text by Ryoko Kuwahara
photo edit by Lina Hitomi

「Hanger」Claire Davis Interview

NeoL Magazine JP | Text: Ryoko Kuwahara | Photo Edit: Lina Hitomi | Photo: Stephanie Sian-Smith | Model:Helen Selam Kleih, Isabel Alsina-Reynolds

NeoL Magazine JP | Text: Ryoko Kuwahara | Photo Edit: Lina Hitomi | Photo: Stephanie Sian-Smith | Model:Helen Selam Kleih, Isabel Alsina-Reynolds

——I saw your latest book. It’s really cool.
Claire「Thank you!」
——How do you know about bousouzoku?
Claire「I read an article a while ago. Then I did lords of research, and I watched this film “Sayonara Speed Tribes”, which is all about bousouzoku gangs and stuff. It’s super interesting. So yeah. Everything about them is interesting」
——Is it a Japanese film?
Claire「Yes.You should watch it. It’s really good」
——Is it a old movie?
Claire「Yes. It’s quite old. I’m not sure where it’s from but yeah. I watched that, and did some other research, and I got into “sukeban”. I got inspiration from that girl gang. That was like the main inspiration. I tried to mix like kinda manly aggressive style with a bit of girl sexiness at the same time」
——Your collection is always unique in terms of texture. Especially the latex. Do you still work for the latex factory?
Claire「Oh yeah. I still do. Two days a week, I work with this designer. She’s a latex designer. And a little bit more like fetish and sexy kinda style, but not too much. I work with her like all the time still. Thats’s basically how I learn how to use it well. She taught me」
——Latex is so popular in London, isn’t it?
Claire「More and more definitely within last like a few years. When I started using it, hardly anyone was using it. That was like three years ago. And now lords of people are using it. I think people see it and think “oh that’s interesting”」
——Do you usually wear it?
Claire「Not normally because I’m allergic to it. So I have to take a tablet if I want to I wear it (laughs). It’s annoying (laughs). It’s good in winter. It keeps you really warm. But in summer, it’s too sweaty」
——(Laugh)Could you introduce yourself to the readers?
Claire「I studied in London. I went to London Collage of Fashion for my foundation, and I went to university outside of London. And after that, I eventually started the label, and I mainly work with latex. Before starting my label, I’ve done some other work with other labels. I mainly do quite simple clothing. Normally as minimum as possible because I don’t naturally like frilly excess kinda things. So I try to keep everything designed very simple but bold cut and focused on fabric. Simple design but unique fabric. That makes good contrast. That’s what I mainly concentrate on」

——When did you start getting into fashion?
Claire「Since I was a child. I had a sawing machine since I was like really young, I don’t know.. maybe like when I was eight. So I’ve been sawing since then. My mum told me how to do it. And my granddad was a tailor. So it’s been always around me and I’d been interested in it. I’d always wanted to be a fashion designer since I was a child」
——Were you drawing some designs?
Claire「Yeah. When I was really young, I used to love drawing. I used to draw what I want to wear and make it. It was rubbish (laughs), but I guess that’s how you learn. You make mistakes and you’ll be able to make things better eventually」

NeoL Magazine JP | Text: Ryoko Kuwahara | Photo Edit: Lina Hitomi | Photo: Stephanie Sian-Smith | Model:Helen Selam Kleih, Isabel Alsina-Reynolds

NeoL Magazine JP | Text: Ryoko Kuwahara | Photo Edit: Lina Hitomi | Photo: Stephanie Sian-Smith | Model:Helen Selam Kleih, Isabel Alsina-Reynolds

——How do you find models or muse for your brand? For example for your latest collection?

——When and how did you start Hanger?
Claire「Okay. I started 2013. Basically, I couldn’t get a job and I always wanted to do a brand so I thought “I’ll just do it now”. Then I went on some courses, roughly learned how to run a business, and I bought a book “How to start a fashion label” (laughs). And I just kind of started. There is a foundation in England which helps young people who want to start their business so I was with them. And I just carried on ever since basically, getting like a little bit of founding. Slowly carried on (laughs)」
——Where did you get the idea of the name “Hanger” from?
Claire「Honestly, I think I just made up really long time ago when I was doing this old project in Uni. I didn’t want to use my own name because my name is boring. I kinda wanted something means nothing. It’s just like separated random name in a way. So it’s not connected to anything. I think it’s a good strong name」
——What is your inspiration besides Japanese culture?
Claire「It’s kinda hard to say. Because mostly, obviously my main inspiration is related to something Japanese. And also I think it’s naturally mixed with what I see in London. So maybe like how people put together outfits or people I see on the street or like a man working in a garage like who is wearing really cool work wear or something like that. So you just pick little bits you see it’s interesting. I don’t have certain inspiration especially in London. It’s quite random. Sometimes it could be something I see on the internet or film. Mostly my inspiration comes when I watch films because I think it’s very interesting and has stories. And also Instagram. It’s so visual. That’s a good tool for research and stuff. You can get inspiration and see what people wear and how they’re wearing it」
——What kind of movies do you like?
Claire「Like old films. The last one was by… what’s that guy’s name…He’s super famous. It’s like a really really old film. Yeah, 1958. Akira Kurosawa. Loads of his films. I was watching his films when I was a kid cause my dad was really interested in those films. Then “Princess Mononoke” as well. That’s my favourite one. My last summer collection was inspired by her」

