High fashion draws inspiration from a children’s book

Guest Blog High fashion draws inspiration from a children’s book

Internationally-acclaimed, Calgary-based Fashion Designer Paul Hardy drew inspiration for his latest clothing collection from the children’s book We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen.

Designer Paul Hardy with Jon Klassen's "We Found a Hat"
Designer Paul Hardy with Jon Klassen’s “We Found a Hat”

The story tells of two tortoises who find one hat and eventually discover a way they can both can wear it.

“There is an ombré colour to this book’s pages. I had a fabric hand dyed to reflect it,” says Hardy. “There is also a small print on the hat band that I had made into a geometric brocade to mimic it. Some of the embellishments in the collection have a tortoise quality or they resemble the starry scenes in the book.”

Runway Shots by Roberto Kiss
Runway Shots by Roberto Kiss

Hardy’s been a fan and collector of children’s books since his first purchase for his then two-year-old nephew, more than 18-years ago.“I was so enamoured by the illustrations and how the simplicity of some of the storylines were so profound,” says Hardy. “So, I started buying them for myself around the same time. People who are close to me know my affinity for them, and often buy them for me as gifts.”


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Runway Shots by Roberto Kiss
Runway Shots by Roberto Kiss

We Found a Hat, was a gift from a colleague in Rwanda where Hardy initiated a nonprofit project 10 years ago. His project has partnered primarily with female genocide survivors in Rwanda. The objective is to recast a vision for the women’s lives in part by vocationally teaching them to sew in order to be self-sustaining. To date, more than 150 women have had their lives transformed.

“I think that my partner gave me We Found a Hat because of the shared vision we have towards a singular goal,” says Hardy.

Hardy’s new collection is aptly named Hat Trick. The process from inspiration to new collection, is lengthy. Fabric development starts almost a year in advance of the collection being released. Most recently showcased at a fashion event called parkluxe in Calgary, Hardy is now taking orders from the collection, after which it will travel as a pop-up shop.