A look at the stun­ning creations of Tip­per­ary-born He­len Hayes.

There are some de­sign­ers whose work is in­stantly recog­nis­able, and the stun­ning de­signs of Tip­per­ary-born He­len Hayes fit that def­i­ni­tion.

Hot Press - - Wild Life - To see more of He­len Hayes’ de­signs, visit her In­sta­gram at @he­len­hayescloth­ing. You can con­tact her at he­len­hayescloth­[email protected]

“There is a rep­e­ti­tion and flow that is sub­tle yet very tac­tile.”

He­len Hayes’ so­phis­ti­cated mod­ern de­signs are known for their ex­quis­ite tai­lor­ing, unique tex­tures and in­tri­cate sig­na­ture rib­bon fin­ish. Her love of de­sign and tex­tured tex­tiles started early.

“I think with­out re­al­is­ing it, fash­ion and the craft of it were al­ways there,” she says. “I was lucky enough to go to a na­tional school where knit­ting and sew­ing fea­tured promi­nently. We all had to knit our­selves jumpers in 5th class and while some hated it, I just loved it.”

Hayes’ love of de­sign ini­tially led her to study graphic de­sign in the Lim­er­ick School of Art & De­sign: “It was only when my daugh­ter started na­tional school I went back and be­gan study­ing fash­ion de­sign at the Grafton Academy.”

It was there that Hayes de­vel­oped her sig­na­ture aes­thetic, which com­bines clas­sic sil­hou­ettes with de­tailed em­bel­lish­ment, and of­ten fea­tures geo­met­ric pat­terns to give a crisp, mod­ern feel. Hayes’ use of rib­bon al­lows her to cre­ate stun­ning tex­ture and flow, as the rib­bon can be lay­ered or knot­ted to cre­ate pat­terns on the gar­ment, or al­lowed to flow to cre­ate shape and move­ment.

“I have a keen in­ter­est in cou­ture fin­ishes and tra­di­tional hand-crafted tech­niques,” she notes. “I strive to com­bine them to cre­ate gar­ments that are tai­lored, el­e­gant with a con­tem­po­rary edge, and which have a beau­ti­ful tac­tile qual­ity. I usu­ally start by look­ing at the tex­tures and de­tails, and how I might best ma­nip­u­late them to achieve the fin­ish I’m aim­ing for. With this col­lec­tion, I used a lot of rib­bon, fold­ing it and pleat­ing it to suit. The skirt shown uses over 70m of rib­bon. There are over 280 in­di­vid­ual strips in the cream dress, and each one is fin­ished by hand. I also like mak­ing the hats – they re­ally can be the em­bel­lish­ment to an out­fit.” Hayes’ beau­ti­ful de­signs and pol­ished fin­ish were no­ticed even as a stu­dent. While study­ing at the Grafton Academy of Fash­ion De­sign, she was a fi­nal­ist in many of the stu­dent fash­ion com­pe­ti­tions, and won the UCD Stu­dent Fash­ion De­signer of the Year in 2016.

Hayes finds in­spi­ra­tion in her tex­tiles but also in ar­chi­tec­ture, which ex­plains the care­fully con­sid­ered struc­ture and oc­ca­sional art deco touches in her work.

Her re­cent col­lec­tion was in­spired by an or­na­men­tal ar­chi­tec­tural fea­ture.

“I based it on a lat­tice win­dow that I had seen,” she ex­plains. “The way the light catches the in­di­vid­ual panes of glass and bounces off them. The rep­e­ti­tion and pat­tern of the small panes – the folded rib­bon is in­tended to re­flect that. In ad­di­tion, I looked at stone sculp­tures and the way they are hand-carved. I like the way that each of the marks are vis­i­ble. There is a rep­e­ti­tion and flow that is sub­tle yet very tac­tile. I re­ally wanted to cap­ture that feel­ing.”

While Hayes is be­com­ing a fierce favourite among Irish fash­ion­istas, she is aware of the chal­lenges fac­ing new fash­ion grad­u­ates.

“Af­ter grad­u­at­ing it can be dif­fi­cult to take that next step,” she says. “In­tern­ing is a good idea I think. I also joined the Irish Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers and I have found it in­valu­able. It is won­der­ful to feel that you have the sup­port and en­cour­age­ment that the coun­cil pro­vides.”

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