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National Designer Award finalist, Lois Hazel ...

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Lois Hazel was recently announced as one of the finalists in the prestigious VAMFF National Designer Award for her eponymous womenswear label. I think it fitting recognition and encouragement for Lois, who is about to release her gorgeous A/W 17 range ... and pounced upon the moment to 'take stock' with her via a mini interview. Because this month's Insta theme is SLOW, I asked Lois about both the evolution and future of her label, and whether or not she relates to the concept of 'slow fashion'. I can hear Lois smiling in her answers - thanks Lois!

Lois: I have never really thought about "slow fashion" to be honest, but the more I look into it, there are definitely similarities [to the way my label operates]. It’s actually a very timely question; right now, I’m looking at the brand and thinking, where do I want to take my business? What does the future look like? Do I want to be releasing four collections a year with several drops a season - or do I want to do two or three ranges a year, with limited runs, allowing pieces to sell out and ensuring that my customers cherish their pieces. As of now, I have only released two small collections a year and I do hope that, as I grow, I can make these bigger ... but I never want to over produce. I don’t want to oversaturate the market and create waste.

.. I'm definitely excited about being nominated as a finalist for the VAMF National Designer Award. It really is a huge compliment to be given the opportunity to present my range, my business and my brand in front of such an influential board, and amongst such an incredible array of designers. It gave me the opportunity to look at my business and think about the 'now' but also the future. I know this opportunity has opened up some doors ...

There has been a lot of ground work in getting to this point. I don’t know if 'slow' is how I would describe the process of building my brand... I don’t know if it’s been slow, fast or in between! It’s definitely been a roller coaster - so many ups and downs - sometimes it’s sped through corners and other times it’s taken time going up the hills.

I think about the future of the label a lot - probably too much sometimes. It can be quite scary thinking about all the investments you’ve made into your brand and wondering, will they pay off? Was that the right move? And so on. But then it’s also super rewarding and exciting when things happen like being a finalist in the VAMFF National Designer Award, or bumping into a customer wearing one of your pieces and hearing how much they love it. You get this boost to keep working towards seeing your brand grow. I do hope that one day Lois Hazel will be a recognized Australian brand, both here and internationally - a brand that helps create a more sustainable and ethical industry, that gets people thinking about where they get their clothes from and who made them. 

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PS. Milly Sleeping's remaining Lois Hazel S/S stock is now on sale.

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Images, from top to bottom, by Cassandra Tzortzoglou, Lois Hazel and Milly Sleeping

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