Claire Yurika Davis is the young and determined talent behind her London-based label Hanger. Her biracial heritage and the intention to embrace latex in everyday wear have influenced the crisp vision that allowed her to win the Asos Fashion Discovery Prize in October last year. Watch out for her work on Asos, because the Hanger girls are cool and badass women – you either join them or make some room when they come through.
Tell us about your interest in Japanese girl gangs and the Spring Demon inspiration.
Naturally my design influence comes from Japanese culture, due to being half Nihonjin! I think what initially drew me to girl gangs was watching old 70’s sukeban films. I’m heavily into engines, violence, and the woman as a power figure, so there was really nothing not to like.
For the Spring Demon collection I actually continued the story of the girl gang which I created in my mind for our previous collection. As a continuation I imagined the girls setting out on a ride to battle a rival gang – donning their gang colours and best looks for the clash. The mood is severe and sexy, but the looks feel casual because the wearer has the power and nonchalance to make them appear so.
You won the Asos Fashion Discovery prize last year – How did that come about? And how was your personal experience?
It came about suddenly and unexpected! I actually nearly didn’t apply, because I historically never win anything, but obviously thank god I did! It has been a complete ride since winning, with a lot of highs, of course, but there also have been a lot of struggles in upscaling so much to fulfil being stocked on ASOS. I think with every experience like this it wouldn’t be real life if there wasn’t a level of struggle – this is London after all – but being able to enact so many of the things I’ve been dreaming about has been amazing. Being able to work with so many of the talented females that I know is pretty much the best reward, as well as throwing a dream party.
Latex can intimidate some people, as it is usually associated with BDSM and fetish-wear. How do you attempt to make latex more accessible – and why?
Latex is just a fabric! People still think of latex as purely fetish-wear and I think that’s just so old fashioned, you can essentially wear it in the same way that you wear leather, but people can’t get the dungeon out of their minds! I think just showing people that you can have clothes in styles that you would wear in a woven fabric, but just made out of latex proves to them that it is a wearable piece. And I want people to realise that latex is accessible because it’s actually a renewable fabric, looks sick, and doesn’t even skin a cow in the process.
How did you manage to work with latex while being allergic?
I wasn’t always allergic! I developed my allergy maybe just over a year ago? It’s actually a joke, but antihistamines are really my friend now.
What are the steps you take to ensure your brand is sustainable and eco-friendly?
Primarily we manufacture everything within London! I think it’s incredibly important to make sure that the people making your clothes have fair wages and are treated well, and by manufacturing here I can make sure of that. Of course it’s cheaper to make abroad, and there are plenty of ethical factories overseas, but being to eliminate the carbon footprint from shipping and retain a closer relationship to your manufacturer is more important for me.
Alongside that, as I previously mentioned our main fabric latex is a renewable, and we’ve previously managed to source organic/eco fabric for our small runs. Looking forward with our larger production we’re aiming to source as much of our fabric from as many sustainable/eco mills as possible! It’s actually fairly hard for small business to get access to information concerning sourcing well, but luckily ASOS have really helped me out there and they are taking major steps in the sustainable direction.