Designer Profile: Hayley Spurdle, Raccoonguts

Startup Fashion Week (SFW) is the first of its kind, representing the newly developed intersection of fashion, business and technology. Conceived in 2014 by Founder and Executive Producer Jodi Goodfellow, SFW was created to bridge the gap between the growing fashion and tech industries in Canada. The focus is on helping to launch, accelerate and sustain these startup businesses.

SFW is also the world’s only multi-city fashion week, bringing the Canadian fashion industry together in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. SFW has helped to launch and profile amazing Canadian designers from cities across the nation, and this year, its been reimagined to offer a blend of dynamic digital events and a pandemic-compliant in-person engagements during its five-day run, from Oct. 19 to the 23.

Here on STYLE Canada, we’ll be showcasing three incredible designers participating in SFW leading up to its launch. Read on to discover Raccoonguts.

Photo: Racoonguts

SC: Tell us a bit about yourself. 

HS: I’m a lover of artsy horror movies, I’m haplessly devoted to blue hair, and I have two cats that I love dearly. As a designer I like to experiment with misfit pieces of clothing. Whether its painting, embroidery, studs and spikes, or any other embellishments to give clothing a new life as part of the Raccoonguts family!

SC: What inspires you?  

HS: I’m inspired by many things, but mostly the emotions I feel when I experience art, movies, music, or even museum exhibitions. I remember when I first saw the Christian Dior exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum and how moved I was to learn how he brought fashion back to the public eye after WWII. Making something beautiful as a result of the struggle of the last seven years. I see what beauty came from the horror of the last decade, and it motivates me to create art from my own struggles. Hopefully I can make something beautiful from pain.

Photo: Raccoonguts

SC: What’s one piece of advice you would give to a designer that’s just starting out? 

HS: My top piece of advice to any creator just starting out may be pretty blasé, but it’s that you just have to do it. If you have an idea that you’re not sure about, but it means something to you, make it. If you’re not sure if a show will accept you, apply. You can never be sure about what’s going to come, and the experience you’ll get from putting yourself out there or landing a gig is immeasurably valuable. When I applied to the runway I’m participating in now, it was as a joke, since I thought that I knew I’d never get in. I ended up showing a mini collection at their opening party, and now I’m on the runway!

SC: What unique obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?

HS: When it comes to obstacles, I would say the most significant one that I have had to overcome is mental illness. It is something I’ve had to fight with in order to become who I am today. It took over my life, and after enough time suffering from it, I had to make the choice to recover or die. I felt like I had nothing, but I chose to pour myself into my art, and since then I have been living my life to the fullest and creating art whenever I can.

Photo: Raccoonguts

SC: What role do you believe fashion plays during these uncertain times?

HS: Fashion may not play as much of a part in our day to day lives, but it has been playing a role in our ideal lives and what we want to get back to someday. For some people, it has given them an opportunity to dress exactly how they want. I saw photos of people wearing full plague doctor outfits, ball gowns, and more avant-garde looks that they might not have had the confidence to wear before. Many people feel incredibly uncertain in our current times, so fashion has become an outlet for them. It’s a new way to explore looks and ideas that they may have been uncomfortable with, but right now, who knows what’s next? Wear the costume to the grocery store!

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