Trained as a dancer, Hogan McLaughlin designed his first collection in Fall 2011. He became an overnight sensation in the fashion world when he began collaborating with Daphne Guinness for her exhibit at FIT and installation at Barneys New York.
You came onto the scene in a huge splash when you dressed Daphne Guinness for the opening of her exhibit at FIT. Overnight, you went from complete unknown to profiled by Style.com, the New York Times & WWD. What was that like?
Absolutely crazy! I couldn’t believe how fast everything happened. It’s a double-edged sword though, because now the pressure is always on to deliver- but it’s very welcome.
How did you meet Daphne? Can you describe your experience working with her?
We met through Twitter –one of wonders of social media! I had sent her a few of my sketches, and next thing I know, we are collaborating on Indrani’s “The Legend of Lady White Snake” film, which premiered a few months ago. Daphne is absolutely wonderful to work with- she has so much passion for everything she does, and she really does everything! She is truly an inspiring individual.
You’ve been compared to Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh — who are some other designers you admire?
I love Riccardo Tisci, Gaultier, Galliano, Mary Katrantzou for her amazing use of prints, Rick Owens, old-school Vivienne Westwood — the list goes on!
Tell us about your background before design.
I trained as a ballet dancer from a very young age, and received a contract to dance with the second company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at age 16. I made my way up through the ranks of the company, and was able to tour both nationally and internationally. In 2009, I left the company to move to New York and pursue a career in art, as I’d always been drawing and making large ink pieces while I was dancing. Fashion had always played a large role in my life and in my art, but my heart was in dance at that point in my life. It still very much is, but I’m so interested and excited about exploring every creative outlet I can.
Are you planning to show next season?
I’m a little late for Fall/Winter 2012 fashion week but I will be releasing my own Fall/Winter 2012 collection at the beginning of May. If we can, hopefully we can catch up with fashion week this September.
Where is Hogan McLaughlin available at retail? What stores do you dream about?
Currently, I’m only working with private clients and on custom pieces. At the moment, I’m not aspiring for huge high-end department stores, mainly because we just don’t have the manpower to produce things at that pace.
Can you tell us a bit about the construction of your famous shoes?
The “knife boots?” That was my first collaboration with Daphne and stylist GK Reid. I had done the initial sketch, and GK knew of this great company that makes weaponry for films. They sculpted the steel part of the shoe in perfect translation from my drawing. For my collections, I work with a man called David Ulan, who is on faculty at FIT.
What is your plan for rolling out your collection?
With the upcoming collection, I will be making a look book and release images online, possibly doing a trunk show at some point. I have a lot of people who have dedicated their time and efforts to helping my brand grow. Hopefully the rest of the fashion crowd will show the same interest.
Do you foresee there being a future for Hogan McLaughlin ready to wear?
Again, it comes down to manpower. I also feel that RTW can be a bit stifling, creatively. I would rather produce a small collection of lovingly crafted pieces than a 50-look collection, of which more than half of will be forgotten 10 minutes after viewing.
How would you make the price point work at retail?
My prices range anywhere from $1,000-$30,000 (for specialized custom pieces). Right now, we are just producing samples, so they retail for a bit more than they would in stores.