The designer told us about her unexpected new collab, her design process and what’s next for her brand.
Hayley Elsaesser’s designs scream "fun." Walk into her Queen West boutique on a cold winter day and you’ll instantly be transported to a much brighter, happier place. It’s not surprising that her cool, colourful aesthetic draws superstars like Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry to her clothing. So when Taco Bell reached out to the designer to create a one-of-a-kind Taco coat, saying yes was a no-brainer.
Miley Cyrus in a custom look by Hayley Elsaesser. (Getty Images)
“I’m always working with the purpose to produce a collection,” says Elsaesser. “So it was really fun for me to work on something that would be purely creative, something that I could just have fun with.”
The designer told us a little more about the unisex taco printed coat (which will be available for one lucky winner in a social media giveaway), and offered a sneak peek of what she’s working on right now.
ON THE #TACOAT
“There are a lot of people who are very passionate about Taco Bell. If you’re a super-fan taco lover, it’s the perfect coat for you. It’s a winter jacket, the fabric itself is meant to be waterproof. If you’re eating a taco and you spill, it’s waterproof. It has an open-ended zipper, it has insulated pockets, so you can keep your tacos and your drinks warm, or just keep your phone and your keys in it. So it was meant to be a dual-purpose coat—for a taco super-fan, and as an everyday streetwear coat.”
ON CHALLENGING HERSELF
“This was a fun breath of fresh air to work on. I love doing collaborations because it’s an extra challenge for me—to take something that I’ve never worked on and put my own spin on it. I can design prints in my sleep, so this was something outside of my everyday norm.”
ON HER DESIGN PROCESS
“First I start thinking about an idea that I want to work on, something that I’m intrigued by at that particular time. For example, for the last collection I had the concept of My Little Pony, so that was about looking back and nostalgia. I have one set idea that I start building around, and then from there I develop a bunch of prints, and it’s like a puzzle for me, figuring out how to put it all together. Prints can be kind of crazy, so you have to be able to make them cohesive.”
ON RUNWAY SHOWS VS PRESENTATIONS
“I’ve just done a presentation in New York, which is something I’ve never done before, and it’s really fun to create an atmosphere. It’s something that I wasn’t really able to do at Toronto Fashion Week in the past. I do love the runway, because I feel like it’s more exciting, it’s revealing one look at a time, so it’s a spectacle. And then for a presentation it's a little different—everything’s out there and you can have a closer look.”
ON TAKING A BREATHER
“Designing takes a lot out of me. It’s just working non-stop and it’s really emotionally intense. I put a lot of myself and my feelings into my prints. So after I do a collection, I just need to take a little bit of a breather. There’s still work to be done—I’m doing a tradeshow next week. I’m just taking a break from the designing part so I can be refreshed when I start my new collection.”
ON HER NEXT STEP
“Footwear is a dream of mine. I love shoes in a huge way, but I haven’t had that opportunity yet. I’m currently working with a makeup brand, which is really, really exciting for me. I like to keep busy and keep on challenging myself creatively, and I love exploring all the different fields of what I’m interested in.”