In the small back room of a Provo basement apartment, Hannah Gordon works on her passion — clothing design. Gordon launched her own line, Define Clothing, after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising last year.
Gordon has been involved with the fashion industry since she starting modeling at a young age. She found her love for fashion design while attending Timpview High School in Provo.
“(Timpview) had a really amazing program,” Gordon said. “That’s where it really all started and I gained my love of fashion design.”
Near the end of high school, Gordon began designing and selling her own swimsuits, and wanted to continue in the business.
Gordon found the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising located in Los Angeles. The institute is a high profile design school, something Gordon quickly learned when she started the intense application process.
“I worked for four months on my application,” Gordon said. “It required a lot of essays, projects and phone interviews. I had to go down there (to Los Angeles) and actually see the campus because it was required.”
The Provo native was thrilled when she got the phone call; she was accepted. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18, right after graduating from high school. Gordon chose to pursue the two-year fashion design program.
While living in Los Angeles, she continued making and selling her swimsuits and did some modeling on the side. Gordon also landed a position as a first assistant with celebrity stylist Jeff K. Kim, who has styled for Victoria’s Secret models, Michael B. Jordan, Demi Lovato and Ashley Graham. Gordon said she learned much from the experience and saw a different side of the business.
“There were a couple times when I was in school that it was just a lot,” Gordon said. “I was overwhelmed with how to even get started on what I wanted to do. I couldn’t figure out what the style should be, who my audience should be or if I should just go work for someone else instead of starting my own thing.”
During the latter half of her time at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Gordon met her husband, Cole Gordon. The couple was married in Sept. 2016 and immediately began working on the clothing line Gordon had been dreaming of and talking about for so long.
“It just all came together. One day I got the name and the whole idea,” Gordon said. “I just had a feeling that this was it.”
Gordon said her ideas were inspired by her experiences during school, other designers and stylish streetwear. She wants to bring a different side of fashion to the Utah market, which she said can be difficult.
“The most challenging thing right now is just getting it out there, getting known,” Gordon said. “Location is a huge factor with that too. Utah is a little bit hard to sometimes get that stuff out there, but it is growing. I want to help that happen here. I want to bring something different here because a lot of the things in this area right now are just the same.”
Gordon said her designs focus on bringing modern styles and classic looks together for today’s working woman.
“For the women, the person I would like to dress is the everyday woman in the workforce,” Gordon said. “She has a professional job, comes in contact with a lot of high-end people, lives in the city, has a very classic look, but has a little spunk to her as well. She’s a little edgy.”
Both Gordon and her husband have been working hard to launch the first pieces of their line. Gordon travels to Los Angeles to find all her materials, then designs and makes them in the back room of their apartment. Her husband, who currently takes all the product photos, said he admires Gordon’s work ethic and the way she takes feedback into account.
“The way she works is inspiration for me,” Cole said. “It’s not easy to start from nothing. But she’s always thinking about it, always working. I’ve been inspired by that because it’s not easy to say that you don’t have anything right now and try to make it into something.”
Define Clothing launched via Instagram last month. Gordon said the name was inspired by a term she heard over and over throughout her time at design school.
“They would use it in sentences like ‘why does this define you’ or ‘how does this define the company,’ and that word just stuck out to me,” Gordon said. “Our goal is to help our customers find what defines them.”
Gordon said she tries not to be the model for her line, even though she has experience. One of Define Clothing’s models, Laura Knapp, said she has been impressed not just with the quality of Define Clothing’s pieces, but also with the designer.
“(The clothes) are so classy, comfortable, unique and up-to-date with the latest styles,” Laura said. “Hannah is so nice and flattering. She is passionate about what she does and has a mindset of success. I really respect and admire her dedication and achievements.”
Define Clothing has already sold its items to both men and women looking for something new. Mark Rice bought one of Define Clothing’s men’s shirts and said it’s just what he was looking for.
“Define Clothing is the perfect blend between comfort and lifestyle,” Mark said. “The fit and style of (the brand) accommodates to my personal style.”
The company is working on launching its website within the next few weeks, and hopes to expand more into menswear and move to larger cities.
“They fit for a bunch of different people with different styles,” Laura said. “People should be interested in it because it is unique and classy for all ages and style types. You could dress up or dress down her pieces, which makes it that much better of a design.”