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Article Published on: 19TH FEB 2024 | 


Hazel began creating clothing for her stuffed animals at a young age using only needle and thread. At age 11, she took her first sewing class at a community centre and learned about patterns and technical terms. She utilized these skills for her 5th-grade graduation when completing her first design, a polka dot dress. Hazel’s Nicaraguan family lineage consisted of Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers who were designers and seamstresses. They were not able to pass down teachings due to elderly age and distance, however, they encouraged Hazel’s passion. In high school, she received her first custom orders. Some clients were classmates, teachers aids, and mothers. These garments were created under Vintage Poison, inspired by the quality and craft of 1950’s tailoring.

After graduating high school, Hazel transitioned to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. While at FIDM, she developed technical skills, learned to use Adobe programs and experimented with unconventional fabric choices. As a result, Hazel Noir was created with a more gothic and mysterious element. Towards the end of college, she presented her graduation.

collection; separates made of black draped neoprene, clear vinyl, and hand-embroidered drops of Swarovski crystals. During graduation year, Hazel began her apprenticeship with couture designer, and FIDM Professor, Colleen Quen. This was a pivotal moment in Hazel’s career, she gained valuable knowledge of pattern making and couture finishes along with a lifelong mentor. Couture methods revolutionized Hazel’s designs as she learned countless sleeves, necklines and silhouettes. Sharp tailored looks were also an inspiration for Hazel at this time, reminiscent of Christian Dior’s “New Look” in the 40’s- 50’s and Mugler in the 90’s. After several years under Colleen’s apprenticeship, Hazel continued her path as a designer. She collaborated with clients, creating garments needed for movie sets or even their personal use. Many collaborators were up-and-coming artists who at times did not have support for hair and makeup. Hazel gladly took on the styling roles, from personal stylist to music videos and photoshoots. Hazel Noir's December 17th, 2022, debut at Lesher Center for the Arts showcased the "Tire-d" capsule collection, creatively embracing the rugged allure of ripped tyres.


Hazel Noir, evolving from Vintage Poison, embodies modern elegance in San Francisco. Rooted in 1940s-50s influences, the brand focuses on slow fashion, quality, and timeless designs. From the family garage, Hazel personally crafts made-to-order garments, fostering lasting connections with artists and musicians. Attention to detail, marked by hand-sewn X's on couture tags, reflects the brand's intimate touch. Operating on a smaller scale, Hazel Noir aspires to expand in 2024, offering made-to-measure pieces online and exploring a potential pop-up boutique.

The brand envisions a future flagship store, symbolizing its remarkable journey in the realm of haute couture. On February 11th at 11 am EST, Hazel Noir is set to unveil their latest capsule collection, "Identity," at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) show produced by Runway7. Drawing inspiration from post-modern shapes and Nicaragua's folklore dance, La Mora Limpia, Hazel Noir promises a runway showcase that seamlessly merges contemporary design with cultural influences.


In the heart of San Francisco, a fashion revolution is quietly unfolding under the name Hazel Noir. What began as Vintage Poison, a passion project influenced by 1940s and 50s tailoring, has evolved into a brand that not only embraces the essence of classic silhouettes but also champions the principles of slow fashion, quality fabric, and made-to-measure tailoring.

Hazel, the creative force behind the brand, embarked on her journey into the world of fashion at a tender age, creating garments that spoke to the nostalgia of a bygone era. The transition to Hazel Noir marked a pivotal moment, symbolizing a new chapter in design and a commitment to creating timeless pieces that transcend fleeting trends.

The brand's roots trace back to a humble family garage in San Francisco, where the first Hazel Noir garments were meticulously crafted. Commissioned by artists and musicians, these bespoke creations laid the foundation for lasting partnerships, as clients gathered in person to have their measurements taken and discuss the intricacies of each project.

A hallmark of Hazel Noir's approach lies in the personal touch that permeates every aspect of the brand. Hazel herself prefers to engage with her clients on a deeper level, fostering connections that go beyond the transactional nature of the fashion industry. This commitment to a personalized experience sets Hazel Noir apart in an era dominated by mass production and impersonal transactions. Operating at a smaller scale, the brand currently thrives on a made-to-order model. Each design is meticulously crafted by hand, bearing the unmistakable imprint of Hazel's dedication to perfection. Attention to detail is a non-negotiable aspect, evident in the small hand-sewn Xs that seal every couture clothing tag or label. These X's represent more than just a signature; they are small kisses and blessings from the designer herself, infusing each piece with a sense of intimacy and care.

As the popularity of Hazel Noir continues to soar, the brand remains committed to its ethos of creating custom gowns and separates for clients from all walks of life. The made-to-measure approach ensures that each piece is not just a garment but a statement of individuality and confidence. Looking towards the future, Hazel Noir harbors ambitions of expansion in 2024. Plans include offering made-to-measure pieces from their upcoming collection on their website and possibly unveiling a pop-up boutique. The brand envisions a journey that extends beyond the digital realm, culminating in the creation of a flagship store or boutique that stands as a testament to Hazel Noir's growth and success.

In the transformative landscape of 2024, Hazel Noir strategically plans a dynamic expansion by introducing online made-to-measure pieces and contemplating a pop-up boutique. This ambitious leap extends beyond the digital realm, with the ultimate vision of a flagship store representing the brand's substantial growth. In a world saturated with fast fashion, Hazel Noir emerges as a proponent of intentional, unhurried craftsmanship, placing emphasis on quality, personalization, and a timeless aesthetic. Each meticulously crafted piece serves as a narrative chapter, intricately woven into the brand's compelling story within the ever-evolving and dynamic world of fashion.


