HAYLEY ELSAESSER is undeniably recognizable. Her outrageous (in all the right ways) prints, patterns and colours scream at you with a demanding allure; it's hard to look away. From cowboys and technicoloured snakes to Warhol-esque beer cans and alien parts, Hayley Elaesser is the Wonder Woman of the fashion design world, stretching her roots from Canada to Australia.
Midnight Cowboy (no sneak peak, sorry - you'll have to come to INLAND to get it!), is Hayley’s most recent collection. Inspired by a traditional view of the wild, wild west… but with some drastic twists. “When designing the collection I want it to be something forward thinking in terms of the prints and colours. Uma Thurman from Kill Bill was actually somewhat of a muse for the collection, which is why there is a bit of toughness to the collection.” Her favourite print? “The 8 ball with the cowboy hat - it embodies the Midnight Cowboy theme perfectly.”
"Growing up in a small town pre online shopping I had no choice but to make my own clothing"
“I have always had a unique sense of fashion, and growing up in a small town pre online shopping I had no choice but to make my own clothing” says Hayley, who previously studied psychology before deciding that fashion was her calling. “I realized I should do it as a career when studying I spent all my time sewing instead of doing school work.” She says, “[Designing] was something I initially fought it in terms of a career because the general public sees fashion designers as a not-so-serious job, when in reality it is very hard work.” Hard work translates through Hayley's work like a laser beam, with each impeccable detail from head to toe. “The most important thing for me as a designer is to make clothing that can say something on its own and makes the wearer feel amazing when they put it on.”
Currently opening up her first store in Toronto while also finishing up her spring collection, Hayley is on the fast track to success; “To say the least, it has been very tough juggling both. I’ve never been pushed so hard in my life, but it is for such a positive goal, so I am happy to do it. It’s a dream come true that I couldn’t have imagined would have happened a year ago!”
Recently featured at World MasterCard Fashion Week, Hayley was somewhat concerned of critics in response to her boundless, unconventional collection. “I was actually pretty nervous how I would be received. I think that Canadian fashion doesn’t tend to have a lot of colour and it’s more focused on rich fabrics in muted tones.” She says “So, I was prepared for the industry to think I was crazy! However, it was very well received which was amazing. It’s a great feeling to be doing so well here in Canada, my homeland.”
With her accumulating success, Hayley is humbled and excited for the next stage in her life work. “With the opportunity to open my own store so early in my career, I can only hope that it continues and my success (and therefore following and customer base) increases.”
Meet HAYLEY ELSAESSER in person and shop her collection direct at INLAND this September26+27th 99 Sudbury St., Toronto | Sat. 12-9, Sun 12-6. #madeinlad
Written by: Deborah Lopez-Delgado, Ryerson University Fashion Communications student.