? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.