Take 5 and slip into one of these fabulous suits while sinking into your 70’s lounge (pass me a ‘Tom collins’ please), as we catch up with long time Finders Keepers Stallholder Fiona. Fiona is the designer behind Hook & Eye, authentic, effortlessly-cool clothing and accessories label that us looking great no matter the task, sustainably made in small runs on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, Australia. Read on as Fiona reflects on her business journey and revisiting her first calling fashion and challenges faced during CoVID. Don’t forget to tap images to shop and click this link to delve into these fashion essentials.
Tell us about your business and how it started?
I created Hook+Eye after leaving the fashion industry to have my first child. I had always wanted to build a creative business and found it was the perfect time to channel my years of graphic and fashion design experience and skills into something of my own. Having just stepped out of the grind of the fashion industry I was looking for a different challenge in a new direction which still involved my love of creating beautiful prints and textiles. I began hand-painting prints on textured linen and hemps and experimenting with digital printing which turned into a range of cushions, throws, artworks and more. Within a few years of being in homewares, however, the brand evolved back towards my love of fashion, first with bags and scarves and then, more recently, back to clothing, which is where my real passion lies.
What influences your work, and what sparks your creativity? How has your work evolved over time?
So many things influence my prints and designs. At the moment I’m obsessed with any images, books, movies etc I can find which feature high-end fashion from the 50s, 60s and 70’s. Same goes for mid-century art, architecture, landscapes and interiors. I often find myself referencing my Slim Aarons books for ideas and inspo on anything from colour palettes and print ideas, to garment shapes and design details. For the same reasons I also love vintage and thrift shopping.
If I ever find myself stuck for ideas i’ll head straight to some of my favourite Peninsula stores and will usually come across something unique, to spark an idea. Street fashion is another big influence. I love seeing how real people style outfits together in real life, all over the world and how original, creative and cool people can be for all occasions and on all different budgets.
What impact has 2020 had on your business and how have you changed your direction?
I’m still figuring that out to be honest! I felt like H+E was gaining some serious momentum last year and into 2020 following the release of our first clothing range. This was super exciting and then it all came to a screaming halt when we all went into lock down. Then sadly one by one all the markets I had booked for 2020 were cancelled. For me this has meant the loss of income I needed to pay for the bulk production of Hook+Eye’s latest clothing range (which I had planned on launching at July FK) so this is now on hold for the moment.
Meanwhile, along with home-schooling the kids, I have been putting more time and energy into my online store and social media to drive more sales online. I’m also working on a series of paintings which I’m hoping to sell to contribute towards the production costs. So in that sense the direction has temporarily changed and now I’m just hoping the Finders Keepers will still go ahead in October as close to normal as possible, so I can finally get these beautiful new designs and prints out to the world.
What are you watching / reading / listening to right now?
I’ve been reading lots of books so far this year and loving the escapism from the ‘real world’ this brings each night before I sleep. So far my favourites would have to be ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ and ‘All the light we cannot see’. Definately read them if you haven’t already.
We are a few episodes into an SBS series called ‘Reprisal’ which is described as ‘a stylish noir revenge thriller’ and set in the 50’s and 60s. There are loads of holes in the plot, but the costumes and sets alone are worth the watch.
I listen to music all the time when I’m drawing and painting and because of my husband our house is always filled with music which always lifts my spirits. He seems to be able to pick exactly what I need to hear and when I need to hear it, even when I wasn’t aware myself.
What are your go-to Hook & Eye designs?
My go-to H+E design would def be our linen Siren Suits. They are, without a doubt our best sellers. Close behind would be our tie-strap printed linen Jumpsuits. I love an all-in-one, always have, always will. It’s the simplicity of throwing on only one piece of clothing and the instant gratification of then having a comfy, cool outfit which makes you feel like you can take on anything the day (or night) might throw at you. Our printed Rizzle kick-flared pant always gets compliments too. I love the shape of this pant with its high-waisted sexy 50’s capri-pant styling, but also with a cool cropped 70’s rock styled kick-flare. I love everything in the range, I hope you do too!