“Half dressed up with nowhere to go ~ she poses for the camera in her hotel room.”
Halia’s most recent collection, which has been gracing our social feeds since its release in July, was shot in an old-style hotel room of a small town in Northern NSW. But the resulting looks have big energy: Halia’s Lydia Andersen and the shoot’s creative team turned a soft and subtle colour palette into something bold.
“When I started putting together the style of the shoot, that’s when the mood of the collection started to change and adapt to the narrative I was creating for ‘HOTEL’” Lydia said.
“I really wanted to just have fun with this shoot and let the model (Hayley Rowsell) get in touch all kinds of emotions that came to her when she wore our pieces. From innocent and sweet, to fierce and dangerous, to promiscuous and sexualised; All emotions any woman can feel and hopefully should never feel ashamed for feeling them.”
Wanting to know more, we asked Halia’s founder and designer Lydia some questions about her fabrication choices, what it’s like being a fashion small biz and her best wardrobe advice.
What were some design elements used to encapsulate the ideas of female sensuality and confidence amongst the garments?
The fabrics chosen in this collection definitely played the biggest part in drawing in or enhancing that sense of sensuality and confidence. Ranging from soft and buttery, to thick and sheen like, to heavy and drapey, I wanted to create a collection that made you feel all kinds of moods and emotions. Almost all Halia pieces have a unique element of design, to help encourage our consumer to get more in touch with their body – may it be the feel and weight of the fabric, the design featuring backless, low cut, short and tight fitting – basically everything I currently adore in fashion, but will most likely evolve as time goes on.
I have always been a strong believer that women should be able to wear whatever they feel most confident in, without having the pressure of feeling too sexual for the male eye. Unfortunately, though we have grown up believing that we are the ones that should be covering our bodies and being conscious of what we wear to help prevent the male gaze watching and sexualising us, instead of raising men to not immediately sexualise women if they are showing too much skin.
The fabrics seen in HOTEL consist of muted greens and neutrals, as well as a play on textures – what was the inspo behind these selections and how do you go about choosing materials?
As also described above, I think the fabrication in any collection is the most important element to a range of clothing and can take your ideas on paper to the perfect finished product. Neutral colours have always been very prominent in our initial designs and aesthetic, but who doesn’t love a pop of colour here and there to help enhance the collection. The colour palette comes hand in hand with the fabric selection. We have a few lovely fabric suppliers in Australia that only stock dead stock fabrics from around the world, which is super exciting as they always have a wide range of colours and fabrics to choose from. It can sometimes take us a few hours to go through the range and pick out of favourites, and then up to 2-3 weeks to make our final decision.
What is your personal fave combination from the HOTEL collection?
For a summer look I would go with the Check Set! It’s the cutest little daytime or night time outfit with the right styling. The stone Skivvy with our Low-Rise Chocolate Pant would be our fave winter combo, could even throw on the green cross back top over the skivvy 🙂
A lot of Halia’s pieces seem dynamic in that they are reversible, easy to layer or simply staples… What do you think people who are trying to build a sustainable wardrobe should look for in a garment?
Definitely something versatile, where you can basically wear it with anything in your wardrobe for any occasion, which comes down to choosing a colour and shape that is seasonless. Making sure when you purchase your times, that you are in love with them so much that you know you will wear them for many seasons and take care of them. Every time I buy something new, I always make sure I have already planned out three or more outfits to wear and have to think about the purchase for a few hours before buying, to make sure I’m in lurve with it.
What are some challenges for getting a slow fashion label off the ground and embracing all-local production?
Oh so many, but every bit you put into it, you feel unmistakably prouder and determined that you are working towards your values. The most challenging part I have experienced is the financial side of getting everything off the ground, as it is a much slower/painful burn to start to see some profit. Your brand really must be your passion and love to be able to continue the ethical and sustainable journey, as you are faced with multiple competitors who are out there doing it faster, cheaper, easier than you, that aren’t worrying about the impact they are having. It can be very draining to watch them succeed while you’re still tracking very slowly behind. But believe me when I say it is so worth it.
Can you give us a glimpse of what is next for Halia?
Hmmmm, just more sexy, sleek, beautiful Australian made garments! I would love to collaborate with some other incredible aussie brands. We are currently working on some new one-off pieces to test the waters on them with our followers, before we can start on our Spring/Summer Range!
HOTEL is available now on Halia’s website, where one can find each handmade piece designed by maker Lydia Andersen. Items are all of limited runs, embodying a slow fashion practice.