Haley is the designer, maker, fabric wizard and #girlboss behind one of our favorite brands, Only Child. Although her brand is less than a year old, it’s quickly becoming a Viscera favorite; Only Child’s pieces are on our ‘must-have’ list because they’re easy-to-wear, versatile, and will quickly become your go-to items. I took a field trip over to see Haley’s new studio in ActiveSpace, Berkeley. Upon entering her space you’re greeted by the lovely Penny, styling a mono grid print bandana, that’s effortlessly ‘Only Child’.
What’s the ‘only child story’? How did it get started?
I started making clothes because I had an idea for an outfit and I could never find what I wanted at the box stores. I also wanted more ethical options; there are a lot of good brands in the Bay area but still not that many choices. You really have to search for ways to make ethical choices. I started making my own clothes and building my sewing skills and after that, I figured if I had this problem other people would, too. So, I started building my brand and making clothes for other people.
Tell us a little about yourself,where are you from, what’s your professional background and what brought you to Oakland?
I’m from San Diego. I moved to the Bay in 2011 to get my masters in photography and worked in photography for a while. I don’t have a professional fashion background or education so I’m self-taught.
Digital or analog?
Serrah Russell, she’s a collage artist.
Best/worst part of starting your own brand?
The best thing is being my own boss because basically, I’m unemployable. I’ve had a lot of jobs, and if I don’t like the person I’m working for I have a really hard time. The worst is feeling guilty whenever I take time off.
What the most valuable lesson that you would pass on to others wanting to start their own brand?
I would say to start now even if you don’t know what you’re doing. I wish I started a style blog even before I started a brand. It’s so important to start building a following so you already have the support of people who like your work. It really helps build your confidence.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, multiple times a day (she has coffee in hand). I want to like tea, but it tastes like strange water.
If you could only pick one, what piece from your collection could you not live without?
I would say the mara tunic, it’s a good length because you can get away with wearing leggings. You can also dress it up or dress it down.
Ideal destination spot?
Thailand, I went there a couple of years ago. It’s crazy, and smelly, and really cool. It has everything. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
What are you most excited about next?
I’m excited for Fall. I worked with a new photographer and hair and makeup artist. I have some really good images. I feel like with every collection, I’m getting closer and closer to my vision and I can see my brand growing.
Save the Date!
We’re hosting a Fall launch party for Only Child on First Friday, September 2nd.
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