Interview with Glasgow Based Sustainable Fashion Designer Hayley McSporran

minimal crossbody bag from Glasgow designer Hayley McSporran

I recently did some styling for Glasgow fashion designer Hayley McSporran and took the opportunity to get to know her and her work a little more. Hayley’s minimal sustainable clothing and accessories are handmade in Glasgow, Scotland. Her minimalist aesthetic is tied to a mindful approach of designing for longevity and I wanted to find out how she reached that point in her career. I sat down with her to talk all things fashion, minimalism and creativity…

Minimal Crossbody bag in Off white styled in a Nordic home
Hayley McSporran, Glasgow fashion designer studio shots

What’s your creative background and how did you find your way to fashion?  

I was only interested in Art at school and my mum was always painting when I was young so that really influenced me growing up. I’ve been drawing fashion designs since I was about eight years old and was obsessed with coming up with ‘inventions’ as a kid so it’s been a natural progression into fashion. After I left school at sixteen I studied Fashion design for six years including a Masters at GSA. I then moved to The Netherlands to do an internship and came back to Scotland to continue building up more experience at small design studios around the country. I set up my own brand in 2019 whilst being on the Fashion Foundry programme based in Glasgow which is a platform to help emerging designers. I’ve had to juggle several jobs at once to be able to make the brand a reality and finance everything independently but I’m starting to feel slow and steady growth with the label. It’s a nice feeling as it’s a slow burn starting everything from scratch!

What informs or inspires your aesthetic? 

Sculpture has always been a huge inspiration for me in terms of form and simplicity. I love abstract work that is minimal but has an interesting surface or detail. Living in the Netherlands for a while really informed my aesthetic, being surrounded by so many innovative people there was an aesthetic that I really related to of clean lines, no unnecessary details and functional but still beautiful. The design studio I worked in focused on wearable technology in fashion garments and sustainability was an integral part of the design process so working there really opened my mind. Minimalism is always the driving force as I never want to overcomplicate things, simplicity gives me peace of mind.

Minimal Aesthetics room shot with Hayley McSporran clothing and accessories

What materials are part of the process of creating do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the development stage the most as it’s when I can be most creative. I love draping structural shapes on the stand and experimenting with fabric to see what actually works on the body and how movement and light changes the piece. One of my goals for next year is to allow myself more space to develop ideas and work on more creative pieces for editorial!

What’s your favourite piece from your collection to date?  

My favourite piece has to be the Minimal Bag because it rarely leaves my body! It’s just a perfect essentials bag and is so comfy to wear. It was such an intuitive design that I initially made just for me but then I decided to release it as a product and it’s my bestseller.

I also adore The Boxy Jacket and the way I feel when I wear it. I feel like a bit of sculpture because of its silhouette! It’s super sleek and the fabric has a gorgeous sheen in the light.

Minimal White Crossbody Bag styled with a black outfit from Hayley McSporran collection

Who are your biggest design influences?   

Vintage Jil Sander! The collections, fabrics, cuts, details to editorials and retail spaces – I just admire everything she has done. And classic Celine, especially for the notion of women dressing for themselves, I love that and feel like it resonates with me personally and in my work. I would say I’m more inspired by art, interiors, architecture and street style generally as it gives me more of an overall mood to build ideas on. I love Aetelier Ae’s work and Brendahashtag’s style.

What would be your dream project?  

My dream project would be to collaborate with Ivania Carpio, founder of Aetelier Ae, on a clothing line. She seems like such an interesting person and I just love her vision. How she finds beauty in everything, even the simplest things, really inspires me.

Hayley McSporran, Glasgow fashion designer, clothing shot

What does a normal studio day look like?

My studio days are never the same! It depends what’s going on at the time but one thing that’s always consistent is that we sit down for lunch. It’s too easy to forget to eat and end up not looking after yourself so we make a point of it. If I’m busy with orders I will be glued to my sewing machine and managing production in the studio with my freelancers. If I have some down time (rare!) we work on developing new styles and building up stock. Other days are focused on product styling and making content for socials. It never stops really – there’s always something needing done!

Hayley McSporran at work sewing her clothes on her sewing machine

How do you begin creating a collection and how does that become the final piece? 

My process changes with every collection depending on what the starting point is. It can be a concept, moodboard, exhibition, a piece of art or a garment I like the shape of. It’s always changing! I’m always collecting imagery and ideas so that when I start something new I’ve thought about it a lot already. Usually I start with the fabric and build from there because it’s important to me to find solid suppliers first before developing products. Other times I will have a silhouette in my mind that I will create on the stand and develop the collection from there. I have to consider the commerciality of everything so that’s usually in my mind when I start designing. I start with making rough prototypes, draping on the stand and then move to pattern cutting more final shapes and fitting them on a person to see how the idea is translating and how it moves. Once finalised I make a ‘final sample’ which is sewn up in the actual fabric with all the details and finished to industry standard. It goes through quality control including wash and wear tests to ensure there is comfort, quality  and longevity in every piece!

Hayley McSporran is a fashion and accessories brand focused on creating a minimalist, modular wardrobe

Thanks for chatting with me, Hayley! Discover Hayley’s shop with minimal clothes and accessories.

If you would like to find out more about other artists I have interviewed, be sure to check out the tactile art work by Swedish artist Anette Hallbäck and ceramic artist Viv Lee.