When Haley aka @HDUBBLICIOUS was finishing up her studies at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) she started working as a stylist in New York City. After a short run, she moved to California to start myriads of projects and realized how deeply she enjoyed getting involved in all the aspects of performance and production: the direction, the music, the ambiance, the details. As we know, God is in the details and she saw the light for the first time. But this ambitious blue-eyed gap-toothed visionary started back in the hay day of East Village -- the 80's. 1986 to be exact and it was a good year. Let's hear her side of the story.
Tell us about your childhood?
I was born in New York City, in the East Village, a few blocks away from Allday on 11th Street between 2nd & 3rd Ave, above a music school. My father was an architect, he designed the loft I grew up in. My mother has always been in fashion. She started as a salesgirl at Bergdorf’s and worked for Michael Kors, Pinky & Diane in the early 80’s. She was the Director of Operations for all the Fiorucci stores when I was born, and for much of my early childhood.
My parents were big Studio 54-goers… I had a jukebox in my house, a giant zebra print rug in the living room. I had this Memphis-style marble checkerboard hallway that was my first runway; just your typical, funky 1980’s NYC upbringing.
My block had a real prostitution problem (until Giuliani became Mayor) but I always appreciated their fashion sense. I’ve always respected style no matter who is wearing it; a homeless person, an evil dictator, a nun, a school girl, the UPS guy, whoever. The East Village I grew up in was electric; there were vibrant Latino, Jewish, and Eastern European communities, punks, artists, junkies, witches and poets, all clashing in this heated coexistence. Obviously, this has made who I am. I have never wanted to fit in, I’ve always felt like an outspoken outcast, and I mean that in the most positive way.
Did this Italian pop art imagery from Fiorucci infect all what you are doing now?
Everything, really. Fiorucci for me is not merely a style influence, it’s a movement. Every element of the brand was a piece of art; from the buttons, to the hang tags, the posters, packaging, the shopping bags. I actually have a shopping bag framed because it’s just that beautiful. I’ve always felt like my Fiorucci past was my glorious little secret, I don’t feel like a lot of people from my generation know about it or it’s influence on streetwear. I mean, this is the brand to learn from. It’s sad the way things look these days; everything is so soulless and the same.
I have a theory about pop culture as it stands; how fashion, music, movies, on a commercial level are all based on statistics. How the internet has allowed companies to trace our every move and know our every desire. While saying it sounds sexy and sci-fi, it makes things feel very stagnant. If product and content is constantly generated based on what people have already bought or liked, then you’re never going to give them anything new. Underground scenes barely have a chance to become movements, because the moment anyone notices you’re doing anything marketable, they’ll copy you or throw you into the spotlight so fast you burn.
But I do think there’s hope, the industry just needs to rely more on young artists for ideas and less on the statistics we generating. By relying on our ideas I mean ask and pay, not steal. So many creative industries are trying to adapt to this commercial driven marketplace, if only more responsibility was placed on the shoulders of my generation, people would realize we don’t need to adapt! Our concepts are constructed for our times, commercialism isn’t a threat to our art, it’s a new medium.
Have you always been interested in the woman’s body?
Yes. I love all bodies, but nothing is more beautiful to me than a woman’s body. I’m sick of people telling me my work is risqué because of it. I come from the Helmut Newton school of strong nudes. I hate how frowned upon it is. I hate how conservative America is… well it’s actually not, the standards here are just so fucked. A woman can’t show her nipples on instagram if she chooses, but Kim Kardashian’s lubed up, photoshopped, butt cheeks can make their way into everyone’s feed. Bodies look great covered and they look great undressed. I think people should be less concerned with issues of nudity and more concerned that Tove Lo “Habits (Stay High)” is the number six song in America... that’s fucking creepy.
You do much more than styling.
Communication is the driving force of my creativty. Clothing has been a voice for me since I was a child, a way to leave an impression without saying a word. I studied graphic design in college, which prompted by my desire to communicate.
I love working in the music industry because I collaborate with people who have a voice or sound, and help them to create an image for themselves and the visual world for their songs to exist in. This is where being a stylist and a director go hand in hand because one feeds off the other.
I definitely want to continue to direct videos, making Blood Orange’s “Champagne Coast” was the first time I created something that turned out exactly how I envisioned in my head -- it was an incredible feeling. Music videos are fashion shoots “turnt up”… for me at least. I’d like to write a screenplay one day. I’m a storyteller for sure.
How would you define your style?
My style is defined by the work I produce. It’s everywhere. It’s high fashion and low-brow and main stream and avant garde. Sometimes it’s all mixed together and sometimes I’m just doing a job. One day I’m working with Drake, the next day I’m styling for DIS Magazine. There is a pretty wide spectrum in between... and beyond. I’m not going to connect the dots for people, my style is mixed up with conviction, just like me.