Heilyke by Heili Aun Nalla

What do you design?

I design women’s ready to wear and evening wear.

What is your design philosophy?

The longevity of design is my motto while creating garments for Heilyke. Heilyke brand stands for elegant, well-crafted garments that are targeted for the woman desiring a sophisticated and unique look.

When did you decide to become a designer?

I do not remember one definite moment; it has been more gradual progression from one decision to another. But I remember when I first interned and then worked for one of a top designer in Estonia, Kai Saar, I was inspired by her life story and her success, and I remember thinking I want to be like her, I want to create beautiful garments that people wear and feel beautiful in. It was so gratifying to see happy costumers coming in and out her studio every day.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is an art form through which people express themselves and add interest to the visual world.

How has the Seattle Fashion landscape changed over the years?

I have only been here for 8 years, but I have noticed some improvement in people appreciating fashion, due to TV shows such as Project Runway, and large number of fashion events happening locally. Also, I have noticed people looking into personalizing their style to stand out from the crowd.

How would you describe your own personal style? Can you share a few address book recommendations to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, shops… anything you like really)?

My favorite hair stylist is Quint Eby of Quint Eby Salon in Belltown. My new favorite destination for jeans is Derek Andrew in Bellevue, and there is where I found my current favorite pairs of skinny jeans by Genetic Denim, the fabric they use is amazing, it is comfortable, and dries super fast. My current favorite earrings are by local designer Iris Guy Sofer I found at Re Soul in Ballard. My personal style is classic with touch of art, for example I like to dress up my outfits with high quality unique handmade jewelry. I do not follow seasonal trends religiously, I only buy what speaks to me, and that can stay in my wardrobe for a long time. I always prefer quality over quantity.

What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men/women wore?

I miss having men wearing beautifully tailored pants and suit jackets more often; I am tired of seeing men only walking around in jeans that are often too baggy and t-shirt or dress shirt only without vest or jacket. I wish they would pay more attention to the entire attire to be well fitted, and try to have more personality to their style. For women, I wish we would not be so into wearing pants, I want to see more dresses and skirts, including on myself.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?

I like it now; I like the mixture of different eras all together so one can choose their style as of what the mood and their body type need, rather than trying to fit in the norm. I also am a big fan of the detailed and luxurious attire of 1600s to 1800s in Europe.

What are your inspirations?

I draw my inspiration from everything around me; nature is one of the main influences. I love how plants are so beautiful, complex, but seem so simple, and not touched by humans. I try to reflect that structure and beauty in my designs. I also am inspired by world cultures. For example my usage of color is inspired by colors of Indian culture, the spices, exotic plants and the colors of textiles.

Who are your influences?

People who have found their purpose in life and do all to pursue their dreams, and try to make a difference.

Do you have a typical type of person in mind when designing and if so does this evolve with each season?

I start with myself lots of times, me as a woman, what do I feel is missing in the world of fashion for women.

Which designers currently working do you admire most?

I really liked Fall 2010 collection by Narciso Rodriquez, and Fall 2010 collection by Nicholas Ghesquiere’s for Balenciaga.

Which fellow designers/brands do you admire (locally)?

Michael Cepress

What are your biggest personal/professional challenges that you face day to day?

Challenge to manage time and tasks at hand.

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?

Taking steps to first start and to further develop my women’s wear brand Heilyke. The proudest moment as a fashion designer is the honor of winning the title “Best in Show” in the Seamless in Seattle 2010 competition organized by Seattle Magazine.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering your field?

To be a good fashion designer you have to think about who your client is, and how to complement and enhance their natural beauty. Also, you have to believe and stand behind your creations, and make sure you do your best and don’t cut corners in design nor execution.

What would you say are the benefits for Seattlelites of buying from local designers?

When buying directly from the designer then one gets more than just a garment, you get to learn more about the designer behind the clothes, and then your garments are more than just lifeless cover ups.

Who would you like to thank for your success?

That is a long list of people, so to keep it short I want to thank my families by birth and the ones I have created along the way, my teachers in Seattle, USA and in Estonia, my husband, and friends that have been an influence and support.

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