Meet fashion designer student Hayleah Ralph. Hayleah is inspired by all things fantasy and mystical. Having always been surrounded by Art at a young age, her childhood days were filled with countless art and craft activities. She was encouraged to express herself and think outside the box and question normality.
Now as a designer Her imagination runs wild and free. She strongly encourages the expression of ones self through fashion and to be the main character of your own fairy tail.
Hayleah is finalising her studies at Academy of Design (Bachelor in Design Arts Majoring in Fashion Design) Inspiring her to create her own fashion label right here in Melbourne called Delightful Darling.
Her creations are marvellously unique wholly inspired and based upon fairytale books. I was thrilled to collaborate with Hayleah and her collection, it is based on “The Folk of the Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton.
Many designers have dreamt of being a designer since when they were little, but for me it was right at the end of year twelve.
When I was choosing what university courses to apply for. I have always enjoyed being creative and dressing up but it wasn’t until then that I really considered a career in fashion.
Tell us about your brand delightful darling
“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale.” Delightful Darling aims to embody and share the essence of this statement with the world. Specialising in feminine aesthetic and child like details. The label is all about expressing yourself and having a play with your own look. The collection is exceptionally versatile; incorporating many reversible pieces. This creating ultimate wear ability and allowing the customer to tailor the collection to their own personal style.
You’re currently a student at academy of design in your final year of fashion design , tell us more about your current experience with the academy of design and what you have achieved since attending.
Through out my time at the Academy I’ve been encouraged to really push myself as a creative,br I feel this has shaped me into the designer I am today. Last year I was lucky enough to be selected for a scholarship with a group of nine other students. I traveled to Paris and London on a two week study. This experience was a huge eye opener for me because i had experienced so much culture and exciting opportunities with the scholarship. This year I also asked to participate in “ A Capital Collection “ runway show as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program. I was asked to create two looks based on the 60’s. This was a great event as it allowed me to network with other creative people.
How did you go about sourcing your material for this collection?
A lot of research!! I used utilised websites such as aliexpress and alibaba to help me out.
What inspires you with your brand?
I tend to find my inspiration for Delightful Darling through children’s story books. The launch collection is based on “The Folk of the Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton. The clothes incorporate many hidden details and features like The Enchanted Forrest itself. I aim to carry the story book theme through out all future collections and base every new collection on a different story book.
Who is your target market?
The target customer is a woman who showcases the same fairy tail style and attitudes that the Delightful Darling holds. Puts great thought into how they visually present themselves and uses their style to express themselves in a way of empowerment. The environment in which the label is aimed at are occasions such as tea and garden parties but also whenever the customer wants to feel “classy and fabulous.”
This collection you created something very different with your garments! Tell us.
The collection incorporates some detachable accessories such as cuffs and collars. This adding to the wear ability of the collection and also a feminine touch to any outfit . These accessories also carry their own surprise whimsical feature, they are scented with Jasmine. When these accessories are purchased they also come with a small bottle of scented detergent for them to be hand washed with to reinforce the scent.
What gives you inspiration?
As a designer I gain my inspiration from many places. I really like femininity and anything bright and colourful. I love Spring afternoons and fairytales. I remember standing in Lincraft once and getting overly excited about this beautiful rainbow chiffon material that I found. It had immediately reminded me of a butterfly that I had seen, i knew at that moment i had to have it and create something out of it. I ended up buying the whole ten meters that was left of it!
Have you completed any internship?
Last year I interned for nine weeks at Megan Park. It was a great insight into the industry and networking opportunity.
What are your goals would you like to be an independent brand or work for a brand?
My goal is to develop my label Delightful Darling over the next few years while working for an established designer within the industry to build up my experience. Then ultimately I’d love to work full time on my own independent label.
What fashion designers do you look up to?
There are so many designers that I look up to. One in particular is Melbourne based designer Petrova Hammond, who is the head designer for “Lady Petrova”. I really admire her outlook on the fashion industry and her feminine aesthetic. I actually invited her to the “A Capital Collection” runway that I participated it at the beginning of the year. It was a great opportunity to have a chat to her and hear her advise. I have also invited her to my graduate show at the end of this year and am excited to have her view my collection.
What are your future plans do you wish to achieve?
I would love to have Petrova stock the Delightful Darling label in her boutique . This would be a great achievement for me as I feel the label it extremely suited to that environment. I would also like to travel some more and experience all that life has to offer.
Advice for anyone who is currently studying fashion?
Never let an opportunity pass you by!
Special thanks to Hayleah xxx
Photographer: Ebony Finck
Ebony J Finck Photography