BOARD By Hatastic
The team behind Fashion Revolution Day believe that fashion can be a ‘force for good’, but this is not a view shared by society as a whole. Some people think fashion is very superficial, has no depth and is all about appearances (I know, because they have told me so). This is not an uncommon view, but it is one with which I wholeheartedly disagree. Whilst I admit there are some people in the industry who are far more concerned with money, fame and status than creativity, self-expression and ethics, there are a great many designers doing inspirational work and whose positive impact is far-reaching.
Chloe Haywood, founder of Hatastic is one such designer. For her SS14 Collection BOARD, she collaborated with Thrashion who upcycle old skateboards into homewares, jewellery and accessories. For this collection Chloe incorporated elements of upcycled skateboard into her designs and these details, such as buckles, studs, buttons or statement pieces, were re-made by Thrashion. Chloe explains the origins of the idea behind BOARD:
‘The main inspiration came from working with disadvantaged teens over 2013, who were essentially 'bored', and it highlighted to me the importance of safe public spaces where kids can feel free, experiment and play, such as skateparks. The threatened closure of Southbank Centre’s skatepark would be hugely detrimental for these kids and this collection is dedicated to them.’
I asked Chloe to tell me more about her work last year with this group of young people and how it all came about:
‘I worked with a fabulous charity called The Beat Project on various projects over the year, but the turning point was facilitating our 'Junk to Funk' course where the students were shown different skills on how to up-cycle their wardrobe. These skills included bleaching, dying, machining, hand sewing and embellishments such as studs, buttons, gems, embroidery and ribbons.’
It’s clear that the project gave Chloe an invaluable insight into what these young people were thinking and feeling about fashion inn general and their own style:
‘Throughout the sessions we'd have impromptu chats about fashion: what influenced the clothes they liked to wear, where they liked to shop and why. Because these teens were disadvantaged in various ways, it seemed difficult to achieve the look they wanted, but after showing them some simple skills, their ideas grew and pushed them into doing far more.’
The positive impact on these young people wasn’t limited to them learning new skills:
‘One particular girl was having real problems at school and was always getting sent to the head as she was really disruptive in class and some days simply not turning up. By the end of the six week course, The Beat Project followed up with feedback on the course, and the school suddenly realised how much better her behaviour was. She hadn't got in trouble since she started the course.
This is the reason The Beat Project has been put in place: to assist those children that need a distraction, or another form of learning to encourage and build confidence in a different way. I understood more and more how some schooling systems need to adapt to our modern minds and attitudes. We need different ways to let our teens 'play'.'
These teens obviously got a huge amount from working with Chloe, but she also took the opportunity to learn from them. Having discovered they lacked outdoor space, where they could ‘play’, and after getting an insight into their style, her decision to create a collection inspired by them meant she was keen to ask for their feedback, something she found 'really helpful and inspiring!’
Chloe's commitment to her work having a positive social impact doesn't only benefit people here in the UK. The straw used for the hats is prepared and woven in Panama under Fairtrade practices, which helps support their local community and ensures producers get a living wage. Chloe then hand-colours the straw with non toxic paints and dyes in her own garden and workshop in the UK, where she then makes the hats one by one.
The upcycled skateboard is not the only ‘waste’ product that Chloe works with – the Newlife ™ silk satin is made of recycled bottles and she even rescues materials from landfill:
‘The acrylic has been broken down (by me) from substandard visors that were about to be chucked into the tip! If you look closely you can see the hole marks where the acrylic had been sewn. I decided to keep this as I quite liked the industrial look about it.’
For the past three years Hatastic has been stocked in iconic luxury London department store Fenwick and this collaboration happily continued for SS14. Hatastic worked with the buying team at Fenwick and together they came up with a capsule collection of three hats in colourways that would sit perfectly alongside the SS14 clothing collections. The Culrz (below), Mobius (top image, her) and Rock n Roll (above) are stocked exclusively in Fenwick of Bond Street in the run up to Royal Ascot.
The main collection is available to order direct from Hatastic in any colourway shown or in bespoke colours if required. Chloe can match fabric and the colour of the studs to suit the order.
Hatastic's BOARD collection is surely proof - if proof were needed - that fashion most definitely can be used a a force for good.
Photography - Noel Shelley at Hungry Tiger Studios
Make up & Hair - Lauren Reynolds
Models - Anna Tatton and Alex Annand
Runner - Isla Cairns