IT IS hard to believe when 29-year-old Hayley Scanlan answers the door to her Dundee home that this is the same girl who has partied with Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan in LA, and is on first-name terms with the many pop stars who wear her clothes such as the Little Mix girls, Marina and the Diamonds, and Jessie J. The mother of seven-month-old twins, Freddie and Oscar, seems more like a typical mum than an uber-cool media starlet with her own fashion label.
Tall and impossibly slim, Hayley is dressed in a black leather mini skirt, printed T-shirt and black Birkenstock sandals that are complemented by a deep tan and platinum blonde hair falling over her delicate features.
Hayley’s entry into the fashion world was the result of a trip to Los Angeles in 2007 when she took a year out of her textiles degree at Duncan and Jordanstone in Dundee to spend nine months assisting avant garde American fashion designer Jeremy Scott at his Hollywood studio.
Hayley had only been to America once on a family holiday to Florida and although her family were nervous about her going, she felt it was something she had to do.
“It was a massive opportunity for me, and I knew I had follow my gut instinct, which was to go there,” she says.
Within two months she was living on Sunset Boulevard, assisting the designer on shoots and working on prints. It was a memorable experience.
“One time I was working with Scout Willis, [the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore]. Bruce Willis came to pick her up one day and I was talking to him, and I couldn’t even talk. He was driving his car and he had on one of those ear things at the same time – it was like being in a Die Hard film. I could hardly believe it. It was so surreal.
“I made friends with a group who lived in Beverly Hills and we were always going to parties, meeting famous people at these kind of things. I loved how random things happened; it was like living inside a movie. I had the best time of my life there.”
Hayley says the trip was only possible because of the support of her family, especially her father, who runs a garage in Dundee. Her mother manages a charity shop in St Andrews, where Hayley constantly finds inspiration. However, the person who really started Hayley down a fashion route, was her grandmother, Ella Bonar. Bonar was a talented dressmaker who often looked after Hayley as a child. “I loved seeing my granny making clothes and I started to copy her. Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a fashion designer. Spending so much time with my granny, I have been able to knit and sew since I was five, and she always encouraged me to be creative and use my imagination.”
During her internship at Jeremy Scott, Hayley won the Donald Dewar arts award for encouraging young artists from Scotland and the £5,000 prize money enabled her to continue her work at the US studio. When she returned to Scotland she applied for another internship, at fashion magazine I-D and worked as assistant to the fashion editor. For the three months she worked on I-D she lived in a flat at the top of Brick Lane.
“I loved London, but being there on an unpaid internship as a 24-year-old was pretty tough. I didn’t have much money and London is not the place to be with not a lot of money,” she says.
All of the experience has stood her in great stead though and this year has been one of many changes for Hayley. First she won the title of Young Scottish Fashion Designer of the Year at the Scottish Fashion Awards. She also became mother to twins with partner John Thomson.
Their home is a two-bedroomed semi-detached house on a quiet cul-de-sac in the West End of Dundee. When they moved in at the start of this year, Hayley wanted to put her own stamp on it. Throughout the house she has added fashionable touches; a striking green carpet in the front room, and bright black, pink and white printed floral curtains add another shot of colour. Luckily the sofas are in child-friendly black leather, while the elegant pink candlesticks by the fire are by Matthew Williamson.
Upstairs, Hayley has had some fun with the boys’ bedroom. “I had the idea that it would be nice to create a kind of circus theme for the boys,” she says. The beds have a canopy above them, while a small circus tent is pitched on the floor. Colourful accessories fill white shelves while bright bunting pulls the whole theme together. “I managed to get everything in one fell swoop from Ikea,” Hayley says, “It is just such an easy place for kids’ stuff.”
Back downstairs Hayley currently uses the conservatory as a studio. Fabulous dresses are arranged around a silver rail, while pretty draped materials catch the eye. She is soon to move to her own studio in the Wasp, Meadowmill, and plans to tackle a kitchen renovation then. “We want to make the kitchen into the style of an old American diner,” she says.
A sign that those fast-living American days haven’t quite been forgotten perhaps.
• To keep up to date with Hayley and her designs: http://hayleyscanlan.blogspot.co.uk/
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