Hilary MacMillan is heading into the new season with a more relaxed vibe. BY CHRISTINA TOURLOUKIS
On designing with a clear mission in mind.
WHEN HILARY MACMILLAN founded her Canadian label six years ago, she had no idea that she would garner international attention with her feminism-inspired varsity jackets with slogans like “Equal Pay” and “Smash the Patriarchy.” The Toronto-based designer had originally studied political science and economics at university but decided to follow her fashion intuition when she fell in love with the design process. After debuting an extended-sizing collection at Toronto Fashion Week in 2019, MacMillan began to transition her line into plus sizing. It didn’t happen overnight, though. “I wanted to do it right,” she says. “I started with research and teaching myself about the technical side of plus-size patterns.” She also employed a radical strategy: asking women what they want in their clothing.
She adapted her spring/summer 2021 collection, which is going into production soon, to the pandemic climate by introducing more home-friendly elements. Though there’s still a focus on versatile suiting—think cruelty-free wrap-skirts and faux-leather trench jackets—MacMillan has taken cues from 2020. “There’s a definite pyjama influence,” she says. “It’s a more relaxed vibe.”
NEW ADDITIONS “We wanted to take the concept of loungewear and flip it on its head. These pieces can be worn comfortably at home but can also exist elsewhere in your wardrobe. Take the crossover top and flared pants, for example: Worn together, they create an elevated cozy look, but [you can also] wear the top with jeans or the pants with a blazer for a more polished take.”
GOING WITH THE FLOW “We’re creating things that are new to the customer, that will engage them [and steer them] back to our website. That’s where we want to go for growth rather than just doing rigid seasonality, which is what you’re seeing with the fashion community in general.”
INCLUSIVE VISION “For so long, fashion has been exclusionary. Plus-size consumers who are interested in fashion feel like they can’t find anything without grommets or glitter. There’s this negative perception that plus-size clothing is not necessarily ‘fashion’ or that plus-size people don’t care about fashion, which couldn’t be more untrue.” ®