——So you’ve watched a lot of Japanese movies. How about Japanese music?
Claire「I don’t know anything about Japanese music. To be honest, music wise, I only listen to English stuff. And sometimes American stuff. But I would like to know more about Japanese music for sure.I know some Japanese DJs. And I saw this guy. I saw KOHH actually like a couple months ago. And there’s another guy. Japanese grime DJ.. I forgot his name but he’s really cool」
——Who is your favourite musician?
Claire「I don’t really know. There are tons. It depends what mood I’m in I suppose. If I’m going out, then I’d put on maybe Rihanna. But when I’m into something more serious, well, there’s another good friend of mine. His name is Akito and he is a really good DJ. My friend does this radio station NTS, and loads of my friends have shows on there. They are all amazing. R&B, soul.. amazing shows. Basically when I listen to music, I usually listen to my friends’ shows. They all play amazing stuff so I just listen to them」
——Is music special to you?
Claire「I wouldn’t say really. Music to me is like.. because I’m really visual. So music doesn’t really impact me that way. I like music and it put me on a mood. But I don’t really look to artists to see what they’re doing so much. There’re some people I’m really interested. Do you know Princess Nokia? She’s really cool. She played recently but I couldn’t go. But she’s playing again soon so I might go. She’s American. She’s interesting because she’s a feminist and body confidence. And she’s also beautiful but like a tomboy. Please check her out」
*You’re half Japanese. How do you feel about that?
My mum is Japanese. I’ve never felt Japanese. I live in London and I only speak English. So it’s kind of like this alien thing. But I also feel connected to because I’ve read a lot about Japanese society I can connect with. But also I’m completely an alien at the same time. Especially when people speak the language. And I look like a Jamaican. So it’s quite a difficult one. But obviously I’m glad that I’m half Japanese. But Japan is really far. I went this year but before that, it was five years ago. Really long time. So yeah, it’s difficult. Even if I lived in Japan and learned Japanese, I would never feel I was Japanese because I’m not. Because I’m half Japanese. And I’m from London. So I feel very English.
——What do you think about Japanese girls and their fashion?
Claire「There are so many different types. I think it’s the coolest around the world. It’s so interesting. So unique. Even Harajuku girls are so funny and weird. I like the amount of effort goes into it. That is really cool. They really commit to the look and do it all the time. Even the way normal Japanese girls dress is cool. They’re into fashion. There’re so many types. It’s always cool」

