When I attended the House of iKons London Fashion Week show in September 2016, I was blown away by the Haus of MoHawk pieces. They were stunning and really stole the show. Lynsey is the designer behind the brand and her talent is clear to see.
Haus of MoHawk has been featured worldwide and has graced the catwalks of London Fashion Week. It is no wonder that this talented designer is also a finalist in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards 2017. I am delighted to be featuring her today on Floralesque and learning more about her journey and inspiration behind the brand.
Have you always been interested in design?
From a young child I have always been interested in design; My mother’s favourite story is a time when our living room curtains were sacrificed to make Barbie a new Autumn Winter wardrobe. So yes from a very young age I enjoyed being creative.
When did you first realise that you wanted to design as a career?
I would have to credit this to my first-year art teacher. She had such passion for art that as a student I couldn’t help but emerge myself in all things design. She inspired me to pursue a career within the sector and essential her teaching was the foundation and the reason behind why I do what I do. Her passion for what she loved inspired me to transcend my passion and enthusiasm to do what I loved.
Can you please tell us a little about your fashion background and the lead up to founding the brand in 2013?
I have been involved in the fashion industry from 15 years of age through working in retail, modelling and beauty pageants. I am a previous Miss Tyrone 2011, Miss United Nations Ireland 2011 and Miss United Nations Europe 2011. I developed my own fashion brand after graduating from North West Regional College, Derry in 2012; where I graduated with distinction in both my Foundation degree in Art and Design and Higher National Diploma in Fashion and Textile Design; being awarded The Adria Award in 2010 for Best Fashion Design and The Desmond and Sons Award Cup for Best Textile Collection 2012.
After spending a few years of researching my chosen target market, developing the brand and analysing weather this could be a viable business I then formally established the brand in April 2016. Haus Of MoHawk is a ladies occasional wear brand which caters for red carpet events and special occasions. Recently we have started to explore ready to wear, menswear and accessories. The brand has dressed high profiled clients within Northern Ireland and throughout Europe and being involved in many high profile events and projects.
Like many others in this industry, the journey hasn’t been an easy path to trudge. At times it has been an uphill battle of determination, financial difficulties, self-doubt, perseverance against all odds because the dream is too much to give up. I have got to where I am today through the support of a great mother and father and love of a very understanding boyfriend and close group of friends who support the long hours of work day in and day out and have done so for numerous years.
It been a journey of education and in the end a leap of faith to just go out there and make things happen for the love of my art. I don’t believe in luck, I believe in creating destiny, that keeping focused on the end goal will be enough of a reckoning force to achieve my aspirations.
I have to ask – what is the story behind the brand name?
The name Haus Of MoHawk was established from a childhood name given to me by my father. “MoHawk” The Last of the Mohicans was a favourite film of our so it was derived from that. Haus in German Urban Slang means something supremely awesome. So I thought it was a nice combination.
Who are your favourite designers or those that you look up?
There are quite a few designers who I admire and look up to but three, in particular, would be Coco Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. These individuals revolutionise the industry and rewrote the rule book. They not only played a major role in the fashion industry but they had an effect on the world around us promoting change, rights and awareness. They work beyond the aesthetic of fashion and have caused people to think and re-evaluate life and circumstance through their work.
Your dresses that graced the Catwalk of London Fashion Week in 2016 were simply stunning. Where do you get your inspiration from?
As a person I am particularly inspired by music, I find the meaningful correlation between what I create and the voice that music gives it, taking my message to another level; this is just not about creating clothing or something pretty to wear this is an armour of choosing which people live and experience life in. I am inspired by the world around me, by the history of the past and the legacies that have been left behind, by the honesty of hardship and the beauty of victory and overcoming. But what will never fail to inspire me is the desire within myself to be someone’s reason for not giving up and pursuing their dreams against all odds and any obstacle they may face.
Signature by Haus Of MoHawk which featured at LFW September 2016 was inspired by a desire to portray my total self, to evoke my style as a person and establish a coherent look that defines the Haus Of MoHawk brand. I have looked at the great film actresses of the golden era of film; Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich and Rita Hayworth; an era of style that was everlasting, trends come and go, true style with be eternal.
Although it may be hard to choose, what has been your proudest moment to date?
I have been blessed with many proud moments in my career so far. I have showcased twice at London Fashion Week, the brand was resident in the four season hotel Beijing China for a month in conjunction with China Fashion Week, I have had the great pleasure of designing and creating bespoke pieces for international pageant queens, tv personalities, mayors, award-winning celebrity makeup artists and styled an up and coming music artist début music video.
I am truly honoured and humbled to be involved in high profile international and national shows, events and projects along with being nominated for a prestigious Irish Fashion Innovation Award and being a candidate for this years Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey Prize but for me my proudest moment is watching the development of the brand going from strength to strength.
With fashion seeming to move so fast, do you think that it puts additional pressures on emerging designers to try and release collection after collection?
There is a lot of pressure already on upcoming designers aside from the additional pressure of being innovative, creative and finding the one thing that set you apart to work towards releasing collection after collection. Financially it is an uphill battle for young designers with very little support to avail of.
Emerging designers have a luxury of exploring every aspect of design, being endlessly creative and expressing themselves without boundaries but where the issue lie is giving them the needed support to assist them to be able to design and release collection. Collections cost money which a lot of emerging designers have very little of after putting themselves through education and buying equipment and countless outgoings in trying to establish the brand. So yes they are facing a lot of pressure and there does need to be something more substantial implemented to help these emerging talents because of too many slips through the cracks because of a lack of support.
Would you have any advice to aspiring designers?
My advice to future fashion designers would be; be prepared to take hard knock and encounter setbacks it is part and parcel of this industry. A great friend of mine once told me “Lynsey when god takes away something small he is ready to give you something much greater” Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Take courage that no path is easy to walk but work hard and be determined regardless of whatever obstacle you have to overcome that everything offers a lesson and experience irrespective of the outcome. There will be long hours and sacrifices will have to be made but take heart in the knowledge that tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to try.
What does the future hold for Haus of Mohawk?
Haus Of MoHawk future is a work in progress; the luxury of the fashion industry is that you get out what you put in. I am a great believer that you can not outwork someone who refuses to be outworked. Essentially as I look forward Haus Of MoHawk’s client list for 2017 is ever growing.
I hope to continue developing the brand on a national and international scale whilst holding onto the strong roots within Northern Ireland that established the brand. I have a few exciting projects and shows in the next number of months and along with a few very busy months I hope to explore the possibility of manufacturing later this year. So the future is promising and I feel truly blessed to be able to wake each morning and do what I love.
I have a few exciting projects and shows in the next number of months and along with a few very busy months, I hope to explore the possibility of manufacturing later this year. So the future is promising and I feel truly blessed to be able to wake each morning and do what I love.
A massive thank you to Lynsey for the interview – I loved learning more about the Haus of MoHawk brand. Lynsey is certainly a designer whose pieces are literally show-stopping and I highly recommend that you check out her website to see more of her work and also shop! She is also on Twitter, Facebook and beautiful Instagram. And I for one am looking forward to seeing her pieces on the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards Catwalk!
If you enjoyed this interview in the ‘Floralesque Meets’ Series, then you can click here to read more exciting interviews with designers, creators, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs and more – enjoy meeting the makers!
All images kindly provided by Lynsey for use.