Meet Lesley Hampton, a talented fashion designer and creative director based in Toronto, who established her label in 2016 after graduating with honours with Bachelor of arts from University of Toronto and Sheridan college. Although Lesley only launched her line last year, the young and ambitious designer has already showcased her collection at Fashion Art Toronto, Toronto Women’s Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week, and was also featured in Elle, Vogue, and Glamour.
We met at Stylist Box, an exclusive showroom for fashion stylists, fashion editors, and designers, founded by Christian Dare and Gail McInnes. The modern space was filled with the designer’s pieces from her current collection. Lesley welcomed me with a smile. She is naturally charming and her personality shined through her honesty and confidence.I was amazed by her determination to focus on important issues in society, such as body awareness and breaking the rules of what considered the ideal female body. We spoke about her collection, current fascinations, and goals for the future.
Liat Neuman: At what point in life did you decide that you wanted to express your creativity through design?
Lesley Hampton: I did a fashion designer internship the summer before I started university, and I studied art and history, which definitely help me to make my way to fashion design. During my study at the university I realized that I definitely see myself working in the fashion industry.
LN: How being a fashion designer has changed your life and is it helping you to enhance your point of view on things you believe in?
LH: It’s definitely helped me figure out how people feel in clothing and how you can make them feel more comfortable or stronger based on what you dress them in or what they choose to put on their body. It helps me to understand that anybody can look beautiful and you don’t have to strive to be in a specific size. It is more about how fashion works for you and makes you happy
LN: Which materials are you using for the collection and how is it different from your previous collection?
LH: The materials for FW 2017 collection are made from sequins, including sequinned mesh, embroidered lace, and Palmira sequins lace and poly finish like poly cotton. It’s different from the summer ’17 collection, I was focusing a lot on sequins and sparkle,with floral printed crepe and stretch sequinned mesh. The collection before, which was shown at FAT, was called City Warrior and I used mailer pleating.
LN: Where do you find your inspiration? Does everyday life inspire your work?
LH: The colours of the collection was inspired by the golden hours, which is when the sky turns a soft gold, the hour before sunset or after sunrise. The golden hour is also a term used in trauma cases, that is the most crucial period for treatment. Since the golden hour refers to a period of time that lasts for one hour, following tragedy or injury, I brought it into my runway people that experience the golden hour, like Adrianne Haslet, the dancer, who was one of the Boston bombing survivor.
LN: Who is your target audience?
LH: I like to say that my target market is any woman who feels comfortable in her own skin and wants to look strong and powerful when she is attending a red carpet event or an evening party. My target audience is mainly women between the age of 25 to 40, but of course I’m worn by women of all ages that feel comfortable in my design.
LN: What message do you want to convey through the creation of your design?
LH: The message I want to convey is to be comfortable with the body that you have and do it through clothing. Don’t feel like trends or body ideal should hold you back from wearing what you want.
LN: What motivates you?
LH: Every time I see someone wearing my clothing, it makes me happy and motivated. The energy and the excitement come when I see people wearing my designs. It helps me push myself forward and to continue designing.
LN: What are your goals for the future?
LH: My current goal is focusing on production and be able to reach a wider audience. Right now it is definitely expanding and moving into sales. Another goal is to be able to inspire more people to feel comfortable with their body and what they wear.