Conversation with Paul Hardy Design

What originally made you want to study fashion design?

My Mother says that I use to pull on her pant leg at 3 years old and say ‘I want to sew, I want to sew’, so I think it was innate.


What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?

I had the fortune of knowing since Grade 6 that this was what I wanted to do in life, so I have always sought to work in a field that is related to my industry, such as fabric store, window displays, costume design, personal shopping etc.


How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

As I have become more established, it has enabled me to have access to more resources, manufacturers and suppliers to refine the product, improving its fit and quality.


How is your work received internationally?

It is viewed as editorially wearable timeless clothes.


What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

I enjoy skimming through people’s feeds on instagram because it is a fascinating reflection of how people see the world and how they perceive themselves in the world. I find really inspiring images from it.


What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Don’t live at the mercy of your circumstances.


Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?

Unofficially I prefer to begin tasks on the top, quarter or half of the hour on a clock, although I have no concrete reason as to why.


Do you design your own clothes, or you have go to label?

I tend to buy most of my clothes when I travel or online. I don’t think I believe I have one specific brand I gravitate towards, but I do have a penchant for Lanvin Sneakers.


If you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?

The ability to heal broken hearts.


If you were to date super hero, who would you date and why?

Superman because of his dual persona, humble disposition, good hair and glasses…Plus you could save on airfare. Or a close second would be Wonder Woman because who wouldn’t want to be chauffeured in an invisible plane by someone toting a magic lasso:)


How did you come to start your own line?

I started my line in the kitchen of my basement bachelor suite apartment at the time. I pre-sold the collection to 9 women in Calgary from the sketches and fabric swatches, which afforded me the opportunity to build the line and show it in Toronto which Holt Renfrew in turn purchased my first season.


Where do you go for inspiration?

It varies from conversations, to listening to speakers, to reading a book or seeing a film. My next collection is being inspired by an artist I found on instagram.


In your opinion, which super villains needs fashion advice?

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.


Tell us about "Reversal of Fortune" project?

It is a project based in Kigali Rwanda that assists marginalized women re-establish themselves by caring for their holistic needs as well as vocationally training them to become self sustaining for their families. The project eventually intends to create a socially responsible eco friendly line of apparel that will generate revenue to provide educational scholarships for the women’s children.


I was intrigued by your use of chocolate as a material. Can you speak a little bit more about; how was it working the such material?

The chocolate dress I made for Bernard Callebaut’s 25th anniversary in business was a challenge, because the melting point of chocolate is a lower degree than body temperature. So the logistics of dealing with the material while maintaining the philosophical aspect of their brand (IE pure ingredients etc) became a compelling puzzle to resolve. Structurally I used organic cotton to create a barrier between the chocolate and the skin, but I dyed it in hot chocolate first. I also used the cocoa bean sacs as a base in which I melted down the chocolate to form a paint consistency and stencilled patterns onto the cloth.


Is there someone in the fashion industry who inspires you?

Alber Elbaz and Tom Ford.


How would you describe your brand?

Rough Luxe.


from all the celebrity client; who is the easiest to work with?

Sarah McLachlan.


How do you feel you have grown or changed as a designer since you entered the fashion industry in 2002? What have you learnt since you started out?

I have learned to beat to my own drum and not follow the conventional models of the industry; and that press does not pay the bills.


What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?

Examine why you want to be in this business, if it is for the glamour and fame, rethink your decision.


Anything we should be keeping our eyes open for in the future?

I’m designing a capsule collection wardrobe for a corporation’s employees, and developing a new leather jacket collection for Spring 2017