Q&A with Hijulez and Lo-Life: Vancouver’s embroidery mavens

A Hijulez tote bag; the latest obsession in the Loose Lips office

By Brittany Tiplady
@yellowbird888

With slow, upcycled, and locally-sourced fashion on the rise, it’s no wonder that hand-embroidered garments have become a sought-after fashion staple. I sat down with two crafty babes that have turned their hobbies into side hustles to learn more about their backgrounds, businesses, and what’s to come.

 

Hijulez

Julie Newton is a Vancouver native and 19-year-old textile designer and hand-embroiderer. You may have seen her work floating around Instagram, boasting beautiful embroidered images of nude women, florals, and faces. Her work is a celebration of the female body and experience: a refreshing sentiment from such a young, budding artist.

How did this brand and business, Hijulez come to be?

I have always been into embroidery and self-taught. Growing up I always had an arts and crafts room, and always had the freedom to try different mediums. I am inspired by French art history and Rococo- when everything was embroidered to death. So when I took a gap year after high school, I went to Paris to work in Chanel’s embroidery house and that’s where I really learned and honed my skills and was able to see all of the possibilities that came with embroidery. I started HiJulez [in] December 2016.

I know that you’re currently a student. How are you finding balancing school and business?

It’s been okay. I go to UBC, currently. I grew up near the campus and always saw myself going to UBC, but I’m still kind of looking for my niche in school. I’m actually moving to Florence, Italy; I am transferring to a textile school there starting in October! I was having a hard time really getting into my classes at UBC and I think I am meant to be making things. I am really excited!

What’s new for Hijulez?

I just launched my first site, and it feels incredible! The response has been awesome. This whole journey has really been amazing. Someone just got my drawing tattooed, which is so cool! It’s been refreshing to see people who are willing to pay a little extra for something that’s handmade and ethically made. I never thought I would start a business: I was just doing it as a hobby. My first project was with My Modern Closet, and from there Chloe connected me with different people and the work has been coming in since. I recently I did some merch Virtuous Pie, which was so fun.

Your work is so feminine and beautiful. Where does your inspiration come from for this theme?

Growing up and in high school I had a really hard time with body image, self-esteem, and eating issues and I would really love for those issues to not be so prominent [amongst young women]. I really want to create a community that focuses on self-love and is proud to be strong, individual women who are different in size and background. It’s something that should be celebrated.

You can learn more about Hijulez, her dog Fig, and her cat Fluffy, while shopping her new site and browsing her Instagram page

 

LO-LIFE

Lauren Kemp is a Junior Developer for John Fluevog and a part-time entrepreneur, hustling her hand-embroidered, and re-purposed vintage clothing. Lo-Life’s edgy designs are true to her: one-of-a-kind, grungy, classic rock, west coast inspired goods. While never perfect, all designs by Lo-Life are hand-crafted and hand stitched. In her words: “this clothing has character.”

When did you get started with Lo-Life?

About a year and a half ago I started exploring the different ways of customizing stuff. I originally wanted to take vintage and thrift items apart and put it back together. That’s what I did for a couple of my collections. I just did Vancouver Fashion Week and I did an up cycled collection. But the embroidery side of my business came as a really organic flow. I started embroidering funny little phrases on doilies, and then I realized: “Why am I not doing this on clothing? What’s my problem?”

Do you have a fashion background?

My background is in clothing design and clothing manufacturing. I’ve been doing that since my early 20’s and I don’t know why it took me so long to get there but it did. I put stuff eventually on Etsy and now I have more of a creative outlet that is more myself as opposed to making stuff for other people’s brands and visions.

Where and how did you come up with the name Lo-Life?

My name is Lauren. My friends here all call me LoLo. I started exploring with what could be a fun, cheeky, name that could also represent me. And one night on my boyfriend’s couch it just came to me: LoLife!

Is this a side hustle?

This is a total side hustle. Hopefully, one day, it will be a full-time thing. I have this pipe dream of one day living in an airstream and doing this full-time, travelling along the coast and going to festivals. For now, it’s a “see where this goes!” situation.

Let’s talk about your role at John Fluevog. What is your job all about?

They come up with the designs, and I help get it done. So I foresee any future problems. It’s also what I love in Lo-life: the problem solving. While I do enjoy the design aspect, the in-between nitty, gritty stuff is cool. I love to see something from the beginning to the end, and being involved in that problem solving, and thinking on your toes. Everyday is so interesting, and you’re always using your brain.

Where does the inspiration for your work and slogans come from?

Some of it comes from songs when I was a kid. I grew up in Winnipeg, and Neal Young is kind of…”the guy.” So, lot’s Neal Young inspiration. I actually really started with Tragically Hip stuff. My dad is a huge Hip fan. All of my stuff is all about music, and funny little phrases, or sayings me and my friends have.

Where else besides your etsy store can we shop Lo-Life items?

Hunter&Hare! Also, at Grubwear. They does custom screen print, but they likes to bring in some local, Vancouver-focused people as well. Surprisingly, 90 per cent of my Etsy orders are coastal U.S. areas. It’s insane to see the places that are gravitating to my store!

To shop and browse Lo-Life directly, head on over to her Etsy site, and Instagram page. Warning: it’s pretty hard not to love everything. 

 

 

Brittany Tiplady is a part-time poet, a full-time Nasty Woman, and the co-founder ofLoose Lips Magazine. She loves the indoors, fast wifi, collecting maps, and a generous glass of red wine. She is a self-proclaimed wizard of time management, and a notorious loud talker with a penchant for all things Internet.