This week, as part of our weekly designer profiles feature, we are chatting to Lois Hazel about her self-titled label; Lois Hazel. I have followed Lois's work for some time, so when I finally got the opportunity to chat to her at her studio in Fitzroy, I couldn't wait to hear how she has built her successful, ethical label.
About Lois Hazel:
Lois graduated from RMIT's Bachelor of Fashion Design in 2012. Soon after she moved overseas to develop her skills further whilst working for the likes of New York design house Marchesa, Amsterdam based couturier Iris Van Herpen and weaving and textile artist Marianne Kem.
Upon returning to Melbourne in mid 2014, Lois launched her first capsule accessories range. This was followed by her debut collection FRAYED, which she presented as part of VAMFF’s 2015 cultural program.
Today, Lois works out of her Fitzroy studio whilst also working at The Fabric Store alongside other inspiring Melbourne designers. As you can imagine, running a label takes up much of Lois's time and the long hours sometimes takes it toll, but having recently gotten married (aww!) Lois say's she is making sure she takes time out to spend with her new husband. Good on you Lois, you need to have balance.
What was your inspiration behind the MIRROR collection?
Lois Hazel, aims to create honest pieces with a unique touch. Her designs are a direct response to her surrounding environments, including the wide variety of art forms in which she has submersed herself within.
The MIRROR collection was designed based on reflection, symmetry and lines. But, before Lois can begin designing a collection she needs to choose the textiles and fabric first. She went on to explain, that a lot of the inspiration for her collection comes from the textile she chooses.
Do you ever get designers block?
Lois wants to hold on to her signature, so some concepts she comes back to time and time again to ensure her customers know when they see Lois Hazel, some pieces take much longer to design than others. Lois explains that she scribbles a lot to get her vision down on paper and then works on it from there.
What is your favourite item from the Mirror collection?
Lois hesitated whilst she thought about her favourite piece from the MIRROR collection. This is a hard question to ask any designer as they are emotionally attached to their collection having spent many hours creating each item.
Lois picked out the Check Mirror Singlet Dress, it's a dress that can be worn all year round. The fit is relaxed but stylish and can be worn during in the day with flat slides or a pair of heals to take you into the evening.
Photo Credit: Christopher Robert
Does your work have an environmental agenda?
Lois Hazel is passionate about ethical practices across the fashion industry and ensures that all her work is produced in a sustainable and ethical manner. Working within a transparent framework. Lois hazel hopes to see a positive change within the Fashion Industry.
How do you contribute to the sustainable fashion industry?
When it comes to sustainability in fashion, you have to pick a couple of battles. Lois uses natural fibres where she can but her main objective is to not over produce and keep the manufacturing local; here in Melbourne.
Each piece is made to order, so when a customer orders something online the should allow a little time for it to be made.
Photo Credit: Christopher Robert
What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
Lois explains that we are losing so much of the industry to overseas manufacturing. Australia, especially here in Melbourne has so much to offer, we need to keep skills local and encourage fine art.
Good working conditions for employees is also important to Lois, She explained "Good working conditions definitely, because everyone deserves a good day!". Yep this is why I love Lois Hazel, what a sweetie.
What would you say to consumers who think sustainable, ethically made clothes are unfashionable?
Look around, fashion has come along way over the years with more and more on trend labels available. The UK are pushing boundaries and it's becoming more accepted. The hope is that Australia follows suit and becomes more aware. Education plays a huge part in this, but it is easily accessible now through informative blogs and websites.
Finally, what do you think the future of sustainable fashion looks like?
The future for sustainable fashion will see everyone shifting towards sustainable production, including high street fashion. Lois does believe we still need low cost clothing such as H&M. Lois said "some people don't have $150 to spend on a dress but it's all about balance, spend extra on staple pieces and less on the basics to go with it". Lois goes on to talk about the people behind the clothes at H&M "We just need to pay these people more and give them better working conditions, the conversation needs to get louder and it will".
Photo credit: Christopher Robert