On Waverly, a small street in Little Italy (or, as some people call it, “Mile X”), I find Depaneur Le Pick Up. This café/ greasyspoon/depaneur is where I’m meeting Hayley Gibson, the designer behind Birds of North America to talk about her style, new collection and living in Montreal.
Hayley, talk to me about your personal style. How you would describe it?
These days I would call it practical, comfortable and military inspired. I used to dress in the style of what I design: much more feminine, whimsical and vintage inspired. I guess, because I’m constantly working with these designs, I need to separate myself from them, so I dress more simple and practical. I also sometimes feel more vulnerable when I wear my own designs.
So, do you ever wear things that you design?
On occasion, and when I do I have a whole closet full of options!
Which item in your closet do you cherish the most?
A beautiful coat that my grandmother gave to me. It’s a custom made maxi wool coat from France with a fox fur collar and cuffs.
What is your first fashion memory?
I wasn’t really exposed to fashion when I was younger. I didn’t really have a way of expressing myself until I discovered second-hand clothing. It was a magical moment when I saw all of these clothes that cost almost nothing that I could use to to create new pieces! Second-hand clothing was like raw materials, a canvas for a new creation… the possibilities were endless, which made it exciting!
What is your inspiration for your spring/summer collection?
My designs are always feminine, whimsical and vintage inspired, but I also am intrigued by darker subjects such as injury and mental illness. The darker elements in my collection show up usually in the styling and in the small details. In this collection I also wanted to capture the tenderness of the human spirit that lies under our skin and under our clothes, small thoughtful details that make the style sweet but don’t mask their purity.
Finally, what do you love most about living and working in Montréal?
The support for local designers and other locally made goods is truly amazing here!
Here are a few pictures from her spring/summer collection which we will be carrying at Boutique Onze!