We sat down for an in-depth interview with designer Lesley Hampton, to discuss the inspiration and process behind her jaw-dropping pieces that featured at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto in June.
Tell me about the collection you showed at IFWTO.
The Fall/Winter 2018 collection, entitled “Lithium”, is inspired by the courage it takes to speak up about mental health and the strength it takes to make the necessary changes to live a successful life with mental health. My collection ended with the models each wearing a bomber jacket with the text "We Are In Control." written on the back. This is a statement to support the concept of the collection, breaking the stigma around mental health, stating we are in control of our mental health and our view of it. These bomber jackets are on sale for $150 with a portion of the profits going to mental health services for Indigenous communities, at http://www.lesleyhampton.com/shop/weareincontrol
How did you get into fashion?
I have been sewing since I was 4 years old, and took after-school sewing classes in my pre-teens. I started professionally working in fashion in 2012 as a fashion design intern at a small fashion house in Toronto. I started my brand at the beginning of 2016 and have had my own studio space at the Toronto Fashion Incubator since the beginning of 2018.
What do you love most about fashion?
I love the direct relationship between what you wear and how you feel. The ability to put a smile on someone's face because of the garment I put them in is incredibly powerful.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the human mind and body, society, psychology, and travel.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as a designer as elegant and edgy.
What does it mean to you to be a part of IFWTO?
Being a part of IFWTO was incredibly inspiring as it allowed me to be a part of an incredible movement in the Canadian fashion industry, to allow for greater exposure of Indigenous talent. It was also a great opportunity to learn about and be inspired by others in my community.
Why are events like these important? These events are important because although fashion is often seen as a commodity, this event allowed designers to represent the concepts and themes behind their work, and to present the traditional craftsmanship of weaving or beading with the couture detailing of luxury fashion.
To shop Lesley Hampton, visit: www.LesleyHampton.com
Runway: Nadya Kwandibens - Red Works Photography
Cover and Front Page Photos: Lesley Hampton