Claire Goldsworthy’s fashion label, Harriette Hill is a creation that stems from her love of vintage fabrics. She doesn’t design seasonal collections, instead selecting fabric and letting the quality of the material speak to her which catalyses the creation of her beautiful handmade garments while minimizing waste. I spoke to her about her busy schedule, fashion career aspirations and love of op shopping!
The Genesis of Harriette Hill
Fashion is in Claire’s blood, her Great Grandmother owned a dress shop in Victoria in the 30’s and 40’s and left behind a treasure trove of vintage fabric, which Claire used to create her first pieces.
With a love of crafting, Claire’s Grandma taught her to sew. Her need to be creative inspired her to design garments which she sold at markets, and then after receiving positive feedback from her customers, moved her operation online.
Claire has difficulty describing Harriette Hill’s style mainly because so much of the design of each piece comes from the unique vintage fabrics she uses. She loves clothing that isn’t too fitted and finds that each of her garments can be accessible to women across a few different sizes. She rarely uses black in her clothing, instead favouring vibrant colours and patterns, giving her clothing a bright, summer feel.
An Eco Friendly Approach
Did you know it takes 8500L of water to grow enough cotton to make one pair of jeans? Learning about the huge amount of waste in the fashion industry through her university course (she studies a BFA Majoring in Fashion at QUT) further cemented the need to have a sustainable approach to her label. Claire even donates the off-cuts to another local sustainable business called Little Mother Creations (who make children’s clothing and accessories). By hand making all of her garments, Claire is able to weave sustainability into every part of the process.
Claire has enjoyed being involved with Undress Brisbane for the last 3 years (all of the images of Harriette Hill clothing in this article were taken at Undress Brisbane 2013). She loves the chance to show consumers that sustainable clothing isn’t just for eco-obsessed hippies but that any type of garment, from swimwear to evening dresses can be made sustainably and ethically.
One of the designers Claire admires is Jean Paul Gaultier, a designer who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of fashion and doesn’t necessarily always conform to trends. Claire admires this ethos and loves to try different styles / silhouettes and let the fabric inspire her!
Fashion Fridays at Capulet Bar
What is a fashion designer who is also studying fashion to do in her spare time? Organise fashion events of course! Approached by Leigh, part owner of Capulet Bar, to help create a platform for local designers, the two came up with the idea for an emerging designers competition. Four heats, each of which has a winner voted by the fashion conscious public. The competition culminates in a final where the best designers of Brisbane will stomp it out on the runway to see who will win amazing prizes such as funding to create a new season look-book!
Claire believes that Brisbane has plenty of fashion potential but there are not many platforms for emerging designers to showcase their wares, other than online. This is why events like Fashion Fridays and Undress Brisbane are so important as they give new talent great exposure.
Claire’s personal style is very influenced by her mood. Her favourite places to shop are op shops and antique stores, as exploring and rummaging to find hidden vintage gems is one of her favourite past-times. Flowing skirts and dresses always catch her eye, and labels like Easton Pearson (which she is wearing above) and Camilla fit her eclectic style.
The more I meet designers like Claire who are focusing on eco-friendly processes and trying to change perceptions about sustainability in the fashion industry, the more I am excited about the future of fashion! Sure the price point of clothing for Harriette Hill is higher than in your average department store but these garments are unique, sustainable and made with love.