Clothing: Helene Hawthorne Fashions
Model: Cori Ayers
Hair: Andy Tseng
Makeup: Caitlin Fisher
Assistant: Chira Vathanaprida
Video: Kelly Bailey
Hawthorne is the name and fashion is her game, but it’s certainly not all there is to her. Naming her clothing line after her grandmother, she definitely shows us her sensitive side and familial value system. She also just has a great attitude when it comes to the whole creative process and dedication to her craft. As a self-taught designer, she’s able to provide her garments with that extra special touch which she might not have had if she was under the direction of technical design. Not to say that one shouldn’t go to design school and learn proper workroom techniques, but, as they say, school isn’t for everyone. Hawthorne definitely proved that and excelled in her creativity, sewing fabulous garments and costumes. Not bad for living out the ‘American Dream’. Let's learn about Kristine Hawthorne and Helene Hawthorne Fashions.
So, I understand Helene Hawthorne Fashions is named after your grandmother. Can you tell me how you decided to dedicate your designs to her?
Helene was my grandma’s name she is the first one I remember sewing with, she was a wonderful person and a great seamstress. It was her influence and old sewing machine that inspired my first project.
Okay. Tell me about your technique. I hear you’re generally self-taught as a designer…
I drape fabric onto a mannequin, then pin, and sew it into a piece. I like that the fashion I create that way is an original. Sometimes I do make my own patterns if I really love a certain piece, especially for my costumes, but I still always change something to make it unique.
Do you feel that since you are mainly self-trained, you have more creative freedom as an artist?
Yes and no. Yes that I'm only designing for a hobby and if I had gone to school for designing I would be doing this for a job. I imagine that to make it a profession there would be certain restraints on time, creativity, and money. No, that I imagine that it would have been easier to have someone show me all the tricks and avoid all the extra work I'm sure I created for myself along the way.
Where do you get your inspirations for your garments?
Everywhere…material is definitely an inspiration. A good piece of material can create all sorts of images in my head. Music is another big influence to me if it's the right music. If it's music I don't care for, it can kill my create mood quickly.
So, your specialty is separates. Can you tell me why separates are so essential to your line?
I love mixing and matching and layering, You can get so much more wear out of clothing if you can create something different with it every time you wear it.
Okay, as a veteran of fashion shows, what are some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to putting together a great show?
Do have fun and don't sweat the small stuff.
Any memorable runway moments?
No not really - sorry. It's all been fun and over with in what seems like a flash.
Very true. Okay, so let’s talk about Kristine the pastry chef. How do you go from pastry chef to clothing designer?
I’ve always been sewing and designing clothing, so it's a creative outlet for me. Pastries seem like they would be creative and fun, but it loses a lot when you are on the management side of the shop. Even when I still get to bake, putting a "creative touch" on 1500 petit fours can get old fast too.
What kind of market do you generally cater to?
My clothing has a wide range of appeal, but generally the customers are between teens and 30 years old. I do sell a lot of my Victorian costume creations though. I ship those to all age groups all over the world.
They are definitely gorgeous. Is the Victorian era a fascination of yours?
Yes, I love antiques and history from many different eras. The care and craftsmanship that people put into their work is truly inspirational.
What made you decide to design costumes in addition to ready-to-wear?
I love all the fuss and detail that I can put into a costume. Plus, I can never get enough Halloween!
I know what you mean. I look for any reason to dress up in costume. Halloween is my holiday! So, what other things do you have up your sleeves?
Right now I'm working on a book of my Victorian costumes and fashions shot by Ric From Bytestudio. We are about 80% done shooting it. The pictures are amazing and it is killing both of us that we can't share them with anyone yet. We will have the book available for purchase on-line through my etsy site and possibly at a few local stores.