Hayley Hughes is awesome. She’s a stylist, a street-style photographer, the creative director for Melbourne Street Fashion, and a fashion blogger – well, a fashion everywoman. Needless to say, her blog, Fashion Hayley, has been a long favourite at the WORN office.
What did you dress like in high school?
I was a little crazy in high school. It was 1998 and I was a “grunger”. My fave outfit was: red flares from an op shop (thrift store in USA English), a purple tie dyed slip dress from a market, pink fairy wings, blue hair, nose piercing, fake lip piercing which eventually became real, assortment of bindis on my face and lots of glitter make-up. Oh, and I carried an Elmo doll around who also wore fairy wings.
Have you always worn what you love, or has that come with age?
With me its always been about wearing what I love. Even as a kid when my parents wanted me to wear jeans and a t-shirt I would throw a tantrum because I wanted to wear a dress. My mum eventually just let me go and experiment with fashion however I saw fit. She tells me how my grandparents would call her up and ask mum to please dress me in something more respectable. She never did and I was able to leave the house in all manners of intensely stupid garb, but it was fun.
From reading your blog, I get the impression that you have a pretty profound love for Japan. Where did that come from?
My love of Japan all started when I bought my first copy of Fruits magazine in 2000. I was still at high school and I became obsessed with the crazy looks on the kids of Harajuku and I started to take my own street fashion photographs. I finally went over to Japan on a holiday in 2004 and absolutly fell in love with the country, vowing to move there as soon as I could. In 2006 that dream came true and I moved to Tokyo to teach English and get to know the fashion scene. I ended up becoming best friends with a girl from that very first issue of Fruits magazine I bought without realising it until I got back to Australia and looked through the old mag.
What differences and similiarities do you see in how people dress in Tokyo and Melbourne?
The biggest difference would be the amount of designer clothes. Melbourne just doesn’t have the access to a lot of it, and people are more inclined to wear op shop finds then spend that much money on clothes. Sure that is changing, Melbourne is getting more and more shops that import, say, Comme Des Garçons, but it just isn’t as prevalent as it is in Japan. In Toyko people also wear head to toe the same designer, say, all Vivienne Westwood, but that would never happen here as people prefer to mix and match pieces to make the look their own, whereas in Japan wearing the designer’s full vision is seen as something to strive for.
You have such a varied career – you’re a stylist, the creative director for Melbourne Street Fashion, and have your own personal style blog. What does a typical day in your life look like? How do you juggle so many different jobs?
The truth is it is getting harder and harder to do everything that I am asked to do. Right now I’m working on 7 different projects which require daily work, and I have a few shoots in the works too. I literally wake up and work from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., often forgetting to even eat in this time because I’m just so busy. A typical day would see me wake up and check my e-mail accounts (I have 3) where I will find at least 50 e-mails, get through all of them within maybe 2 hours, depending on what they are. Then I will either edit photos for a few hours or head out to take some street photos. If there is a shoot on I will also be searching stores and showrooms doing sourcing. I will come home at about 5 p.m. and make my styling phone calls, e-mails, and again edit photos. I try to fit in a blog post and work on my new City Chic blog and styling work for a few hours. Somehow it will be 2 a.m. in no time and I will have to just go to bed to start it all again the next day.
Can you tell us about your styling work? How did you break into the industry?
My styling work has come about only in the last year. It all began when I decided to apply for a styling course and did a test shoot for my portfolio. I posted it on my blog and it gathered a fair bit of attention. By the time the course started I had worked on a few shoots and was getting more and more busy. By the time 2nd semester came around I found I had to give up one or the other, my styling work or my University Degree. I choose [to keep] my styling work and have been working on it full time ever since. I do not know why I have been so lucky for everything to work out as it has, but I know my blog has definetly helped me get this far.
What has been the most exciting or interesting project you have worked on?
The most exciting would have to be assiting on the Who magazine shoot with Miranda Kerr, Megan Gale and Ruby Rose. It was and still is the biggest shoot I have worked on. It was interesting to see how a large scale shoot like that works. I’m not there yet in my own career to do such big shoots, so that is why assisting is such a good idea for someone like me, you just learn so much.
What challenges, if any, do you face as a plus-sized girl working in the fashion industry? How have you overcome them?
I feel that people in the fashion industry look down on me, but I don’t let it get to me. I work hard at what I do and my work should speak for itself. What I look like should have no place in the equation, but unfortunatly it does. I do know that is has held me back for sure, but it has also opened up other doors for me which I am excited about, such as my new role at City Chic. Fashionable clothing for all sizes is something I am passionate about and City Chic has seen that and my creative vision and have taken me on board as a stylist and blogger. The role is ever growing and changing, it sure is going to be an interesting ride for me and them.
It is a trend right now for magazines to replace their typical models with plus-sized models. What do you think of this trend? Do you think it will last?
I think it’s just that another trend or fad. I do think its a good thing, but personally I think it should have happened a long time ago. I think it would be much more interesting if magazines always included everyone, skinny, plus-size, Asian, African, short, tall. There shouldn’t be a fuss made – it should just happen. I guess that’s why people are turning to blogs now, because they do represent all types of people. It will be interesting to see what happenes next with magazines as they try to get their readers back.
Fashion Haley’s top 10 Australian designers
Romance Was Born: Their Harajuku aesthetic just speaks to me.
Alhpa60: Their clean lines, minimal design but with an edge – be it a digital print or an asymetric hem – is just so Melbourne that I have to love them.
Limedrop: The cloud print. What can I say, everyone is obessing over it, and rightly so. Limedrop have really found their niche this season.
Arnsdorf: Celebrated by Garance Dore on her Australian visit, this local label is going places and not only because Jade Arnott, the designer, has moved to New York. Soft, peachy colours and classic tailoring with a difference makes Arnsdorf stand out.
Josh Goot: What’s not to love with his awesome digital print dresses.
Tina Kalivas: Having recently worked her hand at costume design for the Japanese film Goemon, Kalivas’s current collection has that perfect mix of ethnicity and modernity.
Reiss Radvanyi: Simple yet effective design loved by the Melbourne crowd.
Gorman: Should probably be in my top 3 as Gorman is a brand I go to when I have money to spend. The clothing looks amazing on me and I love the use of colour and most importantly the use of organice materials.
Kirrily Johnston: Kirrily’s work is on a whole other level, especially ever since she introduced a menswear line. I love the tribal, nomadic vibe of the current season and the use of knits and soft buttery leathers in interesting ways.
Trimapee: Trimapee are another local Melbourne brand that deliver every season, plus they throw the best parties. The current collection is Japanese inspired and of course that appeals to me a lot!
- Stephanie Fereiro