Today we’d like to introduce you to Estyn Hackshaw.
Estyn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born to a liberal bohemian mixed couple in San Francisco in ’84 who fostered a high value on art, science, and music. My mother was a costume designer for the ACT (American Conservatory Theater) before I was born. She and I did many sewing projects throughout my childhood. We would go to the store and pick out patterns, fabrics, frilly trims, and make skirts, and costumes.
I remember doing a lot of beading and embroidery crafts. Going to the Renaissance Fair with my school meant staying up all night to make a fun costume for me to wear.
My sister and I loved to play with paper fashion dolls, and learned about history through fashion… Marie Antoinette, King Henry VIII and his 6 wives, Hollywood Glamour… etc
As a teen, we didn’t have money for new clothes (single teacher mother of 2), so we would shop second hand, and I would re-work things until I was proud to wear them. I started going to raves and just HAD to have some shinny blue stretchy pants. We made a pair and I remember telling my mom again and again to make them lower.. until she told me my butt crack was showing- then I said- “okay fine” .
One day I was rummaging through our garage and found a trunk full of exquisite Theater costumes. Long Velvet Robes with leg-o-mutton sleeves and that Kind of stuff. This was a defining moment.
I convinced my art teacher to let me adjust the study to a fashion study in my high school. I took Fashion Design and Figure Drawing classes at the Academy of Art University in SF over the summer. I took a Fashion Illustration course at the local Junior College my senior year of high school.
One day my sister came home and told me about a fashion design school called FIDM. I remember being shocked that there was an actual job and career possibility for people like me. I learned there was a competition for a scholarship- only the deadline was the next day. I spent about three hours on the project and mailed it off managing to take 2nd place. My mom sold. our. house. so I could go there.
In my second to last trimester one of my teachers approached me with a Job offer to work in pattern making for BCBG MAX AZRIA in Los Angeles.
I took it and started working 2 days after receiving my diploma. I quickly moved into design and spent the next 10 years working very hard and learning a lot from various companies … BCBG, Ella Moss, Bebe sport, Tommy Bahama, AG Jeans, Michael Stars, etc- until I met my current partner. We decided to become a family and he lived in Germany :-s
I left my position and we quickly established two residences to live in both places. With a sudden abundance of time and space free of distractions, we set up spaces for production, and I began realizing my ideas … which are now available for purchase on my website www.estynelanengl.com. More to come!
Has it been a smooth road?
Managing time and money effectively are the biggest struggles. As a mother there is simply never enough time. I could easily spend hours or days engrossed in my work forgetting everything else .. it is so important to keep a set schedule and a clear focused mindset.
Navigating marketing and PR without much capitol requires daily efforts..
The fashion industry is a challenge, but that is pretty much across the board even for the biggest labels. How we shop has just plain changed. Not unlike what happened with the Music industry when CD’s died and everything became an instant download.
People browse on their phones. their pinterest, their facebook, their instagram, etc. So many Independent Designers are going online and offering styles direct to online shoppers… allowing to cut out the middle step and have dialogues directly with our network. Recognizing this change and setting our individual direction was an obstacle..
Who, or what, deserves a lot of credit for where you are today?
The most important people in my career have really been my parents. They always believe in me no matter what.
Beyond that I have had many people who played significant roles for me. My teacher at FIDM who gave me my first job at BCBG – and then disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Alina Pizzano (now couture bridal designer based in Pasadena) who mentored me
Marie Mazelis (now director at Halston), for giving me a chance
Lubov Azria for being such an inspiration, and pushing us all to find our edge..
Pamella Protzel at Ella Moss for being the down to earth spirit that she is, and allowing me to fall in love with my work all over again.
Mark Wiesmayr for telling me about his big plans for me just a week before Sam Ku (AG Jeans) fired me.
Of course my entrepreneur fiancé Christian Engl for helping each start on my own brand and work through the logistics that esoteric creatives can sometimes struggle with.
What type of clients or projects do you look forward to most?
Ideal projects for me would be ones that influence and reach a wide audience. As a former dancer / performer, I would be elated to make an ensemble for a favorite celebrity or role model to wear on the red carpet, or in a performance on screen or on stage.
Clientele I am hoping to pick up would be small high end boutique stores that cater to the lifestyle and mindset of the women who identify with the image I am portraying.
What have been some of the most important lessons you’ve learned over the course of your career?
In my experience, all things considered I would change nothing. I don’t believe in mistakes, only conditioning and training to keep us on that path to our unique and individual destiny. In every failure (no matter how hard to accept) I have learned valuable lessons that have helped me through later challenges.
Hardest lesson: everyone sees the world through their own lenses.
Have correct thoughts.
Make time for meditation and mind clearing.
Baby step become strides.
Practice makes perfect, and perfection is a state of progress.
Regardless of how many activities I truly enjoy, there is nothing I enjoy more than to see others react to something I brought to life. Something that was once a mere bubble in my fantastical imagination. Staying true to that.
- My pieces range (retail) from about $200- $900. People who join my journey by staying tuned in with email updates receive special deals and bonuses when we offer them.
- Website: www.estynelanengl.com
- Phone: 310 628 0882
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @estynelanengl
- Facebook: @estynelanengl