Lois Hazel is a Melbourne based designer who has become a firm Kinobi favourite for her use of incredible natural fabrics and hand crafted details. Made for the modern woman, each collection explores new materials and techniques but with a classic and wearable foundation. We spoke to Lois to find out more about her work and design process.
Can you tell us a little about your background and why you started your label?
Lois Hazel: I studied Fashion Design at RMIT from 2009 - 2012 and during this time I spent a semester overseas studying abroad at FIT in New York City. After graduating I returned back to NYC to undertake a three month internship with fashion house Marchesa.
It wasn't until I moved to Europe after my second stint in NYC that I really started to consider the possibility of returning back to Melbourne and launching my own label. I was living in Amsterdam for 10 months where I had the opportunity to intern with Iris Van Herpen, work on a collaborative project with weaving artist Marianne Kemp and work with ByBorre.
Seeing how each of these three creatives had made their visions come to life and watching them work on their own labels gave me the motivation to return to Melbourne and launch Lois Hazel.
I knew I could bring something new and fresh to our creative community and hopefully open up a conversation about sustainable fashion.
How important are ethical and sustainable considerations in your process?
As a designer I have the responsibility to try and make the most positive impact I can on the world around me - from the people I work with, the fabrics I use and even the designs and items I produce.
I want to be able to look back and see that I have produced more good than bad. That I have allowed people to not just buy a beautiful product, but also buy something that is helping those around us rather than hindering them.
I'm really excited about the future of the label. I hope one day that I can say every item right down to the fabric used in a Lois Hazel garment has come from an honest place.
Is your brand a reflection of your personal style and lifestyle?
Definitely! I am such a comfort dresser and have always been attracted to beautiful fabrics - two elements that feature through Lois Hazel.
Also, clutter and mess overwhelms me, especially at home. I know my poor husband often gets the joy of dealing with my cleaning sprees at 10pm just before bed. I feel this tendency comes through in my designs. I try to produce pieces that are clean and considered.
What is your design process? Where do you find inspiration?
I always start with a concept. They often develop from a textile I find or a technique that I'm interested in at that moment and everything evolves from that.
I'll sketch a handful of ideas and then I'll start toiling, draping and fiddling around with different techniques which really get my ideas going.
I'm currently at the early stages of my next collection launching in March 2017 so it's fun to be back here. Sometimes it's overwhelming as I have a tendency to want to explore so many different ideas. But I know even if I don't get to explore everything, I'll get to in another collection.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far in running your own label?
One of the biggest challenges is finding a healthy work life balance. My business is my baby and I know if I could I would be at the studio 24/7.
Sometimes I can exhaust myself with work because I find it hard to stop. This can be challenging as taking a break from something you love and want to see grown can be hard. But making sure I have enough time for sleep and social time with my friends and husband is important. In the long run it will be more beneficial to the label than not!
And the biggest rewards?
Oh gosh, there are so many amazing rewards. Even down to the little things like getting an online sale from someone you don't know, or someone overseas. Knowing people are out there enjoying my work as much as I am is an incredible reward.
Do you have any big plans for the future?
I have so many and it's so exciting when you see even the smallest things come to life.
This year I hope to see my pieces in more stores and I have started building a few relationships with international stockists.
I also see myself working full time at the studio next year, giving me more time to truly invest everything into the label and be able to watch it grow bigger and better!
Images courtesy of Lois Hazel
Lois Hazel's 'Mirror' campaign shot by Kristy Milliken / Hair and Make Up by Brooke Pearson / Styled by Julia Sarteschi / Models Georgia Asapwell from Wink and Madeleine Rose Tude from Folk Collective