MC Debut Artist // Tessa Hughes
Effortless, comfy, and stylishly classic. Tessa Hughes goes back to the luxurious basics with her minimalist and chic line of apparel. Her pieces are “thoughtfully designed with REAL women’s bodies in mind” and flattering on all kinds of body types.
In a world of fast-fashion, Tessa’s timeless pieces are ethically made from sustainable fabrics and 10% of the sales go towards helping women caught in human trafficking escape and rehabilitate.
We love how Tessa Hughes’ collection brings together comfort, confidence, and simple beauty. Read more to hear about Tessa’s background, her thoughts on slow fashion, and about her process.
How has your background as a personal shopper and stylist influenced your work?
Oh my gosh, SO much of what I do now is because of my experience as a stylist. In the fitting rooms with women, I saw every insecurity and frustration my clients were having, and so often it wasn’t their fault: the clothes just weren’t made to fit “real” women. I definitely have a major obsession with fit now, and when I design, I strategically think of how the clothes will drape on all sorts of sizes and body types.
In what ways do think fashion can be empowering for women?
I definitely think there’s a practical side, like how we donate to charities that help women, but on the other end of things, clothes can be such a powerful tool to make a woman feel beautiful. Obviously I know we should be confident from the inside out but if you go shopping and you feel like clothes are designed for *only* size 0 models it makes you feel bad about yourself. I want women to have the opposite experience of that: I want them to put on my clothes and instantly feel more beautiful, but also more accepted, and more themselves.
We love that you support women who are stuck in human trafficking. Why is this such an important cause for you?
I don’t have any crazy personal story for you on that one, just that I felt it was important for all aspects of my brand to empower women, and not JUST the women who could afford my clothing, if that makes sense. I want every piece of the supply chain to touch a woman, somewhere, somehow. And I feel a strong sense of urgency to help women who really are stuck: many of these women don’t know how to get out and even if they get out they have a really hard time starting over so I want to support charities who are doing the nitty gritty work of helping women get rehabilitated into society by giving them skills and tools to overcome obstacles and start over.
What can you tell us about the importance of sustainable and slow fashion?
Oh man, those are big, complicated issues so I’ll try and keep it short…For me I think it boils down to the importance of being good to yourself, others, and the environment. Being good to yourself means taking the care and attention to curate a wardrobe that makes you feel good about yourself. Taking care of others means thinking about the people on the other end of that clothing item (see #whomademyclothes ) and of course thinking about the environmental impact of it all.
Not only is it good to look out for brands that are using environmentally friendly practices, but also, I intentionally try to design clothes that aren’t going to be out of style in a few months. That way I’ve hopefully reduced the amount of waste that my company contributes to landfills.
Tell us about the “hands-on” nature of your process.
Well, I guess you could say the hands-on part is that I do everything! I answer every customer service email personally, I reply to comments on Instagram myself, and while I don’t actually sew the pieces myself anymore (although I did at the start!) I have a face-to-face relationship with my manufacturer and fabric suppliers.
When I still lived in Vancouver I was able to cultivate these important relationships in person, which was nice because I can say without a shadow of a doubt that these companies are ethical and I can stand behind their products and services.
It almost seems like funny to me when people ask about the ethics of my manufacturer because you’re not wondering about the company ethics when you’re there petting the family dog and joking with the seamstresses. It’s almost beyond that, it’s a family business, the term “ethical” doesn’t even do it justice, and I love that I can have that hands-on access in the creative process.
Where can people find out more about you?
Follow me on Instagram! (@shoptessahughes) I try to keep it pretty personal and real, plus I share style tips and ideas for incorporating ethical fashion into your life without spending tons of $$$.
Thanks for chatting with us Tessa!
See her beautiful collection in person at MC!
Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre (197 1 St SW)
Friday: 4pm – 9pm
Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday: 10am – 6pm