CANADA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET
Victoria Hayes is without a doubt Canada’s best-kept secret. While she has already presented her collections at NYFW for two years now and is the 2019 recipient of the Fashion Group International Rising Star Award for Womenswear, she has still to be introduced to many. Indeed, Victoria Hayes is a pleasant discovery and with her many impressive credits, she is definitely a designer to look out for.
By Luisa Tarantino
Photographer Tereza Janáková
Hayes officially launched her label in 2016. Since then, she has garnered the attention of big celebrity names and has had the pleasure of dressing stars like Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, and even Madonna for high-profile events and red carpets. This year, the international spotlight was on Hayes as she presented her spring/summer 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week. Her runway debut was closed by none other than Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha, a fan of the brand.
As one of our favourite designers and a designer we believe deserves recognition, Dress to Kill had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria about her runway debut, her inspirations, and what’s next for the young designer.
Your path to fashion has been an interesting one. When did you make the decision to transfer from pre-med to fashion and what was the transition like? What challenges did you face? I made the decision to transfer from pursuing medicine into fashion in my final year of pre-med studies. I had taken a summer course at Parsons School of Design in New York City and I loved it so much that I decided to apply for a design BFA there instead of applying to law school, which was my original plan post pre-med. I knew I never wanted to be a doctor or work in a hospital. I was 20 years old when I moved to New York City to attend Parsons. There have been a ton of challenges related to choosing such a “high risk” career, but I am very fortunate to have been able to take these risks. I don’t regret my decisions. I think having an introductory background in a completely unrelated field has been an asset to me as a designer.
While you’ve worked with global superstars like Lady Gaga and Madonna, you’re still fairly new on the scene. How would you describe your brand to those who don’t know it? Our line is made for women who want to be seen and turn heads with their unapologetic fashion choices. We believe in the entertainment value of clothing and the entertainment value inherent in dressing and curating one’s personal style. The line is focused on luxury fabrications, embellishments, colourful prints, and striking silhouettes— with a lot ot suiting (my favourite garment category to design!).
You had your runway debut at this year’s New York Fashion Week, with Coco Rocha closing your show. What was that experience like? The experience was surreal. It’s something I have always dreamed of doing. Preparing for a runway show is like planning a wedding alongside finishing an entire collection. I’m proud of the collection we showcased and it was a huge learning experience to go through all the facets of preparing for a show – from venue selection to model casting, music choices, hair & makeup, nails, and styling. In my life, I’ll look back on the experience fondly but I know we worked incredibly hard and were in a state of panic for several weeks before the show in order to pull it off!