Slow fashion is all about the quality of garments – think well-made staples that are always in style. While there will always be new trends we love to try each season, there’s a benefit to building a wardrobe of well-made basics that are made to last. A couple weeks ago, I headed over to Hamilton Studio to meet designer Sofia Del Giacco. With an appreciation for the slow fashion movement, she founded her collection of classic, cozy basics in Montreal last year under the label Hutchison.
A recent transplant to Hamilton, she was preparing to shoot her Spring 2017 lookbook with local photographer Claire Dam. I stopped by the shoot for a behind-the-scenes look at her new collection. And to hear more about her creative process, her dream customer and how she feels cities influence personal style. Keep scrolling to read my interview with Sofia!
Hutchison’s brand philosophy is to keep life simple, joyful and beautiful. What led you to these principles and how do you contribute individually to this philosophy?
After working for a larger fashion house for many years, the need to keep up with the fast fashion market started to wear on me. I wanted to branch out and worry less about where fashion was supposed to be heading, and focus more on what's always mattered to me: simplicity and comfort. People feel beautiful when they are comfortable. By focusing on basics, I try to eliminate the unnecessary clutter in my life. I practise this in my designs and in what I wear.
What type of woman do you have in mind when designing the line? How would you describe the Hutchison customer?
The Hutchison customer is definitely someone who is comfortable in her own skin and is her own person. She's not trying to be anyone but herself.
Can you share a bit about your creative process?
I wish I could, I mean even for myself. I am a little disorganized in terms of designing. I don't like having a routine during my creative process, I prefer chaos. It somehow just works better for me. Design definitely has different stages to it. Once the designs are completed, I think I naturally switch modes into a more systematic person.
How has living and working in Montreal influenced your brand and approach to your design? Do you think cities have an influence on personal style?
Absolutely. Growing up in Montreal has opened my eyes to many different cultures and their fashions. I love people watching! Growing up in such a vibrant city, every person will without even being conscious of it, inspire you to mature into your own personal style. It's just a natural way to experiment.
Their are so many people running around in the city, I wanted to offer a comfortable clothing line that can compliment their busy schedules, from students, to office workers or the busy stay at home mom, running around non stop. I wanted to design something that I really would want to wear.
What brought you to Hamilton and what are your first impressions?
I met my partner in Montreal about 10 years ago. He is originally from Hamilton and I have been coming down to visit family and friends ever since we started dating. You can tell that there has been a lot of positive change in this city and we thought it would be a great time to be a part of it. It's inspiring to be part of change. Hamilton has a lot of character and characters. I've been enjoying myself exploring.
You believe in a simplified wardrobe. What do you hope you contribute to the slow fashion community and the broader Canadian design community as a whole?
In terms of the fashion community, I would like to contribute bringing back the relationship between the designer and the customer. By operating a small business, I meet customers who like the brand. It's a nice feeling to talk with people who encourage what you are doing and motivate you to keep going. There is definitely a lot of competition out there, but there is still a community of people who appreciate designers and their work. It's all about growing that community and empowering small businesses to grow and stay afloat in such a fast paced environment.
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
It's tough but if you are truly passionate about what you are doing, its worth it. I would encourage all aspiring designers to get organized when it comes to the business end of things. Even if it is a system that you've created and only works for you, get yourself organized. it's too easy to get overwhelmed and feel that you don't know what to do next. Also, I put yourself out there. There are lots of people willing to give you advice and help you to be more strategic. Listen to what people have to say, but bounce it off your gut.
How do you like to wear your favourite Hutchison pieces?
Definitely with denim.
Do you have a most treasured garment or accessory in your personal wardrobe?
I do. It's a turquoise and gold statement necklace that belonged to my mother. It's funny because I'm not much of a jewelry kinda girl, but this necklace makes me feel so elegant and well put together, even if I'm only wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
What was your last splurge purchase? Your last great find or steal?
My last great find was a chunky knit cardigan I found at a thrift store in Montreal. It's nothing fancy, but it is so comfortable and I only paid five bucks for it. I usually wear it when I'm lounging around the house or out for an evening stroll with Jack, my dog.