#WeWantToKnow: Lesley Hampton
Fashion designer Lesley Hampton is already so accomplished for someone so early in her career. She was only one week into her Fashion Techniques and Design program at George Brown College when she started creating her first collection to show on the runway at Fashion Art Toronto, and only had a month and a half to pull it together! Which she did successfully, of course, and in the less than two years that have transpired since, she’s shown multiple seasonal collections at Vancouver Fashion Week and TW Toronto Women’s Fashion Week. Lesley specializes in eveningwear but has just launched her first athleisure collection called ROBUST. I had the chance to preview the new collection, try on some pieces from her sporty new line, and was treated to a group workout while wearing her comfortable and stylish pieces. Lesley and I chatted post-workout so I could get to know more about her and it’s a pleasure to introduce you to my namesake! (We even spell it the same way!)
Lesley became interested in fashion at the young age of 11, and the while the rest of us were probably watching cartoons, Lesley was spending her Saturday mornings watching Fashion Television, where she looked up to fashion moguls like Glen Baxter and Jeanne Beker. She also has fond memories of spending hours in her parents’ basement, playing with fabrics and making gowns. Lesley grew up to earn her undergraduate degree in Art (studio) and Art History, and she most enjoyed creating the wearable art pieces she made in her sculpture class. Her love of fashion prompted her to begin her masters in Fashion, but she quickly realized that she didn’t want to write essays about fashion — she wanted to create fashion, prompting her to pursue a more technical education, which is how she ended up in the aforementioned George Brown fashion program.
Now an established name in Canadian fashion design, Lesley has come full circle, and is proud that her fashion idols have become her peers. She has many accomplishments as a young designer, including receiving a Canadian Arts and Fashion Award nomination, and she was chosen to outfit the celebrity fashion show WF4H (Women’s Fashion 4 Hope) during the Spring/Summer 2018 season of TW Toronto Women’s Fashion Week. Never one to limit her ambition and creativity, Lesley ventured into athleisure because she wanted to try something different and experiment with other types of cuts, styles and fabrics than she was accustomed to. ROBUST was designed (as are all of Lesley’s collections) to represent all body shapes and sizes, something she noticed was especially lacking in athleisure. As a relatively new and fresh designer, Lesley didn’t want to trap herself into a design niche and figured this was the perfect time to branch out, but don’t expect athleisure to leave her repertoire — she loved making her ROBUST collection just as much as she loves making gowns, and she plans to continuing with both styles. Speaking of gowns, what can we expect from the eveningwear collection she will be presenting on the Fall/Winter 2018 runway at TW? Lesley hinted that her collection will shine a light on mental health, specifically mental health in the modeling industry, and she’ll be casting her show based on the mind of the model and not on the body. I love that her collection and runway show has a distinct and important message, and I look forward to seeing what Lesley has in store for us during Toronto Women’s Fashion Week (ticket info available on the TW website — Lesley will be presenting her runway collection on Tuesday, March 13th at 7pm).
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow about Lesley:
I can't start my morning without... saying good morning to my chocolate lab.
I have a weakness for... naps.
Most people don't know that I... have lived in New Caledonia, Australia, Indonesia, and England.
Currently reading... Khloe Kardashian's Strong Looks Better Naked.
An important lesson I learned from a challenge I faced... is to know when to say no and switch your life goals if you need to.
I want... progression.
Thanks Lesley, for participating in #WeWantToKnow! See you at Toronto Women's Fashion Week!
#WeWantToKnow is a series published on behalf of Wantfolio Group for Want.Canada and showcases and supports the leaders and talent in the Canadian creative arts community. Visit Want.Canada for all Canadian news, blogs, photo sharing & messaging.