Hannah Cawley

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In conversation with Hannah Cawley

To celebrate the launch of our Paloma Rose eyewear collaboration, we took a moment to chat to fashion designer and founder of London label Cawley Studio.

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Where were you born and where is home for now? 

I was born in Stoke on Trent in the Midlands. I moved to London eight years ago.

What are the three best words to describe Hannah Cawley?

Dedicated, practical and stubborn.

What brought you to the world of fashion design?

After high school I went to college, I wanted to become either a chef or a fashion designer, in the end I chose the design course. Whilst there, aged 16, I interned at Hand and Lock in London. That was the point I knew I wanted to work within fashion and live in London. 

What is fashion to you? 

Clothing that is accessible, considered and practical. Well made garments that have been created for a purpose.

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When did you first realise you were creative?

As a child I always had to be creating something. When I was about six, I asked for a potters wheel for my birthday and a year later a sewing machine. I used to make very bad handbags out of old jeans. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your design process? 

The start of the season is my favourite period, I find it the most calming. It’s a great time to reflect on the previous season and get excited about the next. I always start with fabrics. I look at what pieces from previous seasons to carry over and what new fabrics I can apply to them. I collect vintage garments, particularly from the victorian era. I like to take elements of these and incorporate details into designing new pieces. 

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Are you more intuitive or analytical when you are designing?

A bit of both!

What are you working on now?

I have just finished the production for AW19. Right now i am preparing SS20 for showing in New York and Paris this September. It will be my first showroom, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the collection will be received.

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Do you think about a theme for a collection before you start designing? 

I have tried to focus on themes for collections in the past but I feel it distracts me from just designing wearable, everyday clothes. The collections are made to be timeless, I don’t think a seasonal concept works for my brand or the way I design.

Where do you manufacture and source your fabrics from? 

Everything is manufactured in London. I buy fabrics from the UK, Portugal and Spain.

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In your opinion, is this a good time to work in fashion?

I think it’s a great time to work in fashion. People are becoming more aware of what they're purchasing, buying from brands that are sustainable and produce high quality products that will last.

What was the last place that really fascinated you?

I’ve been spending my free time away from London, going on walks and enjoying the peace and quiet away from the city. I think it’s easy to forget how beautiful the English countryside is.

Is travelling an important aspect of your creative process?

I try to travel as much as possible, though this is usually for work and not pleasure. Before going away the only thing I really research are restaurants. It’s the thing I look forward to the most when visiting a place. It’s how I like to experience a country’s traditions and culture. 

What’s next for Cawley Studio?

Right now I’m just focused on slowly growing and developing the brand. I’m really excited about starting AW20. I can't believe it will be the fourth season. I feel really proud of what has been achieved so far, it would not have been possible without the enormous support and encouragement from my parents.

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auor x cawley

Paloma Rose

Available now at auor.co

Photography | Ella Gradwell