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Exploring Hai At Whistles: In Conversation With Tessa Vermeulen On Autumn-Winter And The Creative Design Process Behind The Edit

Following the launch of Hai’s latest designs at Whistles, we took the chance to interview the brand’s visionary founder; Tessa Vermeulen. Diving into the creative process from the roots of inspiration to the careful selection of colours and fabrics, this is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with the intricacies of these designs.

Immersed in optimism and steeped in nostalgia, we are proud to reintroduce Hai, a brand that shares our connection for creating timeless styles that align with the essence of our capsule wardrobes.

Tessa, can you reintroduce yourself to our readers?

I’m the Founder & Creative Director of Hai.

Tell us about Hai and how it’s evolved since our last interview…

We’ve been keeping busy on all kinds of fun projects, events and pop-ups. Mainly we’ve been expanding our RTW collection and have even launched a made to order Bridal collection which feels like a natural progression for Hai. It’s allowing us to create pieces that we otherwise wouldn’t have for our RTW collection

What was the inspiration behind the new edit of Hai styles being offered at Whistles this season?

This season’s edit is a mix of some of our key collection pieces, such as the Floris shirt and the Anais dress which are super versatile everyday pieces. The Floris shirt has become the unofficial Hai uniform. These are the pieces that we want to wear over and over again and they transcend seasons.

The Sienna dress is an updated version of our satin silk Florence dress, the velvet silk gives the dress a very nice weight and feel to it.

Can you describe this edit in a few words?

Soft, classic and cosy.

Talk to us about the colour palette…

Together with the Whistles design team we sat down and had a colour ideas session. The colours came out beautifully and work so well together in the different fabrics and textures. There’s an exclusive violet colourway this season, offering refreshing takes on the Sienna Velvet Dress and the Puff Gina Bag and Dupion Scrunchie.

Silk is a key fabric for Hai, yet this edit delves into other textures. Can you tell us more about this and why you chose them?

We love experimenting with new fabrics and textures. This season we are using a lot of velvet silk fabrics, which adds a nice weight and touch to the pieces. Plus we’re bringing back some lace pieces for extra elegance.

The Hai accessories feel playful and eclectic this season. Tell us more about the inspiration behind these…

Accessories are such an integral part of an outfit. Our accessories designs tend to be more playful and colourful than our RTW pieces. I love pairing a little colourful silk bag with the most classic outfit to elevate it with ease.

Any styling tips for how to wear Hai scrunchies and handbags for Autumn Winter 23?

Accessories can make the most simple look feel more personal and playful. I love wearing something quite simple such as some old Levi’s and our Floris Shirt and then throwing on layers of pearls or one of our colourful Gina bags.

I myself have chopped off all my hair this summer, and am missing wearing our scrunchies in my hair. However that won’t stop me from wearing our scrunchies around my wrist.

What do you love about styling for party season? Does the way you dress change?

I love dressing up but I also hate being cold, so for me it’s all about layering, mixing in some textured or colourful tights, throwing a knit over one of our dresses, with some lace peeking under. I feel like any day is a good day to dress up and for me this is not limited to special events – practical but beautiful pieces are the one for me.

Favourite item in your wardrobe right now as we embrace autumn?

My Whistles leather blazer, it’s the perfect weather for it right now and it literally goes with everything.

And finally, your favourite pieces from this collection?

I love all the velvet silk pieces, I’m a creature of comfort and the way the fabric feels on your skin is just so luxurious. You can’t beat it.

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