By Megan Haynes
Photography courtesy of Natalie Good
She’s been designing since she was eight. But Natalie Good is the first to tell you her designs were somewhat risqué, especially at that age.
“It was hilarious; I had a little sketchbook and they all looked like hookers,” she says with a laugh.
“They were all Pretty Woman inspired, apparently. I had these women I drew with these big hairdos, and they’d be wearing these little tight dresses with hooker boots.”
After interning with Debora Kuchme when she was 15, Good learned the importance of functionality in her clothes, and the backless, strapless, seamless dresses were no more.
“The thing that struck most with me [while] working with her is I would take in all my sketches, which to me were awesome – these crazy gowns and stuff – and she would look at me and ask me, ‘Ok, so tell me how is this going to stay on?’” says Good. “I didn’t even think at that point there has to be some method to the madness of design – it has to work.”
She spent the next 12 years finding the middle ground between the adventurous design ideas and clothing that is wearable.
She created Andy Hall last year after graduating from the School of Design at George Brown College. Good, now 27, found herself stuck in the midst of a recession – working a retail job with a pay roughly the same as when she was 15. As she saw it, she had two options: “I could sit around and wait for a job, and go through the motions, and wait to climb within the company,” she says. “Or I could take this opportunity to start my own thing.”
Before she started Andy Hall, Good had worked in the retail industry for 12 years and noticed there was something lacking in the contemporary retail market. The clothes available, she says, were either geared at young 19-year-old hipsters without curves or they were overly-large, baggy and plain.
Andy Hall, a combination of Andy Warhol and Annie Hall, was born out of a simple goal: to make comfortable, trendy pieces that could be enjoyed by women of all shapes and sizes.
“Wanting to look stylish and wanting to be comfortable shouldn’t be a choice,” she says.
Her best-selling piece embodies this philosophy. Riding on the trend of the boyfriend blazer, Good has taken the look one step further – her signature blazer is made entirely out of cotton, the type found in sweatshirts. The end product is a simple blazer with stripped details that wears like a sweatshirt.
It’s been a year and Good says every day is a struggle. “It’s one thing to really like your idea – to get people to like your idea – but to get people to put money down for it? That’s a whole other ball game.”
She sold her first piece this summer and says it was like stepping on the moon.
“It was at the clothing show. I was really prepared not to make any sales. And there was this girl, probably around 20, and she kept visiting it [the signature blazer] and leaving and circling. And then, finally, she came and said ‘I can’t take it, I have to have it, I love it so much.’ I was trying to be all calm and cool and collected and like ‘yah whatever,’ but in my mind I was thinking ‘This is the most exciting moment ever. I’m not just talking – I’m actually doing it.”
For more about Natalie Good, visit http://www.andyhall.ca/