Featured Designer: Sou-ven-ir by Hayley Killigrew

FK chat to Hayley from Sydney label Sou-ven-ir by Hayley Killigrew about her travel based fashion label.

When did you start your label and what was the inspiration?
I started selling my label in March this year at Paddington Markets. I had the idea for my label many years ago, however the timing was never right until this year. I have always loved to travel and experience new places, landscapes and cultures. My main problem would be coming home and losing that carefree holiday feeling of being inspired, that gave me a sense that anything is possible. I used to say to my partner if only I could bottle the smells and landscapes and bring them home with me I wanted to capture those special times and places and decided I could do this with my work.

You obviously love to travel! How do you think it adds to your brand identity?
I believe fashion can be very transparent and disposable. I wanted to create a label that was neither transparent or disposable. I believe my label has a story to tell and each print has a different feel, each print will connect to a different person for a different reason. I believe this is so important for the future of the fashion industry, people want to re-connect. I also feel selling my product at Finders Keepers in the perfect platform to re-connect with people in the community and to know who my customer is. As well as my travel stories I am also extremely fussy when it comes to fabrics, shape and fit. I believe this is paramount when designing. I only use natural fabrics, such as Bamboo, Silk and Cotton. All my prints and printed onto Silk. I also like to play with lines and shape. I love asymmetric lines in design. Plus I am very particular about the fit of my garments. Without a good fit the product will not sell.

What is your background and how did you get started?
After completing a 5 year degree in Fashion/Textiles in the UK, I worked in London for 7 years before moving to Australia to be closer to my brother Lee and his family, Pia, Alfie, Carter and Pippa. During my time in London I worked for the major high st stores, M&S, River Island, Oasis and Warehouse. In 1998 after arriving in Australia with my partner Richard, I continued to work in the fashion industry. Working for many years at Jigsaw and most recently as Head Designer at Bracewell.

Where are some of the most inspirational places you’ve been and why?
I have been lucky to of travelled and worked in countries all over the world, during my career in the industry. I find Japan one of the most inspirational places I have been. Kyoto for it’s rich culture, breath taking temples and landscapes. It really blows you away! Toyko for it’s buzz and creativity. I cannot believe for a city as busy as Tokyo, how polite the people are. Not to mention the food. Everything you eat is an art form in itself!


What advice would you give others just starting out?
For people starting out I believe this is a tough industry, that it is so important to get hands on experience first. Working for a company will teach you to think about who the customer is you are designing for, as well as the companies brand identity. This will help you understand who you want your customer to be in the future. It is also extremely important to understand how a garment should fit and what fabric would suit a certain style.

What are some of your goals for the future?
In the future I would like to carry on travelling, perhaps further afield to more remote places. I am also keen to build new relationships with retail spaces or galleries that can showcase my work in an exciting environment. I would love to see my work being sold at the MCA or Art Gallery NSW. One day I would love to have my own exhibition “A Visual Travel Diary” of my prints, my artworks and my inspiration… watch this space!




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