ARTIST INTERVIEW: Hannah Vince of Skye Jay
Company: Skye Jay
Artist: Hannah Vince
Hannah Vince, design collaborator of EPCF creator Beatrice Valenzuela’s own line, joins the Fair for the first time this season, with her charming collection of vintage clothing for children.
Skye Jay is a Los Angeles-based company that sources and creates a carefully curated collection of vintage and re-imagined vintage clothing and accessories for children. Owner and designer Hannah Vince takes her inspiration from her bohemian childhood in rural England, a love of things made by hand, and from her rich knowledge of historical print.
The aim is an ever-changing collection, finding beauty in the details and perfection in the imperfections that add to narrative and history of piece. The repurposed vintage clothing comes by way of dead-stock, end of lines and delicate vintage fabrics as a sustainable and eco-friendly practice.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
As a child growing up in a remote part of the English countryside, surrounded by nature, I had an idyllic childhood experience. We lived in a caravan while my father worked to restore a crumbling Edwardian Tudor farmhouse. He had a vision and determined to realize his goal: he transformed a shell of a building, breathing new life into it and creating a home and lifestyle for us. Our whole family worked together to grow vegetables, raise sheep and chickens, among other animals, spin wool, repair slate roof tiles and many other tasks. What we didn’t have, we made or traded with friends and neighbors for.
My Mother was my greatest influence and a true artist, jeweler, designer and creative. She taught me how to sew and knit, embroider and paint at an early age. She made me clothing from her dresses and repurposed her pre-loved items transforming them into creations for my brother and I.
At the time, though we may not have appreciated the true beauty of this experience, it made us who we are. The skills I learned from my mother gave me the foundation that led me to study art and fashion design and move to New York to pursue a career in textile design at time when original print designs were all still made by hand using traditional practices.
In Los Angeles we are raising our family in a very different environment; however, we strive to live up to those ideals and stay true to the childhood experiences that we cherish. My own children are now a huge influence on me and seeing life through their eyes has brought back so many memories of my childhood. These roots have played such a huge part in my life and are the inspiration for me as a designer and the beginning of the story of my collection and of the start of Skye Jay.
What techniques do you use to produce your designs? What is the history behind those techniques, and does that inform how you use them?
I am inspired by the hours and days that may have been devoted to a single item of clothing–the precious details, the love and effort that was poured into these pieces. I love to collect and seek out these unique finds. I have a deep respect for a garment’s original creator and take great pride in giving their work a new life as a reworked item for children (as my mother did for my brother and I) or as inspiration for our original line. We also source vintage fabric and materials that were never used. We reimagine the pieces and fragments of cloth that remain into something in the context of this line.
The ethics of production are on our minds a lot recently – questions of sustainability, fair labor, location,
and artistic integrity. How do these concepts come into play in your craft and your business? What
choices do you make that take into account these ideas?
My aim is to re-use and repurpose wherever possible. This is an eco-friendly practice. I source vintage fabrics and materials and give them a chance to be new again. I rework and modify many of the pieces. The sewing and labor involved with this, I do myself.
I am also working on creating a new line inspired by this model for which I plan to work with local pattern makers and sewers. If we emphasize quality we extend the lifespan of a garment. Children change sizes quickly. Our hope is that our pieces will be handed down, reused and passed on to the next generation to be re-worn, modified or re-purposed, continuing the cycle.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Echo Park Craft Fair?
I feel incredibly lucky to have landed in Los Angeles, by chance, into a very creative and idyllic enclave in Echo Park. It feels so close to my roots and the ideals that I hold close. Whilst collaborating on a print with my dear friend and neighbor Beatrice Valenzuela for her collection, we watched our children play. We drew and studied the night blooming Cereus that was gifted to her by her late grandfather, in an artistic co-creation that resulted in Beatrice’s first print and the stunning fabric collection for her dresses. I am thankful to have been a part of this story for her line and this continuing collaboration.
The Echo Park Craft Fair, and the immense and beautiful community that surrounds it, feels to be a part of my life already as I have known and mingled with so many of these artists. I feel inspired by their artistic and creative energies and the wonderful creations that they bring to the Fair. I am grateful to be a part of this story. I feel fortunate and humble to have been welcomed into this wonderful community.
Website: skyejay.com (Coming soon!)