Designer Hannah Cawley told us, ‘I want to create clothing that is timeless, approachable and transitional, clothes that are made to last and be lived in. This is always key when I am designing a collection. A lot of the core shapes in Cawley originate from a combination of utilitarian workwear and feminine silhouettes.’
Hannah moved to London eight years ago to study design, after graduating she worked as a designer for a womenswear brand, arming her with the insight needed to launch her first collection for Spring – Summer 19.
‘I was born in Stoke-on-Trent, a city once known for its thriving pottery industry. Generations of my family worked in the potbanks, including my mum. She is the source of my creativity. During my years as a ballet dancer, I watched my mum in awe as she made endless costumes and tutus for shows. I remember being so amazed at how she would turn a pattern into a garment and was so proud to tell people that she had made it,’ she recounts.
How does sustainability permeate your production methods?
Every collection starts with the fabric. I source fabric with no minimums and I only order what I need. All of the garments we produce are made to order which minimises fabric waste. I source high quality fabrics from English, Irish and Portuguese mills, using only fabrics with 100% natural fibres, wool, leather, cotton and linen. I have used the same fabric mills for the last three seasons, it’s important for me to understand and trust the quality of the fabric.
I have a strong relationship with all of my makers and visit the factory at least once a week. I think it’s essential to understand the process of how the garments and accessories are made from start to finish. All of our garments are manufactured in North London. I feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful factory, they are like family, they cook the most amazing food and we all sit down and eat together.
Our hats are manufactured at the oldest hat factory in England that’s still run by its founding family. Using local manufacturers is very important to me, it minimises our carbon footprint and it helps to keep tradition and craftsmanship alive.
We thought about how we would package the Spring Summer 2019 collection for stores. We made a conscious choice to wrap each style in recycled tissue paper, we avoided using any plastics and will continue to do so.
How do you stay creative and inspired?
Music has always been a major influence when designing. I love how nostalgic music is and how certain tracks and artists transport you back to a specific moment. I grew up listening to bands like Steely Dan and artists such as Prince – the album Katy Lied reminds me of washing dishes after dinner with my dad. I collect 70’s and 80’s disco records, mostly African and Brazilian. The album sleeves from that era are so colourful and energetic, it is my main inspiration for Spring Summer 2020.
I regularly DJ with Sticky Buttons, a record label started by my friends. They put on these amazing music nights that I feel lucky to be a part of. I am surrounded by people that constantly inspire me as they grow in their various creative fields.
I attend a pottery class at a local college every Monday. It helps me find focus at the beginning of each week – most of my ideas arise in this two hour class.
What’s coming up for Cawley?
At the moment Cawley is only two seasons old, there is still so much for me to learn and so much room for me to grow. Right now I am happy with the way things are progressing. In the future I would like to start making a couple of menswear pieces, I have always been drawn to menswear and I would love to experiment with that. I want to continue working and collaborating with wonderful photographers, designers and artists. I am really excited for the next season.
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