——How do you find models or muse for your brand? For example for your latest collection?
Claire「Those two girls, my friend is a booker/agency, and she’s a booker for those two girls. So I just asked her “I’m doing a shoot. Can I have these two girls?” And she said yes. So It was pretty easy. And at the last shoot I did, she gave me girls from her agency, and my friend knew the other girl. So it’s circle of friends. It’s quite casual and easy. Sometimes they’re not like model model. Like a normal person. But it’s good. Sometimes it’s more interesting」
——What kind of people are buying your clothes mainly?
Claire「I think all of the costumers I have are only like early 20’s. early 20’s to late 20’s or early 30’s. My main audience is mostly 25-35. That’s the big chunk and the next chunk is like 18-24. But i think people like early 20’s buy more」
——How do they find you?
Claire「I think mostly Instagram. Or I did collaboration with my friend who has like a really big blog. So lots of people get to know about me through that. And I haven’t really been doing it a while but I’ll do some press stuff soon. So it’s mainly like digital such as website or Instagram. Mainly on the internet because I don’t really have things in physical stores. I just sell online now. Whole sale is like really difficult. You don’t really get amount of money but you get amount of stress instead (laughs). I’m just sick of the whole thing. But I might start putting my stuff at two or maybe just one store in London then people can see the clothes」
——How do you usually come up with lookbook ideas?
Claire「Hmm. It depends. Normally I discuss with the photographer, like about the location and the model, like “I like this girl, and she would be able to do this.”」
——So you and the photographer are the directors.
——Who is your favourite photographer in London?
Claire「That is really difficult because there’re literally so many. One of my friends Ronan Mckenzie. She’s amazing. She was tiny but now she’s like massive. She’s shooting loads of times. She’s like mega talented. She does a lot of films too. She’s really cool. She’s also a good person. So I like her a lot」
——Who is your favourite stylist or make-up artist?
Claire「Normally when I do a shoot, I ask my friend Portia. She’s a model as well. She’s a good friend of mine. It’s nice to work with people who we are friends because it’s gonna fun. And especially when they are talented, they do the work and we have fun the rest of the day (laughs). So I usually ask Portia to do all of my make-up. For styling, I have tons of friends who are really good stylists. Mainly for my lookbook, my friend Mischa Mafia helped me. She’s great. She does everything. She’s a DJ, stylist, and director. She does everything. Crazy. (laughs). She’s really nice and helpful. And energetic. She also runs a party called PDA. She and a few other people like Larry B, they all do the show together. It’s like a big party」
——What is the London fashion scene like?
Claire「I think it’s one of the best. It’s definitely more interesting than Paris because Paris is really boring. New York is pretty good. Even the fashion week has got way better from three or four years ago. Because more definers put their stuff on runway and it’s more interesting now. They’re showing really interesting things. That’s pretty cool as well. And London is very exciting. It’s actually small but a lot of people come here to study fashion. Here or New York. I think that’s why you get so much talent here. So the fashion scene becomes naturally very interesting」
——If there was an opportunity for collaboration, who would you like to collaborate with?
Claire「I don’t have anyone in mind at this moment. I’d really like to collaborate with sunglasses brand. I think I should be thinking about it soon to make really cool and modern sunglasses. Do you know The Matrix? Probably some sunglasses like that with different tints. And like cool, slim, minimum. Something like that. It would be cool」
——For example which brand?
Claire「I don’t really know because I have been looking but I haven’t found the right brand. I’ll keep looking. I haven’t found anyone yet. Apart from that, it would be nice to something with jewelry. Because I love jewelry obviously. There’s a really cool brand called Moxham. They’re really cool. They do quite like bold things」
——What does fashion mean to you?
Claire「Fashion to me means to feel alive. Obviously there’s a practical sense. You need to be able to wear your clothes do you things. And also you want to feel good in clothes. Or you wanna feel comfortable. Maybe you feel that when the fabric is nice or something like that. Or you can feel really relaxed. Some people say fashion is like an art but I wouldn’t say that. I think fashion should be feed the feeling when you’re wearing it. You want to feel amazing, super hot, or relaxed and calm. Fashion should give you one of those feelings. And fashion it good cause if you look at someone, you can instantly tell what kind of things they’re into, or maybe if you’ve got anything in common. Or you can tell you guys nothing in common (laughs). It’s good for that」
——What do you think about youth culture today?
Claire「Youth culture at this moment is kinda weird. Because since the whole internet, Tumblr, Instagram, there’s no sense of self culture anymore. Because nothing’s allowed enough time to develop. Because everything is so instantly accessible. That kind of thing is ruined. Everything is really instant. Maybe it’s not a bad thing for some people. But it does mean youth culture now is completely different to even five years ago or 10 years ago. Everyone can google something and like “Oh, that’s what I want to be” and read all about it and just be that. They don’t have to work for it or actually explore it to be actually a part of the culture. It’s lack of integrity. It’s rubbish」

——What do you think you’ll be doing in five years?
Claire「Maybe still running this brand (laughs). If everything keeps going well, I can still carry on. If not, I’ll probably live in a jungle. I kinda want to move to a jungle and make a commune where we live self-sufficiently. Like Growing vegetables. So either doing my own business or living in a jungle.Maybe like South Africa. You know, London is really hard and really stressful. And also I need warmth. I need be in the sun. I need to be here for my business but I don’t have to do it forever. And if I change my mind, I’d like to change my life completely. No internet and TV. Just like living. Living by a river. Stuff like that. No business and no money」
——Is there any news you can share with us?
Claire「At the moment. I’m in this competition. Do you know ASOS? I’m in the competition on that. I’m on like final 12 brands. I have to do like a presentation in a couple of week which is quite stressful(After this interview,She won). And I have to work on my new collection (SS) soon. That’s it」


Interviewer : Ryoko Kuwahara
Text Edit : Ryoko Kuwahara
Brand: Hanger (
Model: Helen Selam Kleih / Isabel Alsina-Reynolds
Photographer: Stephanie Sian-Smith
Photo Edit : Lina Hitomi
Hanger/Claire Davis


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