(l) photo: sara sowell, (r) photo: marc harris miller, model: sofia urista
artist hannah hiaasen keeps clients fresh with her line of ventilated workwear. in this feature she shares insight on her label studio hh and observations about the fashion industry.
photo by hannah hiaasen
as an artist how did you first get interested in making clothes?
i started ventilated workwear as a scrappy solution to being very new and unemployed in new york city. i found out a week in advance that i was going to be let go from a designer retail job. that week i made my first gridsuit from a napkin sketch and wore it to work. people thought i was wearing the store brand and as soon as i corrected them, they would ask me to make them one. i earned more than four times my salary making gidsuits that week. i have a degree in fiber, but i had never made clothing— so, it was quite the surprise. it felt realllly good to establish myself as a solo entity by way of cutting up uniforms and subverting the norm. i spent the next year living in a gridsuit. i sold them by going to as many shows, performances, concerts, poetry readings, parties and openings as possible. i talked to people about it wherever i went (oh and instagram helped). in a way my life was ventilated.
photos by hannah hiaasen
what inspired the ventilated workwear collection?
ventilated workwear was inspired by creative freedom, independence, punk, queer visibility, and humor.
how do you think the fashion industry can improve?
oh my gosh, i’ve got buckets of qualms with the textile/clothing industry from top to bottom. the textile industry produces the second largest amount of waste in the world (next to oil). it wastes water, energy, and materials, a verrrrrry small percentage of clothing made is actually recycled. then there is the unpaid, or poorly paid labor that goes into the milling, sewing and production of clothing/textiles (sweatshops)! modern day slavery. and on the other side of production, retail workers are typically poorly paid, or treated --shout out to fair work initiative for fighting for better policies. it’s a terribly ugly industry, that needs to change!!
(l) photo & (r) top photo: hannah hiaasen, (r) bottom photo: eva wo, model: wo chan
any advice for fellow artist/designers?
i’m a bit of a youngster, so to my peers, i would say: stay hydrated, keep up the good work, and let’s collab!
TT the artist