Fletcher, 25, a statuesque and stunning glamazon, is not only a winsome model, amazing pole dance/fitness instructor and all-aroung good egg but she's the head designer at the respected Vancouver clothing company Narcissist.
Founded in 1996, and purchased in 2008 by Tracey Copeman, Narcissist is a homegrown Canadian label that's known for their flattering/slimming cuts and versatility of their dresses. Proudly made and designed in Vancouver, their boutique is located in the up and coming Main Street area - 3659 Main (at 21st Avenue); they also have a newly launched online store. They also offer the collection wholesale which is carried at select boutiques across Canada, with one in the USA.
K: When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
H: I was always interested in fashion as long as I can remember – my aunt brought me back a fashion design kit from Japan when I was kid. I loved it. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I knew that fashion was what I would do.
How did you get to where you are now?
At 15, I started planning. I had my eye on Kwantlen’s Fashion Design and Technology program. I knew it was a competitive to get in to the program so I did everything I could to succeed. For example, at 16, for a career preparation program, I started working at a children’s costume shop as a design assistant. Then, in first year at Kwantlen I landed my first real industry job as a technical designer for a missy women’s wear line. I did my internship at Narcissist in 2003 but was still working for the missy women’s wear line so it wasn’t until I graduate in 2005 that I was hired at Narcissist. I started as production manager and by 2006 I was a designer. In 2008 I became head designer.
What are some of the hardships you have encountered on the way?
That’s a tough question. I wouldn’t describe any of it as hardship, but some of it was rather exhausting! There was lots of volunteer work, fashion shows, sleepless nights sewing, pattern drafting…etc. School was probably the toughest part to be honest. If I hadn’t been such a keener and if I hadn’t pulled so many all-nighters……(insert winky face here ;)
What is the best advice you ever received?
This is kind of funny – I wouldn’t call it advice – but the best thing a teacher told me was in second year. She said that I was a ‘predictable’ designer. I was not happy about this, but truthfully, at the time, I was. I was so focused on (only focused on) grades, that I was missing the point. It wasn’t until I started becoming rebellious that I started excelling. This was when I discovered design was my forte.
Do you have any advice for people with designing aspirations?
Work hard, stay with it and stay focused! It is hard to make a living doing what you love doing, so you really need to be a superstar to get there!
Where do you hope to take Narcissist?
The company has had some success over the years but it has remained small, with a very local focus. We've enjoyed an excellent reputation in Vancouver for over 10 years. Narcissist is a Canadian label, designed and made in Canada and so we're now focusing more on our National presence. We're incredibly well-known in Vancouver and we know women love our dresses. We do have a few loyal customers from all over Canada and the US , but the rest of North America hasn't had the chance to get to know what Narcissist is all about - and we'd love them to. I can’t wait for the day we are big enough that I can start designing my own fabrics!
What are some of your fashion pet peeves?
I LOVE this question (laughs). I don’t like cookie-cut, clone fashion. I don’t like: ‘I am not-in-to fashion-so-I-am-going-to-wear-my-sweatpants to work, to dinner’….what!? VANCOUVER stop this!!!
Personally, I would rather see someone try (even if they don’t get it) than not try. There are stylists out there that can help too! (Like my friend Giovanni: pinkandgrey.ca)
What do you do when you aren't designing?
Fitness and dance. I can be creative in both – but a total different type of creativity.
Who are your favourite models and why?
My friends! Matilda, Kenia, Laura, Jessica, Kylie, Leah…all of the models in our shoots are friends. Not only are they absolutely beautiful inside and out, but they are also real women!
Who are your favourite designers and why?
Tough one. I can’t say for sure – collections change from season to season, and sometimes I love a collection one season and not the next. Overall, I have to say I usually really like Erin Fetherston, Rebecca Taylor, and Stella McCartney.
What is your take on the Vancouver fashion scene? What do we need to do to become more internationally (or even nationally) renowned?
Tracey and I talk about this all the time. From a business perspective we all need to think bigger than Vancouver . From a public perspective, we need more appreciation for fashion. Being well dressed can enhance your marriage, your career, your confidence…there are so many benefits. We talk about the benefits of yoga or the benefits of eating well and it all makes sense. So why don’t we get fashion?
What trends for summer and fall are you most looking forward to?
I really like the peaches and the skintones even though they are harder colours for most of us to wear. But I have found by adjusting my makeup a touch (adding more peach and bronze) I can usually do it!
I am also so happy the trend continues for high-waisted pants and skirts. They are so much more flattering on most people (not everyone though).
If you had to buy one fantastic item for this year, what would it be?
(laughs)This is the hardest of all the questions…just one? I guess a great pair of shoes. But it would have to be a ‘fabulous, can’t-live-with-out’ pair.
What item has been your greatest investment?
Surprisingly, I have compliments daily on my Betsey Johnston handbag - which is totally over the top - but seems to work with EVERYTHING.
For more information on Hannah and her designs, please contact:
Narcissist Design Co.
t.604-568-1555 / f.604-568-1556
All photographs by Jesse Winter Heading (fantastic local photographer and good friend) - he also has a Flickr page (of which I just linked to a shot of my boyfriend :P)