My Plus size fashion journey is about to take on a whole new direction.
I don’t believe in coincidences, but I most definitely believe in destiny. Signing up to do a random photography course five months ago has set me on a life changing path with destiny, that is going to explode on so many levels in 2017. I love how quickly my eye has become trained, to see a photographic opportunity in every single thing I see. Whilst packing a pink mesh Miracle jacket, into a lime green carrier bag, for a client, I knew I needed to take a photograph. She looked at me a little strangely…
I then explained that I’m on a design journey, that is going to culminate in me designing my own exclusives fabric prints for my Hayley Joy collections. I’ve embarked on an amazing journey and am in awe of what is achievable.
The capabilities of an iPhone and the endless supply of apps has been mind blowing for me from a design perspective. However, if I’m going to achieve the ultimate in fabric design, I’m going to need to know a bit more….sooooooo…it’s back to school in the new year. Time to go and learn all about graphic design, so that we can step and repeat our prints perfectly.
When I look at these designs that I’ve created from a simple jacket in a packet, I get all tingly, because I know that 6 months from now, I’ll look at them, and know that going back to ‘school’ was a very good idea. But for now, if this was all I was able to accomplish, I’d be happy, because I absolutely love the resulting prints gained from my ‘jacket in a packet’ photograph.
I’m combining my passion for fashion, with my passion for print. Welcome to the beginning of my print journey. I hope you enjoy the evolution of my next venture of developing exclusive fabric prints, for my in store, and online Hayley Joy collections.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a dream to design my own fashion fabric prints. For the last five years I’ve been privileged to have a wonderful partner in China, who allowed me the freedom to design my own fabric collections. The only drawback was that I had to use existing prints, that I could tweak colours and layouts of, in order to allow me to order smaller quantities, rather than the usual 1000 metres per colour, per print.
2017 is the year that’s going to allow me the opportunity to design and print my own exclusive designs, in any quantity I desire.
I’m taking my love for flowers, and my new found passion for editing photos with a variety of mind blowing apps, and I’m creating a series of prints, that will become future fabrics, exclusively for my Hayley Joy Collections.
This first series is called FLOATING. The original photo is a Hibiscus flower taken in my garden with my iPhone.
After a marathon fabric shopping excursion, I stopped to get some water, and there was a bunch of pink roses at the door of the shop.
There they were in an ugly bucket, on an ugly stand, in a dull concrete environment. I stood staring at them, thinking about how even in a really bland setting, a pretty bunch of pink roses, will always be pretty.
I suppose this philosophy can be applied to so many areas of our lives. Pretty is pretty, no matter the circumstances, and it’s up to us to take the time to smell the roses, and see the beauty.
In my line of work, I spend as much time selling Plus size fashion, as I do convincing my clients to see the good in themselves. A pretty heart is just as important as a pretty face, in actual fact I’d go so far as to say, that to have a pretty heart is so much more important than having just a pretty face. Body image is a very sensitive issue and that’s why I always design with the intention to make my clients feel amazing about themselves.
Spending the day in an outfit that gets loads of compliments, will automatically make you feel pretty.
I hope my photo (taken by me on my iPhone, and edited by me with my knowledge gained in an online iPhone photography course run by Emil Parkalis), brings some prettiness into your life.
Signing up to a random iPhone photography course has opened me up to a whole new world, one that enables me to combine my love for natures beauty, with my love for fashion design.
I have a really beautiful garden that I used to spend very little time in, it was never a priority…and then I started taking photos of everything and anything, and now I spend every available moment, zooming in on all this incredible beauty that surrounds me.
My mom-in-law, who is a landscaper, has planted some very special roses for me. My most favourite is a rose called Peace. It reminds me of a marshmallow. The colours are so soft and the scent is beautiful.
I had a reward of two beautiful flowers at the same time, and have had the most inspiring time editing them for all different uses.
In light of the craziness that has happened in the world this last week I share with you my magnificent Peace rose.
I signed up to do an iPhone photography course, to learn how to get the maximum benefit out of my iPhone 6S+. To say I’m blown away by what what I’ve learnt in the last two months, would really be an understatement, but more importantly I wanted to share the incredible outlet it’s given me.
Overseeing the running of Hayley Joy production where we manufacture all the various collections for Hayley Joy retail, and overseeing the running of Hayley Joy retail is extremely demanding. I’m the Boss, so you all know what that means, long hours and loads of pressure.
