Posted by Irene Ojo-Felix | May 17th, 2019

Industry, Now



Portrait by Ben Hassett for

#IndustryNow The cycles of social media impel us to embrace then move on from trends and discourses faster than ever before. The life span of a single work––an editorial, a campaign, a show, a stint––is shorter for it. Fashion’s only unconditional term is the future: operating a year ahead, after all. So, in an industry where change and relevancy are the full stops at the end of every sentence, wanted to highlight individuals who add permanence to the community–some at their start and some at their top. Photographer Ben Hassett gets up close and personal for with the creative forces often behind the scenes. They are the Industry, Now.

“Even if people reject it, my taste is my own.” Aptly phrased words from the designer who has deeply refused the current Instagrammable, spandex aesthetic. There is a slight note of rebellion to Queens-born Batsheva Hay’s namesake line that reimagines sustainability in the amalgamated structure of Victorian prairie dresses, two detached eras with complementary notions of conservatism. Taking vintage fabrics from eBay or quilting shops and reconstructing them into her comically unique designs, her current creative approach falls in line with her own personal story; her own mother would take her to flea markets and vintage shops, dressing her in vintage dresses that became her signature while on campus. Even her first constructed garments were closely aligned with her family – after leaving her job as a lawyer she experimented with designing four sets of dresses for herself and her daughter. Now that the tradition of recreation has been passed on, Hay continues to bridge the gaps in between the past, present, and another facet of feminine identity.

What has allowed you to stay true to a personal vision as the industry trials ways to adapt to modern challenges?

I only started making clothes because of a personal desire, so that helps me stay close to my vision. I am making clothing for myself, things that I cannot find when I go shopping. The only thing I want to wear now is vintage and my designs. I have no interest in making sweatshirts or jeans, there is enough of it already out there. I think it helps to make something that does not already exist so that you do not just fall into the industry trends. The only reason to make something nowadays is to make something different. I also think the only thing I have to offer is my unique point of view so I try to trust it as much as possible. Even if people reject it, my taste is my own.

Can commercial work be personal?

I think so. Once you put your work out there into the world, people can interpret it as they wish. I have had very mainstream people wearing some of my weirder dresses. I always make my clothing from a very personal place, but if someone wants to wear it to the VMAs, more power to them. I also think how women dress is so psychological, our eyes adjust to new ideas. In the eighties, shoulder pads and perms looked very mainstream; why can’t my victorian prairie dresses? We just need to get used to things before we embrace them; that is a very human instinct.

How has the heightened attention to self-image influenced your work and craft?

I am an unknown Upper West Side mother, so I just try to have fun with my self-image and make a joke of how irrelevant I am. I have fun with it, and it helps that my husband Alexei Hay takes such wonderful photographs of me. I do not do traditional selfies or take any of it too seriously. I approach my self-image the way I do my clothing — it should be fun, celebratory, and not too serious.

What’s your favorite part of the process?

My favorite thing is to look on eBay at vintage fabrics and to work those into new silhouettes. There are endless combinations, and I do not think I will ever have enough time to play around as much as I would like to with shapes and fabrics.

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One Comment to “Industry, Now: Batsheva”

  1. Batsheva.H grabs celebrity attention
    Nice to see you on
    Wish you rocking Modelling carrer from India
    I also read latest article : How have fashionistas ended up wearing a load of old curtains? – The Guardian
    Diaspora focused on Jewish modest fashion designer Batsheva Hay