Absolutely London meets fashion designer Hayley Menzies to talk luxury, lockdown and opening a pop-up during a pandemic
By Abbie Schofield
Hayley Menzies is brave in more than one way. Not only is her eponymous brand known for going against-the grain, prioritising good quality designs over fashion fads, but its new King’s Road pop-up has opened during one of the most tumultuous economic periods in modern history. “We want our customers to have a place where they can connect with us and get a real insight into the brand’s spirit,” Hayley says.
Hayley Menzies’ maximalist prints, unusual colour combinations and signature jacquard knitwear has earned the label an it-girl following, with fans such as Gwen Stefani, Dolly Alderton and Fearne Cotton wearing its coveted designs.
The Leopard Cotton Dusters proved particularly popular during lockdown; online business boomed, which Hayley puts down to the label’s feel-good factor. “During lockdown, everyone wanted clothes that would cheer them up,” she says. “Our pieces are comfortable enough to wear around the house but you can also go out in them, whether it’s to a restaurant or the supermarket.” This online growth made Hayley more determined than ever to open a physical store. “The King’s Road is an iconic shopping destination for independent fashion, so it’s perfect for us.”
The pop-up itself is both welcoming and visually stunning, a jewel box of a space with a velvet chartreuse ottoman taking centre stage as vibrant racks of clothes line the room like candies on display. Hayley Menzies t-shirts act as works of art, framed above the counter in a rock-and-roll sort of way, while an eclectic display of vintage lamps, re-upholstered in Hayley Menzies fabric, adorn the window.
The designer has always prided herself on doing things differently. “I have never succumbed to the pressure for constant newness. The more you put out there, the quality and design integrity becomes diluted,” Hayley explains.
Being socially responsible is also hugely important to her. “To create happy clothes, you have to have a happy supply chain, from the person twisting the yarn to the person knitting the jumper. I hope the pandemic will slow things down and show how important it is to look after people and the planet.”
The Hayley Menzies pop-up is open until April.
40 Duke of York Square, SW3 4LY; hayleymenzies.com
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