Since I started taking photos of anything that moves and everything that is pretty, I cannot believe the difference it’s made to my temperament. I have discovered macro photography which requires me to zoom in on a subject and really, really concentrate.
My big problem is, that whatever I do, my mind finds a way to go back to work, as there is always such exciting stuff going on, but I also know that I have to have a break, and discovering the wonders of photography on my phone, has given me a diversion that is inspiring me on new levels, and that is in turn, calming me down and unleashing wonderful new creativity. It’s also getting me outside more, and away from all my devices, besides my phone of course, but that is now being used primarily for taking beautiful photos.
I’m always on the hunt for great subject matter for my mood and style boards. I’m spending lots of time in my own garden and I am continuously blown away by the colours in nature. I have been watch a group of Aloes that have begun flowering, and I am in awe of their beauty. I have fallen in love with Macro photography and especially taking close up photos of Bees, so I share these photos of our very special food providers, and their food, with love.
In a bold move, I have opted to remove all sizes from the labels in my garments, and am replacing the sizes with shapes.
After seven years on the shop floor at Hayley Joy, I feel it’s time for me to lead the way in eliminating body shaming, with dignity. I’ve spent many hours in one-on-one consultations and it always comes down to the same thing – low self-esteem – which isn’t helped by having to buy clothing with a 5XL, 6XL and 7XL label in it. Removing sizes from my garment labels, seemed the most obvious thing to do, after the umpteenth call from a client asking us to cut out the labels from their clothing, because their husband, son, son-in-law or boss were coming to collect on their behalf, and “they absolutely couldn’t have them see what size she is buying.” The final affirmation for me was when a client sent me a picture of a Hayley Joy garment belonging to her mom, that had the corner of the label cut out, where the size normally is.
I’m never one to play it safe, so I decided to go where no other clothing designer and manufacturer has really gone before. I allocated colours to the various sizes, and it felt so good to say you’re a yellow, or a pink, or a green. And then at 3am one morning, which is when my brain tends to decide to have its real moments, I woke with absolute clarity…I needed to have coloured labels with shapes. This would mean that instead of clients referring to their size as a 2XL, they become a pink heart (which is the new label for a 2XL HJ garment). As a shapely women, it made perfect sense to me, and I knew would make perfect sense to my clients, and in turn, would eliminate the stress of a number in a label.
Many clothing brands are dropping the plus-size from the description of their ranges, and are seeing a marked increase in profits, but nobody has gone as far as removing sizes completely. Practically I think it’s difficult to remove sizes if you are a store carrying multiple brands. For Hayley Joy it makes perfect sense, because we manufacture all our collections in our own production facility, exclusively for our retail store. It’s easier for us to educate our present and future clients on how to buy the ranges. It also allows for us to demonstrate our respect for the issues around sizing. I’ve spent months on the internet reading comments on anything Plus-size related, and the recurring gripe is this, ‘Why do we have to be labelled, why can’t we just be part of the consumer chain?’
I have given it much thought, and am in agreement. It’s time to start offering fashion in all sizes, with no stigma. HJ is known as a Plus-size brand, but the reality is that we cater for all sizes. I have many clients who buy HJ small, because they like the styles and the look and feel. They are really not fazed by what size we go up to. In fact, they are often in awe, that there is a brand who is taking a small pattern, and sizing it all the way up to a 7XL.
As a small independent boutique, attempting to do something this radical, within the clothing space, is risky. But for me, I believe that the time is right, for somebody to make a move in this very maligned area of fashion.
Plus-size clothing has a stigma, there is no denying it. I’m hoping that by making this change and removing sizes completely, HJ can create a precedent going forward, and at the same time, demonstrate to women out there, that somebody has taken heed of all the feedback, and come up with a fun, quirky way to limit the stigma and remove the trauma of shopping by size. I think we’ve been so fixated on size for so long, that we’ve forgotten that we have a shape too, and it’s our shape that defines the clothing we wish to wear.
I hope that this will revolutionise the way women are marketed to in fashion, globally. It’s time for women of all shapes and sizes to be honoured. I want this to become a global undertaking. We the designers, who are claiming to know a thing or two about Plus-size fashion, need to start realising that our clients needs are not that complicated, they just want respectfully designed, well fitting, fashion forward clothing, without stigma around their size.
I want to be that designer who changed the way women of all sizes are marketed to. In my own small way, I believe the first step is to take the trauma out of sizing…and the first step for HJ, toward this, is by making fashion about a Shape, not a Size.