Meet Valley’s Spring 2016 Fashion Section Opener – Elijah Hawkes

Photo by Vanessa Zican Feng

While most of us were still learning how to talk, Elijah Hawkes was already falling deeply in love with the world of fashion. As a young child, he would spend hours in his father’s closet, trying on clothes and playing with different fabrics. “Art and fashion have always played a huge role in my life for as long as I could recall,” says Hawkes.

As he grew older, Elijah became frustrated by the lack of diversity in men’s fashion, so he began to experiment with design. In his early teens, he tested his skills by bleaching jackets and distressing jeans for himself and friends. “What inspired me to go into fashion was my love of taking risks,” says Hawkes, “I wanted to be the one to push the envelope.”

It was this hunger for improvement that drove Elijah to create two clothing lines and countless designs for his own personal wardrobe. “I design both male and female clothing — everything from urban street wear to formal attire,” says Hawkes. “Each clothing line is a direct reflection and extension of myself.”

Elijah doesn’t currently assemble his own clothes, but he’s learning. For now, he uses sketches and manufacturers to bring his pieces to life. And while he is still in the process of developing his brands and seeking funding, he plans to release new pieces in time for the upcoming fall season.

“Being a student designer attending a university that isn’t known for its fashion was a huge challenge for me,” says Hawkes. On top of managing two clothing lines, Elijah is a full time student juggling his senior year courses and a part time job with Urban Outfitters.

Despite all the obstacles, Elijah is dedicated to pursuing his passion. “Before I started working on my lines I felt like I didn’t have an outlet to express my creativity, so I use my clothing lines as a way to escape reality and to see the beauty in life,” says Hawkes. “I like finding the perfect balance between art and fashion and creating quality pieces of clothing that make you feel good.”

And that’s really what it’s all about — feeling good in your own skin. “Design has taught me that there isn’t just one meaning of what is perceived as beauty or fashion,” says Hawkes. “Everyone should have the opportunity to express their unique personality through their clothing, and that is why I am here.”

You can follow Elijah’s fashion journey on Instagram @UrbanMethod