"I’m Hayley Elsaesser, I’ve been living in Toronto for a few months since moving back from Australia. I'm a fashion designer.
As a kid I was obsessed with cats, and also loved soccer, so I was constantly drawing cats playing soccer. I remember making a lime green t-shirt in the first grade with a cat lounging on a soccer ball that I thought was the best thing ever.
Growing up in a small town before the days of easy online shopping, my interest in fashion design was bred out of necessity. As a teenager that wanted to have a quote-unquote "unique" style, I started making my own clothes or altering thrifted stuff. After awhile I noticed I was working harder on my sewing projects to sell on eBay than I was studying psychology at university, and I realized I should make it my career.
In the world of fashion I really love the work of MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF and how they always surprise and have fun. I think my teenage years cemented my mini streak of rebellion that still is present today in my designs. Growing up I admired women like Karen O and Kathleen Hanna because they were so different than the sexy pop star ideal that was present (and still is).
I think it’s actually the negativity I had at the beginning of my fashion studies that gave me the crazy drive and work ethic I had. I was told that my designs weren’t commercial or I had to make more complex shapes. Basically, I didn’t listen. I decided to push myself further to yield a product I was entirely happy with.
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I think my proudest moment was to have my show in Toronto last October where many of my friends and family in Canada attended. I'd had shows and great press in Australia, but it is a much different feeling to be able to share your successes with people who have seen you struggle to get to where you are.
There have been letdowns. It is an incredibly hard job. I work very long hours with very little time for socializing. These times are hard because in fashion you work well in advance so you aren’t seeing the results of your hard work until much later. But really, this is my dream job and I am the one who makes it or breaks it so I suck it up and keep going.
I’m in a place right now where I have just relocated to Toronto and I have no idea what the future holds. I’ve found that, as much as I like to plan, sometimes things don’t work out the way you thought they would and most of the times it’s even better. So I’m just trying to go with the flow and take it one day at a time. I do hope to see my designs on some performers in the near future!
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If this is a line of work that interests you, make sure you are prepared for the hard work. I know a lot of people go into fashion with these romanticized ideals of what it will be like and it’s nothing like that. It’s a crazy job but one of the most rewarding ones you can have. If it is what you really want to do, don’t let anyone stop you. Creativity is subjective. If someone tells you your creative work is terrible but you really believe in it, then do your thing, girl!"