By Shauna McGregor
Earlier this month I took a trip down to WASPS Studios in bonnie Dundee to visit the super talented Hayley Scanlan and talk about her experiences as a designer and how she got to be where she is today. Here’s what she had to say…
“I applied to intern for Jeremy Scott over in L.A and I feel this internship benefited me more than university ever could. At Jeremy Scott it was really hands on, I ended up designing prints for Jeremy which he used in his 2008 collection. Whilst interning I also designed prints with Adidas and Ksubi Jeans. Universities don’t really set you up for the real life industry. I was thrown in the deep end and came back with a lot more knowledge in using things like photoshop and illustrator. As I had to do it all off my own back I was a total whizz when I came back compared to other students.”
Do you recommend interning whilst at university?
It depends on where students want to go with it really, whether they’re set in their own ways of doing things on their own or wanting to have their own design label. Most people in my year interned after graduating. It was kind of difficult for me when I graduated because I didn’t have the funds to do it all again.
Did you always know you wanted to set up your own label?
I didn’t always know I wanted to set up my own label but I knew I wanted to have my own design style which I was really adamant about doing in 4th year. When I was at university nobody set me up for starting my own business. My tutors tried to persuade me not to do things in the end. At my degree show they put me to the very back corner because they didn’t want to promote fashion. I think my tutors thought I was taking a risk and that I wouldn’t achieve my dream. I kind of proved them all wrong in the end anyway.
(Hayley’s degree show included handmade printed garments such as dresses and a studded jacket which were later purchased by renowned model Erin O’Connor).
You were chosen to showcase your work at Topshop on Oxford Street, how did that feel?
The feeling of it, seeing it in there was really good and the exposure was great. It was a good experience.
Do you think that has been one of your hardest challenges yet?
Yes. It wasn’t even as if it was difficult it was just hard work and the clock was ticking. The time went so fast and it was just really, really tough. We still manufacture everything in the studio and we didn’t get a lot of notice. In the space of 6 weeks I had to design a collection, source the fabrics and manufacture 300 garments so that was a bit mental. During that time as well we had to make costumes for the Scottish Dance Theatre. All of us had a really good laugh, the last day was probably the most stressful; the machine had broken, everyone was going off their heads, me and Kerrie had been there the whole week until about 2am in the morning and back in at 9am – I have twin baby boys as well, it was honestly just nuts.
How successful do you feel the Topshop pop-up was?
We got 2nd top sales out of all the brands in there. The brands that were kept were selling at half the price of ours and were half the quality.
What did you learn from your experience with Topshop?
I didn’t think my collection and the quality of my collection was right for Topshop. They gave me a brief to follow and my stuff just stood out a mile against the other brands. These brands were mass-produced in China whereas I designed all my prints, we embellished by hand and hand made everything in the studio. It just didn’t sit right against the other labels. For what I do and what I believe in and for what the brand represents I would need to devalue everything I do and what I believe in just to get my pieces into Topshop. I believe in the label and I feel that’s what makes me different from other people.
Any advice for future graduates?
After graduating I know that everybody can feel a bit down in the dumps. After your degree show you are on such a high then you are immediately brought back down to earth. My advice for future graduates would be to keep going: if you really want to do it, keep focused. Even if you’ve got to work part-time that’s just what you have to do. Be prepared to do whatever it takes, it doesn’t come easy you don’t just fall into something like this. You need to try and stay focused and be prepared to work really hard for however long it takes until things start to happen.
Hayley’s party collection is now available on her website www.hayleyscanlan.com
More Eyes On.