Holly Baxter and Matthias McGregor have had quite the year so far. Launching their ethical fashion label Hardwear with a cocktails-and-cupcakes kinda party in May, the pair hosted a 2-week pop-up store in Glasgow’s South Block Galleries, with their website existing as the one permanent place to buy Hardwear’s signature prints and pastel jersey pieces.
Just 4 months later, having added new items – including jeans and leather jackets – to their debut collection on the 1st of each month, Holly and Matthias have serious plans for world domination…
How and where was Hardwear born?
In the golden pocket of a leather jacket. Holly was mending an arm on one of Matthias’ vintage leather jackets and they got to talking. Then, on a trip to South America, Matthias found another leather jacket with bizarre buckles on it. And so Hardwear was born… in Wild West Glasgow!
What was the original concept behind the line?
Hardwear started as a combination of reaction and research. We were sick of the laziness of the high street, the tired and unethical business model of importing a thousand white T-shirts from a sweatshop abroad and digitally printing a rectangle on the front. Leafing through source books of Japanese designs, we noted the opportunities that opened up if you screen printed by hand, onto rolls of fabric. This developed into the idea of creating something that was designed, printed, made and embroidered locally and from there we built the concept that Hardwear would be MADE IN WILD WEST GLASGOW.
What are each of your roles in the business?
Holly graduated from RSAMD last year in Costume Design, and worked for theatres in Glasgow and London, while pursuing fashion on the side. Matthias travels part of each year working as an International Project Manager for an engineering firm in South America and Australia. The Hardwear aesthetic is a combination of things that they both have seen and sketched, and Holly refines them into workable designs, using her knowledge of clothing construction and advanced pattern drafting techniques.
What challenges have you come up against so far?
We spend a lot of time in different time zones, so there’s a lot of late night and early morning combos. It can get very sleepy cranky! But y’know those TV ads where people are drawing animations on their phone and Powerpointing Asia on a tablet? We’re like that. It’s gross.
What has been your defining Hardwear moment?
Hardwear has just been selected by Many Artist Studios in Glasgow to join the Scottish contingent of the GUIMARÃES NOC NOC Arts Festival in Portugal in October. It’ll be our first time exhibiting overseas – very exciting!
Where would you like to see the brand go next?
We were watching the film ‘24 Hour Party People’ where Tony Wilson is planning to start his club night. He says, “I just saw a sign on the wall that said ‘Factory closing’… and l thought we can have one going ‘Factory opening”. We see Hardwear entering a similar landscape, with half the high street boarded up. So now we’re opening a pop-up shop!
But we want more. Maybe once we’re established in Glasgow we’ll come full circle and launch Hardwear in Berlin. That would be so perfect. We hope the brand will grow be part of the resurgence of sweatshop-free, locally made clothing, and we’ll collaborate with other Scottish designers and suppliers. Internationally, Hardwear will push the Made In Scotland credential as a key differentiator, and join group initiatives with other like- minded local companies and national branding schemes.
Who are your own favourite designers?
Holly Fulton! She just brought out a heavily embellished leather jacket that we love.
Which Scottish labels would you like to collaborate with?
Libby Walker does gorgeous line drawings of Glasgow and the cutest prints of wee owls. We would love to collaborate on a bespoke fabric that we would screen print.
What’s your soundtrack for while you’re designing?
“We got the Midas touch, everything we touch turns to gold, yeah sugahhhh!” We always say this, but ‘Midas Touch’ by Midnight Star… seriously, it’s our favourite song. We love it so much we named our jeans after it. They have hidden golden knees that reveal when you walk.
What three pieces do you think every girl and guy needs in their wardrobe?
Gals: our short shorts. Super cute pastel colours.
Guys: Harris Tweed Hebrides collab’d with Converse & released Tweed All Stars! Ahhhh, right at the top of our wishlist. Only released in Japan and sold out instantly. Of course. Grrruh.
Both: Vintage sunnies. Indoors. At night. Jooooooookes.
Shop Hardwear online at www.hardwearglasgow.com