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Designers Corner with Charlotte Hawke

Welcome today we chat with the lovely and talented designer Charlotte Hawke

What is your background in the Fashion Industry?
After completing a BA at The University of Sydney I started working for a small retail and wholesale fashion company, initially running their Sydney flagship store. Working for a small business enabled me to get involved in the wholesale, buying, marketing, management and retail areas of the fashion industry.
Having direct access to the customers allowed me to gain a strong understanding of what women want in shapes, fabrics and prints. This is probably the most important lesson I have learnt thus far.

How & why did you decide to enter the Fashion Design Industry?
Fashion and designing is something I have always been passionate about. I had a subscription to Vogue and created mood boards at the age of 10. I would spend any free time customising singlets, jackets, jeans and anything I could get my hands on!

Growing up in Europe and being surrounded by such a rich fashion culture really ignited my passion design.
Making the decision to start the label came after finishing my degree and realising that if I didnt follow my dreams I would always regret it.

What inspires you as a designer?
My overall inspiration comes from Sydney and its harbour side living. The relaxed, stylish vibe of the Sydney woman allows for a lot of scope when it comes to designing.

Inspiration can come to me daily and could be from the shape of a flower or a piece of vintage fabric.
Thinking about my customer, who they are and what they like to wear also plays a big role in how I create my designs. I rely strongly on my intuition, if something feels right I go for it.

What do you think gives Australian designers an edge in the international market?
Australian designers are a fresh influence on the international market, and there is no doubt the Australian fashion industry has been pushing the boundaries recently. There is laidback sophistication in what the Australian girl chooses to wear. It’s about looking polished but not over the top and I think this resonates internationally.

Who is the ‘Charlotte Hawke’ customer?
The Charlotte Hawke customer has a laidback approach to dressing yet likes to look stylish and polished. Women of all ages are drawn to my clothes, they are not restrictive to just young girls or older women.

 How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Simple, minimalist, sophisticated and wearable with an emphasis on quality fabrics and timeless ideas and designs.

How would you describe your personal style?
My label is an extension of my own personal style. I love to be comfortable and sophisticated in my dressing and I dont shy away from a bold print, colour, or statement pieces. My style is heavily influenced by growing up in England and spending a lot of time in France.

You’ve just designed your Summer line – what are your must have items from the collection?
The Printed Watson Shorts in Dark Blue Key Print, the Whitehaven Top with Orange beading and
the Bells Maxi are my standouts for the season.

Any plans to diversify the brand further eg. Swimwear, jewellery, accessories, more evening separates, etc?
I would love to design swimwear one day, but at the moment my focus is clothing.

What are your favourite pieces from your label overall?
The Whitehaven Top from SS13-14 has to be my favourite piece. I love the juxtaposition of the bright orange beading against the strong blue geometric print.

What are your long term goals for the brand?
I want to continue to build the Charlotte Hawke brand and strengthen my relationship with my customers while allowing new customers to form a connection with my clothes, so opening a permanent store in the next few years is definitely a big goal. Continuing to create unique pieces that allow women to feel fabulous is something that I will always strive for.

Do you admire any designers & why?
I particularly admire Mary Katrantzou for her fabulous prints and architectural shapes. Also Antik Batik for her unique use of colour, beading and wearable styles.

Where can we buy your clothing? Who stocks your label online? Outside of online, any plans for future pop – up or retail stores? I currently have a Pop Up at 86 Queen St Woollahra, which ends mid August. I plan on opening another pop up store in October in Sydney’s East.

The Charlotte Hawke SS13-14 collection will be available online from September at www.charlottehawke.com and at select stockists across Australia.

What is your greatest experience as a Designer?
The best experience for me as a designer is seeing someone wearing my own creations. The reason why I love to design is to help people find a garment that they love, cherish and get lots of wear out of so it’s a really great feeling when you see someone enjoying it!

Which celebrities would you like to design for?
Poppy Delevigne, Olivia Palermo, Sienna Miller, Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow.’

What advice would you give to young designers trying to break into such a competitive market?
Be true to yourself in your design philosophy. Believe in yourself and what you do, because there are going to be times when you feel like giving up. Be prepared to experience many set backs and difficulties. Always learn from your mistakes.

What are your style tips for S/S?
It is all about jewel tones for SS13-14; jade, sapphire and highlights of poppy. Be bold with strong prints this season.

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Model – Milli @ eMg Models
Hair and makeup – Sylwia Lukosz
Stylists – Samantha Denise and Luiza Gelli
Designer – Charlotte Hawke
Photography by Brandon Voight, assisted by Jake Campbell- Voight Photography and Design
www.facebook.com/voightphotographyanddesign

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