Erin Wallace is an Oakland-based designer and the founder of Hygge (with partner Lisa Fontaine). Hygge was built on the idea that an uncomplicated piece of clothing can be surprisingly modern and compulsively wearable. The company recently launched with only a single item – this denim kimono jacket. My friend, Caitlin, who introduced me to Hygge, describes it as a magical cloak that can transform any outfit!
Erin and Lisa have since completed a trilogy of versatile pieces including the jacket, dress, and double gauze top. All garments are ethically produced in a woman-owned sewing studio in Oakland, California.
I was thrilled to be able to sit down with Erin and chat about her new brand, the convergence of minimalism and style, and her dramatically minimal bedroom.
Q // Why did you decide to launch your company with only a single item, the denim kimono?
Erin: I wanted a very specific jacket and could not find what I wanted in a textile I liked, or a reasonable price range, so I originally just wanted to make one for myself. It’s been really cool to see how my design has had a broader appeal than I expected. I love seeing how other women wear it – It seems to be a versatile enough garment for most shapes, sizes, and styles.
Q // You have developed a clearly defined personal style. Any advice for moms who are in a fashion rut or having a hard time knowing how to elevate their style in a practical way?
Erin: People get very used to a specific silhouette, and sometimes trying a new silhouette is a leap of faith and takes getting used to. It’s good to question your assumptions about what you can and can’t wear, and experiment with proportion, layers, and unusual combinations. My practical advice would be let go of your old style and just move forward. Honestly, the best thing to do is not get stuck in the era where you felt most relevant. Step into your current body and situation and be open to that being different. Look around at other woman who seem put together and observe what they’re doing. Throw out the rules and try something new.
Q// What inspires you? Favorite people or brands to follow:
Erin: Design, art, and architecture inspire my style much more than fashion. Current inspirations include this creative director, this shop, and this blog.
Q // Any tips for maximizing a capsule wardrobe? How do you add variety and keep things fresh in your own wardrobe?
Erin: It’s a bit of a cliche, but shoes. I’ll find a great pair of shoes and they will dictate how I will dress for an entire season. I also change my bag almost every day to add variety. I keep everything in individual pouches so I can easily transition from bag to bag. I also like to play with layers and proportions. A top layer like an open shirt dress, kimono, or jacket completes an outfit and makes it look polished.
Q // Can you tell us about your very minimal bedroom? Why did you make the choice to go so minimal (Erin’s whitewashed bedroom contains only a bed and two small cubes that function as nightstands.)
My closet has always been in a different room, so my clothing was always separated from my bedroom. I wanted my bedroom to feel super calm and simple but didn’t want to do that through stuff. I like having almost nothing in my bedroom. I painted everything, including the floors, white, and my friend gave me a Tom Dixon light. The bedside tables are simple wood and acrylic cubes made by a friend. I use my phone as an alarm clock, but otherwise it’s a technology-free zone. I don’t think my laptop has ever been in my bedroom. I love it, and think my bedroom is an accurate depiction of where I’m at right now, but I know it will evolve along with me. I haven’t completely figured it out, and I’m pretty sure I never will, but I plan to enjoy it along the way.
Thank you, Erin! I love the idea that you can completely transform and update your wardrobe just by playing with proportion and layering unusual combinations. You can check out the full Hygge collection right here.