It is safe to say that the last few months have been somewhat of a whirlwind for Sheffield Hallam graduate Hattie Crowther. Having clearly turned a number of the (right) heads at Graduate Fashion Week this year, subsequently picking up the ASOS Future Talent Award – she has now been approached by a number of the big names including Vivienne Westwood, Hunger Magazine and Cass Art.
We caught up with Hattie to discuss all things from future plans to street style to politics…
Hi Hattie! Congratulations on what has obviously been a very rewarding time for you – you’ve graduated, shown your collection to a huge crowd and won the ASOS Future Talent Award! What was your experience like at GFW?
My experience at Graduate Fashion Week was amazing. Every corner I turned, I just saw mind-blowing creativity and talent. Having been previous years, I can safely say that the experience of being able to show my collection exceeded expectations.
I can imagine! What are your plans now?
Since graduation, I’ve been busy preparing for the next chapter at Westminster University. I’m doing the MA in Menswear which is a two year course. Having won the award, I’ve also been talking to ASOS about doing an internship with them next summer. Following GFW, I’ve been contacted by a number of companies – Vivienne Westwood, Hunger Magazine and illustrator Francesco Lo Iacono about being involved in a workshop with CassArt.
What made you want to design menswear?
I have tried womenswear, but always lured more towards the aesthetic of menswear. The past theories and certainties that were established in history have been lost or benignly forgotten which allows menswear designers today to re-think the new, or start again.
You’ve previously talked about the relationship between fashion and politics. Why is this so important to you?
I’m really inspired by youth culture. They are shaping society as we know it and I feel that they are the new language of understanding politics today. The relationship between politics and fashion is something I hope to pursue in my designs, as I believe it’s an important way to get certain messages across. In terms of people who influence and inspire me, I can relate and appreciate others who have diplomatic flare. I think in the world we live in today, it’s important to soak in your surroundings and express them in your practice, whatever that may be.
Despite showing a menswear collection, some would say that there were a number of more feminine themes with hot pinks, bunny ears and dare-to-bare separates. There’s a lot of talk today about the different concepts of masculinity and femininity – was there a certain message you were trying to get across here?
I wanted to reach out to a variety of consumers that may have an alternative attitude towards menswear. The colour palette was based on a self-mockery of camo print and the bunny ears were inspired by this film I watched called ‘Gummo’. The film is a twisted story about two urban youths living in a tornado-stricken town in Ohio – they attempt to fulfil their boring lives with disturbing activities. I chose Gummo as an inspiration because it is a classic Harmony Korine film – I love all of his films – Mustang, Kids – and have a collection of them.
Some would say that your pieces are quite out-there and certainly make a statement! Do you think the rise of street-style and streetwear has encouraged designers to move away from the idea of clothes as functional pieces and more as works of art?
I think that in the fashion industry today, catwalk looks are becoming more accessible – not just from high-street stores but DIY panache. As a result of this, it’s easier for more people to make a statement with their outfits on a daily basis.
If you could work for one designer, who would it be?
It would have to be Walter Van Beirendonck, everything he creates is daring and has a political edge.
Finally, what is your best piece of advice for other graduates?
The best piece of advice I can give is to take every opportunity as it won’t be there forever. I would also suggest for them to move to London, as that’s where you need to be in this industry.
Word by Hannah Stacpoole
Photography by Kathrin Werner