We interview Holly Hastings, the founder of British-made womenswear label love holly to find out why her clothing is so effortless and easy to wear
What inspired you to create Love Holly?
Even as a young child I had an entrepreneurial streak. Then after meeting a fashion buyer for Selfridges when I was 11, I thought it sounded like the perfect job and set off on the path of becoming one too!
As well as studying Textiles at school I really enjoyed Business Studies, which led me to choose that subject to study at University. This was to further my knowledge if I ever wanted to start my own business. I followed that up with a post grad at the London College of Fashion, and then went straight into fashion buying for a large company. I loved the job but the idea of working for myself kept creeping into the back of my mind so after a lot of thinking and, having saved much of my income, I decided to give it a go.
Where does the inspiration come from for your designs?
I have always had a keen interest in fashion – I would experiment a lot with different outfits when I was younger as I think it’s a great outlet to express your personality and mood. I have now found a simple and adaptable style that suits me best rather than following every different fashion trend each season.
I love the British high street but I have always struggled to find pieces that I covet as my style is pretty simple – and slightly oversized – so when I do find my style in a shop, I buy them in different colours (I say colour but I mean white, black or grey!) I also struggled to find pieces that weren’t completely see-through…they look great on the hanger but quite different on the body.
All of the love holly styles on the site are things I would wear myself. I don’t personally like the ‘body-con’ style so the pieces are simple and adaptable to be dressed up or down. They have been created to give a slightly oversize fit that isn’t too short, with sleeves long enough to cover the bits we want to hide, and t-shirts to cover the bum – making it suitable for any size and age. The dainty jewellery is then perfect to stack and layer up over these pieces.
I’m always aware of the ‘trend’ of the moment but I personally have a strong sense of my own style and what suits me so I dress fairly similarly each season. I know lots of people who feel the same and I’m catering for those who want to change up looks with simple accessories. That’s why the collection is season-less and versatile.
Have you always been interested in Vintage clothes and how do you source your vintage pieces?
I chose to include a concise collection of exclusive limited-edition vintage pieces sourced from around the world and the UK. These are pieces that have been pre-loved and which I can’t currently manufacture for love holly. But I thought they would look great with my own-brand British pieces, and complete the perfect ‘simple style’ collection.
A lot of the vintage pieces are denim as I think that it’s a wardrobe staple and, as with every trend, different styles and fits come round in a circle but there will always be at least one denim style on trend. I chose to include vintage denim shorts which I hand-distressed and customised for a unique, individual look plus vintage boyfriends jeans and dungarees. These are all one-off pieces so you will never run the risk of wearing the same item as someone else. I think this is ideal with a popular trend like denim as you can truly create a one-of-a-kind outfit.
I also offer a personal denim distressing service if customers want to turn a current a pair of boyfriend jeans into shorts or distress their pair of perfect skinny jeans for a truly individual look.
I have included a small collection of up-cycled bags sourced from Cambodia, made out of locally-sourced vintage Chinese fabric and rice sacks by A.N.D – a fair-trade manufacturer supporting and employing workers with disabilities. I think these statement bags are perfect to accessorise with the simple love holly pieces and I wanted to support such a great company.
Why is having a ‘Made in Britain’ business so important to you?
I have travelled a lot from a young age, and love learning about different cultures and environments, so I have seen how international manufacturing can both help and hinder the developing world.
As a small start-up company I knew that I couldn’t properly audit suppliers abroad so I started researching manufacturing in Britain. I read a lot of stories explaining it is a small and challenging industry but how important it is for our economy. This was definitely something I wanted to support. I chose to manufacture in Britain where I can control fair wages, decent working conditions and positive environmental impacts.
I take pride in that every love holly piece has been hand-made in different towns and cities all over England. The website and all of the packaging have also been sourced and manufactured in Britain.
Having a ‘Made in Britain’ business is so important to me as I know that everything is made fairly, which I can control, and I am supporting other small businesses and giving back to communities, helping the British economy back to growth.
To find out more about love holly, visit www.loveholly.co.uk or sign up to her Facebook or Twitter pages.