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Designer Files: Hannah Melville

Hannah Melville, Wonderlust designer burst onto the fashion scene in 2004. Originally from B.C., she attended the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design. Hannah is also a resident designer at the Toronto Fashion Incubator.

How did you get into fashion?
I got into fashion because of my love of fabrics and clothes. I didn't plan on getting into fashion design, but everything just fell into place before I graduated high school. When I started school, I was into parties way too much, and didn't focus at all. I almost dropped out, but had some sense knocked into me, and from there I didn't look back!

When did you start sewing?
I started sewing when I was like 6 months old or something! My family didn't support my love of fabulous clothes, so I had to make my own wardrobe, or suffer by looking like a moron. I grew up in Gibsons, BC and the only clothing store there for kids at the time was Saans. My Mom taught me to sew, though, which was cool!

Why did you decide to attend school for fashion design?
I decided to attend school for fashion design because I wanted to know more about the fashion industry, and get the skills needed to work in it.

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What are you inspired by?
I am inspired by the past, and the future. My look is very retro futuristic. I am inspired by my travels around the world, and the people and environment. I sketch fantasy images that pop up in my head. I play with fabrics.

Do you have a design philosophy?
My design philosophy is to to create Womens' clothes that are fun, sexy and comfortable, combining global inspirations and themes into a collection that makes the wearer feel happy. Emphasis is placed on ethical production of the garments.

What's your favourite material(s) to work with?
My favorite fabrics to work with are silk charmeuse, viscose jersey, and cotton sateen.

Describe your collection/clothing?
I would describe my clothing as being fun, sexy, and very print driven. It's a trendy collection but with a strong voice of independence. I try to create garments that will stand the test of time, both in design and quality.

What are your favourite movie(s) in terms of costume design?
My fav movies as far as costume design are Breakfast at Tiffanys, How to Marry a Millionaire, Legally Blonde, Jem and the Hollograms, Pretty in Pink, Bladerunner, Barbarella, and Down with Love.

How many sewing machines do you have?
I have 2 sewing machines, but at my studio at the Toronto Fashion Incubator I have access to 10 different machines.

What's your definition of style?
My definition of style is being unique to who you are and taking risks to push your creative boundaries.

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Do you think of yourself as stylish?
I do think that I am stylish, but with my own sense of style. It's a little mix-matched!

Do you have a muse?
My style muses are my 3 sisters and my girlfriends. I do also look to celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, and Sienna Miller to see what they are wearing, as they help to create many trends that my customers wear.

How did you choose the name of your company?
I chose the name of my company because it's fun. It's a take on Wanderlust, that irrisistable desire to travel.

How important is the internet to your business? Do many customer's discover about Wonderlust through the web?
The internet is very important to my business. My website is the first thing that most buyers see, as I only wholesale my clothes (for now!). As well, it's how many customers discover my line. It's great for marketing.
I do on-line sales as well.

In 2 years Wonderlust can be found in stores across Canada, the U.S and Japan. Do you have plans for Europe in the near future?
I have plans to expand to Europe as well as Australia in the next few years! Watch out world, here we come!

What's the secret to your sucess?
My secret to my success is that I work hard and I also play hard. I push myself but I take time to enjoy all the magic that life has to offer. I'm inspired most when I'm travelling for fun. I also surround myself with fabulous people who inspire me, and help me to succeed. Fashion is a huge part of my life, but it's not my whole life. It's difficult in this business to balance work and the rest of your life. It's being able to find this harmony that I think will ensure a happy and successful career for me!

Wonderlust can be found at Paper-Doll and the following Toronto stores:
Frock - Available July 2006
97 Roncesvalles Avenue
Toronto, ON
(416) 516-1333

Fraiche
348 Queen Street West
Toronto
(416) 341-8606

Pho Pa
698 Queen Street West
Toronto
(416) 979-9444

photos: wonderlustclothing.ca


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