Designer Hayley Van Den BergThey say young people will create the future of tomorrow and such can be said about our latest designer, Hayley van den Berg. Her eponymous Melbourne-based brand is focused on bringing inclusion, transparency, and sustainability to fashion using simple design with a worldly view. Starting the business reselling patterns for those who wanted to construct their own slow fashion pieces, Hayley’s brand is ready to bring the game-changing millennial mindset to the masses. Today we talk to Hayley about fashion (and weather) in Melbourne, millennial contradictions, and fabric personalities.  

What is the fashion scene like in Melbourne?

Fashion in Melbourne and the whole of Australia has been really interesting as the world becomes so much more connected. We have the opposite seasons to the rest of the world, therefore things that are trending online are often not suited for our time of year. I think this has lead to a real push for style-based fashion rather than fashion that is just concerned with trends.

Melbourne is known for being very business-like and people often wear all black or grey. But I think Melburnians look for comfort, style and quality above all in their clothes. Melbourne is known for having four seasons in one day, so it’s very important that we have pieces we can layer and easily adapt into our daily wardrobe. Melbourne is a base for a lot of creative people and so we get quite a nice mix of styles and tastes.

How and why did you start designing?

I don’t think there was a time I wasn’t designing. My Nanna sewed and I remember helping her cut out patterns as a kid. I used any fabric scraps to make clothes for my Barbie dolls which I sewed by hand. I got my first sewing machine at 12 and i haven’t stopped creating since then. I love to create. Its just in my blood. I’ve been drawing and sewing forever and I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever stop.

What is your fashion philosophy?

I think my main fashion philosophy is to remain true to yourself. I love when people really express their personality through fashion, and I think it’s so important whether it be when your designing, or even just buying clothes to make sure it expresses who you are.

How has your design changed over time?

When I was younger I was very keen on bridal wear and I loved the idea of all things girly. I’ve gone away from that idea as I’ve grown up and leaned towards more practical designs. I’ve learnt to appreciate fabrics a lot more and I don’t want to add as many trims and embellishments as I used to.

What inspired your latest collection?

I was inspired by the people in my generation who have such a weird place in the world at the moment. We’ve grown up in an age of growing technology and rely on it heavily. But we also grew up in a time where global warming was a main topic and recycling and using organic products were highly important. I think the two make an interesting juxtaposition and I love the way people in my generation dye our hair crazy colors but will only eat free-range, always have our phones on us but won’t accept a plastic bag at check out. To me we are an oddly juxtaposed generation and I wanted to create a collection which embodies that spirit. For the always-busy person on the go who also wants to stop and smell the roses.

What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?

Social media is a blessing and a curse. It can make it very hard to be seen as the market is so flooded by so many talented people. I think getting a brand to grow a following can be a really hard task and social media is a great way to start it but using it can only get you so far.

What do you think about fashion today?

I think fashion is at a really interesting point where fast fashion is beginning to die (finally!) and sustainable fashion is beginning to take charge. I think this makes it a very interesting time to be in the industry and I am really looking forward to sustainable fashion becoming the mainstream.

Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?

I gather inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. I love to travel and I think that travel often influences me to think differently about my designs. It’s always interesting for me to see how the rest of the world can take a style and wear it completely differently.

I also often gather inspiration from fabrics I find. I work in a fabric store and it’s such a great source of inspiration. I love working out ways to best showcase fabrics and utilize all their features.

Any tips and tricks of the trade?

I think the most important thing is to ensure you love what you do and to stay true to yourself. It can be a very busy and hectic industry and it can be easy to get overrun with work and forget to enjoy the designs.

What is your brand aesthetic and what makes your brand unique?

My brand aesthetic is modern feminine. I like to take a girly look and add an edge and a practicality to it. I work a lot with creating personalized designs and even sell sewing patterns as a part of my brand, it’s important to me that the customer gets a say in the creative process.

Get into the Millennial mindset with Hayley’s Natural Millennial Collection:

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