Reinventing Fashion On The East Coast
Discover fashion designer Ethan Hull's versatile and enthralling new fashion label.
Photographs: Emerald Hull
Halifax, Nova Scotia–based 20-year old entrepreneur Ethan Hull appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of [EDIT] as a model. He has now branched out into fashion, with a label that is taking Atlantic Canada by storm for its serene duality of masculine and feminine. Here, exclusively for [EDIT], Hull shares the story of a remarkable transition.
As a young boy, I came to Canada from the island of Antigua in the Caribbean, and I have been exposed to culture shock, climate difference and many new things. What has affected me the most is art.
To me, art is the purest form of expression. Each art form is a dialect without words, with its own feelings and emotions — communication through creation.
I first leaped into the world of art as a model, as the can - vas for designers and other creative minds, learning and grasping whatever I could. Eventually, I took up photography, trying to understand and putting what I had learned into practice. Then acting.
My journey so far has guided me to fashion design, and it is truly something that I enjoy: the actual craft, creating something anew with physical materials, expressing one’s self, and telling a story with each stitch is absolutely amazing.
The fashion scene in Halifax and the Maritime provinces is very small, almost non-existent. This does not go over well with me as I am drawn to fashion — I want to see it and wear it. That is the main reason why I have started to produce garments: to provide access to what has been missing in my local community.
A thirst for a new, more extravagant lifestyle is rampaging through the youth population now more than ever before. This may be a result of our current world being a lot more progressive and fast-paced because of technology. It may also be because of the stimulation from and sharing through social media, which has essentially made the global village a lot smaller than it has ever been. Allowing people to show and share selective experiences in their life with others. Almost like an advertisement for life.
This same mentality captivated me after my first dive into the internet, desiring and seeking better experiences that everyone else seemed to be enjoying. At the age of 13 , moving to Canada from the Caribbean was a serious culture shock: changing from one life to another, especially during a period of time when I was going through biological and hormonal changes, trying to understand myself and who I am.
Mental health, queer identities and sexualities, and male emotional expression were all taboo topics in my country of origin. Looking back on it now, I knew there was something wrong with the culture that surrounded me, but I too was being assimilated by the language I heard. Thankfully, I moved to Canada and gained an outside perspective on how mentalities differ, for better or for worse.
It was because of all this — culture shock, puberty, and intense internet consumption — that I gained a liking for the arts, especially performance art and overt expression. I truly enjoyed modelling and acting and the communities around these professions. It was through these experiences that I learned how clothes are also a tool in expressing oneself. They are more than hand-me-downs from my older siblings that cover my body as the law dictates. I can mix, match and experiment — truly a beautiful medium with my body as the canvas. Throughout my time modelling in Halifax and the Maritimes, there were only a few times that the garments that I was wearing sated my hunger for more luxurious, more extravagant, more individualistic clothing that helped me express myself more uniquely. I wanted to have this experience more frequently, and I wanted to share it with others. I realized there was a gap in the market here compared to what I saw in major cities around the globe, and I wanted that to change.
I began learning how to sew after I modelled my first Atlantic Fashion Week in 2019 . Today I create all of my own garments and loan them out to other creative minds in the area who have been looking for pieces to express them - selves.
I am determined to create more clothing for individuals around Halifax, to help them learn to express themselves and show them that what they see on their screen is not that far out of reach. I have begun looking into producing more garments, designing my own collections, and expanding to larger cities while brightening life here in Halifax by proposing events and occasions that warrant wearing such creative pieces in the city.
ethanwhull.com | Instagram: @ethan.w.hul