I dive into things, sometimes very blindly, and figure it out as it's happening. I don't like to doubt my endeavors because it seems unproductive.
With a keen eye for vintage style, Hannah Metz is a fashion designer bringing the whimsy of the past into the future. From an early age, Hannah has made clothes. She got her start as a Barbie doll clothing designer, making custom Barbie frocks out of tube socks in her home in Ottawa, Canada. As she grew older and put her dolls away, her tastes changed and she developed an inclination for vintage clothing. So at age 12, when she couldn’t find what she wanted sifting through racks at the local vintage clothing shops, she got to work designing and producing her own vintage-inspired clothing. Whenever she desired something that didn’t exist, she just made it herself. Without any formal training in design or marketing, Hannah continued feeding her obsession for all things fashion and built a fan base from the ground up by sharing her designs and creativity on her LiveJournal blog.
As an adult, Hannah moved to Vancouver, Canada, to learn the art of cosmetology. She broadened her understanding of the industry, gaining insight into the fashion world from all angles. Eventually, she made her way to Los Angeles, where she picked up photography. Working both in front of and behind the camera to capture her designs, Hannah was in full control of the entire creative process.
Her next move was to New York City with her husband, but her ties to LA stayed strong. Hannah began to design vintage lingerie, something she had always been personally interested in, and started the company, The Loved One, with a collaborator and creative co-conspirator in Los Angeles. It was a huge success, from online sales, to their brick-and-mortar shop in LA. Her first company, funded through Kickstarter, was a labor of love with pop-up shops and a devoted fan base. But soon, the distance and demands of the business took a toll on Hannah, who wanted to focus more on design and longed to be close to her shop. When the business closed, her passion for vintage only grew stronger, leading Hannah to set her sights on creating her own brand and company.
It took about two years from the inception of H.K.M. to the actual launch. Hannah used what she learned from the past to push forward with passion, operate with grounded confidence and create her company of the future. She says, “I don’t like to doubt my endeavors. It seems unproductive.”
As a fashion designer, Hannah researches by consuming. Pulling inspiration from all around her, from books to movies to funny design details she finds from past eras, she creates a vintage-inspired modern silhouette in her designs. They remain accessible to the contemporary woman without losing the playfulness of the mid-twentieth century. For her most recent collection, she used the story of Tristan and Isolde as her muse. She focused on the image of an eye as a key element in her design, saying, “From that story, I picked tears because everyone's crying all the time, and eyes because they're being watched by everybody, and they're trying to keep their love hidden.”
As a creative entrepreneur, Hannah has learned much from her past. Being away from her store in LA taught her that she never wanted to be far from her shop. So, it felt right, this time around, to keep her store mostly online, allowing her to keep a tighter connection with her customers. She has always had an affinity for connecting directly with her audience, from the early Internet days of Friendster, MySpace and LiveJournal to the contemporary market on Instagram. Although she will have some products in a Soho shop called American Two Shot, Hannah sees the online connection as vital to the success of her company.
No matter how her creativity evolves, one thing is certain for Hannah Metz, she allows herself to be unabashedly inspired and uses that inspiration to motivate her forward momentum. As she moves her company into the future, she sees her women’s clothing brand evolving into an all-encompassing lifestyle brand, bringing more of her vintage aesthetic into everything from scented candles to beauty products.
Letting herself be relentlessly inspired by and dedicated to all things beautiful has given her huge satisfaction in her career. She says, “If you start putting an end goal on things, you’ll never be satisfied. That’s always going to shift. If you can find a way to be happy with where you are right now, and know that you’re lucky enough to do the thing that you want to do, man, that’s success. That’s as good as it gets.” This gratitude and resilience is what makes her a formidable artist and a creative thought leader of the future.
Stories & Surroundings
"This is my easel that [has] tripped so many visitors I've since stashed it under my desk. The flower was a gift from a friend that looked pretty [when it] dried."
"This is a collection of cards from pals, buttons that I love and illustrations of my forthcoming collection."
"This was a birthday gift from a friend of mine. The cactus is almost a year old and, despite it's small stature, does seem to be growing."
"The item on the left is a small tin of violet mints. They make my mouth taste like flowers instead of the ridiculous amount of coffee that I've likely consumed. The necklace on the right belongs to a friend of mine who I photographed in my studio. It has since been reunited with her."
"This is a painting that my husband and I made together. He left it behind for me when he moved out of this studio space (he also left me the studio space)!"
Written by Courtney Romano Photography by Agnes Thor