At our last event, we spotted a lady walking around with the most divine scarf with a delicate chain detail. In a bid to find out where she got it from, we were so pleasantly suprised to find out she was the designer.
Hayley Menzies is the founder and creative director behind Ottoline. A brand of luxe silk scarves, the latest accessory label to launch from London. We wanted to find out more about the brand and Hayley.
1. How did you get interested in fashion and why is it important to you?
When I was 4 pixi boots were quite the thing every girl HAD to have. I wasn’t allowed a pair so determined as ever, I made a pile of 30 pairs out of paper with pink crepe paper bows. My parents admired my tenacity so bought me a cool pair from Clarks! I have always loved fashion and would sketch beautiful women in dresses from my imagination as soon as I could hold a pencil. I wish I still had some of my drawings.
2. Describe your personal style and its influences/inspiration?
Im a little bit of a chameleon when it comes to fashion. Fashion is a creative expression and I use it to express my mood. I favour vintage dresses with bold print for fun – especially during the summer when im feeling light hearted, and a chic rock style consisting of my uniform black skinny jeans, Balenciaga gladiator sandals or Isabel Marant boots a white shirt, Ottoline scarf and leather jacket for day to day.
3. Why scarves?
Honestly, by chance! But what an incredible accessory – I am rarely without one nowadays. Each scarf is a piece of art, a creative journey and so much fun to design. Ottoline scarves are trimmed with a chain, so they are so much more than just a scarf – they are a piece of jewelry too!
4. How did you become aware of your inspiration Lady Ottoline Morrell?
Through a great friend of mine – vintage curator Clemmie Myers. Clemmie told me about Ottoline and I fell in love with her immediately. Her exuberance, passion for the arts, romance, independence and creative flair and slight awkwardness. She rocks!
5. Where do you get your creative inspiration from for designs?
Im inspired every second of the day. My mind is this incredible and untamed thing. It exhausts me and often surprises me – I find it hard to silence it! The design process is crazy – we start with an idea and by the end it’s unrecognizable as the initial idea. I look to the past for inspiration and then give it an Ottoline twist.
6. Talk us through a typical day in your life?
I love to work out or practice yoga in the morning around 8am – I find my day is way more productive when it starts this way. I then make a green smoothie from my Hemsley + Hemsley Art of Eating Well book – I call it my Bible…haha – before heading to the studio/store. Typically we will have a design meeting first thing in the morning and my print designers put to print what’s in my head. I often sit with my assistant Emily for hours working on prints and fit in the reams of admin around the creative. Lunch might be at Falafel King on Portobello Road opposite my store and I regularly have a mooch around the vintage stores after lunch for inspiration. No two days are really ever the same though which I like.
7. What is your motto?
Im not really a motto kind of person but at a push id say follow and believe in your heart and express yourself in the most pure way.
8. Any style tips to wearing a scarf in the Summer?
Try wearing your large silk scarf as a shawl – so fold it into a triangle and wear with the point of the triangle down your back. This makes a great alternative to a sweater or jacket. And go bright!
9. Where do you love to shop?
Portobello vintage market on a Friday morning. I love the anticipation and excitement of unearthing a piece that you’re unlikely to see anyone else wear. It’s a skill and testimony to having a good eye – I get an amazing buzz from finding pieces I’m later complimented on that cost me little.
10. Any tips for aspiring designers out there starting their own lable?
Keep it simple initially. Have a niche – a signature piece that is recognizable as yours and works commercially. Only then should you start on other lines. I am talking through experience!