Paying homage to natural landscapes and the female form, Square Heart is an up-and-coming, home-grown label that is set to take the world by storm.
Couturing writer Thara Vidyaratne sits downs with creative director Andrew Pan, and talks about the beginnings of Square Heart and what’s in store for the future.
Check out Square Heart’s new campaign video for their ‘After Light’ Collection here.
Thara: How did Square Heart start?
Andrew: The idea of Square Heart had come up during a conversation I had with my friends and I. As many of my friends are musicians, graphics designers, and fashion designers, they all seemed to be facing the same problem; there just isn’t a lot out there to support young upcoming talent in a palpable way.
I have always followed the fashion industry from when I was young. I personally believe that fashion is the perfect vehicle for collaboration with other mediums of creativity. This includes music, film, and art. So it was a natural inclination for me that I wanted to start a clothing line that embodies this belief, and in doing so, support young local talent.
Whilst this is the DNA of Square Heart, we also believe that fashion is a form of self expression. Fashion both transforms and reflects the wearer, and this is why I love the industry. Therefore, it was also important that our lead fashion designer had to share the same passion. Square Heart became something special when award-winning fashion designer, Sonya Kraan, came aboard. Her meticulous craftsmanship and lateral thinking was exactly what we needed.
T: What were you doing before its conception?
A: Prior to Square Heart’s conception, I was a radiographer working about 6-7 days a week as well as doing on-call work for a local private hospital. Now that Square Heart is in operation, I have reduced my shifts in order to be more hands-on.
T: What is Square Heart bringing to the Melbourne fashion scene?
A: Square Heart is decidedly a pretty edgy take on the preppy style. The word preppy is used to describe the culture of the more elite schools in the United States. When we were at the early stage of the drawing board, I did a little more research into this subculture and was immediately drawn to its history and its impact on fashion. In short words, my interpretation of ‘preppy’ was that these kids who came from these elite schools would often be proud to wear their uniforms; proud of its school and their affiliation with it. And that is essentially what we, at Square Heart, want our customers to feel. To wear our clothes proudly and know that we are working hard with young Australian talent.
So what is Square Heart bringing to the Melbourne fashion scene? We are pushing forward a brand that isn’t afraid to try something different, whilst trying to stay grounded to our roots. A modern twist on an old classic, essentially.
T: How would you describe the Square Heart girl?
A: The way we have always described the Square Heart girl when we were at the drawing board was that she was ‘confidently feminine’. She is a girl that carries herself with such poise and bravado. She’s the girl that is certain of herself and leaves her doubters behind in the dust. Square Heart’s collection, After Light, is a personification of this girl.
T: What drew you to the work of Shintaro Ohata? How does he reflect the Square Heart aesthetic – or vice versa?
A: Shintaro Ohata’s geometric art is so compelling that I was a fan of his work prior to Square Heart’s conception. I love how depending on where the viewer is in relation to his art piece, they are experiencing something viscerally different. So when we were at the point of deciding on a colour palette for the collection, my mind went instantly thought of Shintaro Ohata. We wanted his artistic presence in our collection to be subtle. An example of this is when we used different gradients of purple for our desert print, much like Shintaro Ohata did in his ‘The End of the Beginning” piece. We wanted to incorporate this subtleness into our prints because we believe that is how Shintaro Ohata conveys emotion and story in his pieces.
T: You say that the collection includes prints that consist of photographs of the Nevada desert – were these taken by you on your own travels? What was the reason behind choosing the Nevada desert?
A: The photograph of the Nevada desert was actually taken by Sonya, our fashion designer, on her travels through Las Vegas. Previous to her trip, I also travelled through the US extensively. So in regards to why we chose to use the Nevada desert in our prints? We just thought it would be a beautiful homage to both our individual travels.
T: What was it like making a fashion film for your first campaign? Had you ever done something like that before?
A: Honestly, it was one of the most intense experiences I have ever gone through. Prior to the filming, I was unaware of how much planning and coordination was involved in a 5-6 hour shoot. Admittedly, I was biting my lip in hope that it was going to go smoothly. When approaching a fashion film maker to run your campaign, you are giving them stewardship to make your vision come to life. Thankfully, I was able to work with Hinny Tran, who quickly resonated with what our brand was and understood what we were trying to achieve. Throughout the day, he would sometimes stop, look at me and ask “How’s it going, bud?” for me to simply reply “..nervous, man”. Then we would laugh, and he would reassure me that everything is running just fine and the video would be great. Hinny is a great fashion film maker and it was awesome to get to work with him.
T: What do you hope to achieve with Square Heart in the near future and beyond?
A: With Square Heart, we really want to get as much reach as possible. We want to get our collection out there and have it be seen, worn, and talked about. Anyone in the fashion industry knows this isn’t an easy and approachable industry, so we are working hard to get there.
We also want to see all the people we have worked with make it big in their respective field, like Daniel Archer (our photographer) or Hinny Tran. Everyone we have had the pleasure to have worked with have been amazing and they deserve all the success in the world.
Images courtesy of Square Heart