Q: Can you share with us the inspiration behind your couture designs, and how you bring those concepts to life in your made-to-measure garments?

A. Currently, my designs are based on emotions, things I see in everyday life; chains draped over tires, or water drops on spider webs. I want others to see the beauty in even the simplest things, to see the beauty that I see. These influences have a great impact on my fabric selection and silhouettes.

Q: Hazel, your emphasis on unique silhouettes sets you apart. Could you elaborate on your creative process in designing distinctive shapes and forms in your collections?

A. My vision for the unique silhouettes begin as a feeling that then inspires the sketching process. I create several sketches until I find one that properly conveys my initial feeling. I could either settle on the chosen sketch or play around with draping to ensure the feeling is being translated. Once the silhouette has been decided, I move forward with designing the rest of the pieces in the collection.

Q: Hand-crafting garments is a significant aspect of your work. How do you maintain the balance between traditional craftsmanship and incorporating innovative techniques in your creations?

A. As a couture student, I stress the importance of using this timeless couture method in order to create my more modern and eccentric designs. My innovative strengths are, using fabrics that are no longer commonly used, personalizing garment pieces and utilizing an older tailoring technique to create new shapes.

Q: As a couture fashion designer, how do you ensure that each garment is not only aesthetically pleasing but also aligns with the comfort and practical needs of the wearer?

A. Being a designer often feels like being a therapist. You get to learn about your Clients on a deeper level and it is my job to listen and highlight their best features. I want to ensure that the garment compliments the wearer's natural shape and that they feel amazing and powerful. I feel that clothing made to your shape is what makes it aesthetically pleasing. With modern day technology, fabrics are constantly changing and it becomes easier to find a fabric that can appear as one thing but function as something else. I strive to keep up to date with those trends and fabrics.

Q: Your studio is the hub of your creative process. Can you provide insights into the atmosphere and culture within your studio that contributes to the creation of your stunning pieces?

A. The studio consists of just me, typically, I enjoy listening to Italian Jazz and like to keep my walls blank leaving only my sketches. This space is my incubator for my inspiration and I want it to be as peaceful and nurturing as possible.

Q: Hazel, you're not only a couture designer but also involved in fashion styling. How does your experience in styling influence your approach to designing, and vice versa?

A. Styling has taught me to be a versatile and quick thinker. I have learned how to problem solve under tight deadlines and the issues I confront while styling I keep in mind when working on my own designs to ensure the wearer feels more at ease during the creation of my garment piece. For instance, when styling, if someone is in need of more bust support, I would need to go out and find a solution but, if I make a garment myself, I ensure that the support is already incorporated.

Q: Collaboration seems to be a significant part of your work. Can you share a memorable collaboration experience and how it influenced your creative vision?

A. The first time I styled and supported in the creative direction and storyline process of Sabrina Shauna’s music video, “Problem”, I was able to create a concept of the stages of grief in a relationship. I had a great time collaborating and styling looks to interpret the different stages. I felt that for the first time, I had the opportunity to express the progression of a storyline.

Q: With the upcoming NYFW 2024 debut, what can we expect from your new collection, and how does it reflect your evolution as a designer?

A. As a designer who is based on emotion, whose goal and dream as a child was to be here, I will be showcasing designs that are completely more advanced than what I have created in the past. It will all be very new for Hazel Noir and truly from my whole heart.

Q: In the realm of fashion, trends are ever-changing. How do you stay ahead of the curve while maintaining a distinct Hazel Noir signature in your designs.

A. As time, technology and trends continue to advance, I ensure to keep an open mind to the latest developments and adapt techniques that are still true to my brand's core. I feel that I am forever learning and evolving as humans do.

Q: Your passion for helping up-and-coming artists and professionals through fashion styling is commendable. How do you approach each styling project to ensure that you capture and enhance the essence of their ideas and concepts?

A. I feel that I am a good listener and have learned that listening to their process and how they got to their vision helps me to adequately support them. I take a lot of care in hearing their ideas and once I have an understanding of what they are wanting I create mood boards to make sure that we are on the same page. If they already have a vision, I work with them, if not, I sit down and support them in visualizing what they are feeling in order to support their process.

Q: How do you perceive the intersection between fashion and art in your creations, especially in the context of your NYFW debut?

A. To me fashion and art are always synonymous. It feels amazing to wear a garment that makes you feel like a work of art. Being able to express my visions into wearable art is such an amazing feeling.

Q: As a couture designer, you have a hands-on approach to your craft. How do you manage the balance between the artistic expression and the business aspects of running a successful fashion studio?

A. Being the daughter of an immigrant father who crafted his business from nothing, and from a mother who has an immense knowledge in accounting from a very young age, I was able to learn dedication, math, patience and endurance. I had the opportunity to learn several skills needed to support a small business. Because I understand that both are important in my work, I have dedicated days to work only on my artistic expressions and others to the business aspect.

Q: Texture seems to play a crucial role in your designs. Could you elaborate on your choice of materials and how you use texture to enhance the visual and tactile appeal of your garments?

A. Because of the emotions that my collections are based on, I like to physically feel the fabrics in hopes of finding the perfect one that mimics the sentiment that I am trying to convey. I find that usually, those are the fabrics that are no longer commonly used and want to bring them back into the spotlight. For me, picking fabrics is like getting to know a friend. I want to help them shine again.

Q: Collaboration is key in the fashion industry. What qualities do you look for in potential collaborators, and how do you ensure a harmonious creative process when working with others?

A. Communication, as cliche as it sounds, is important. If you do not communicate feedback or ideas clearly, then their vision will not be clearly interpreted. Connection is also very important. I work to take feedback constructively and work to improve and create solutions. Feedback should rarely be taken personally, it should be more reflective of how we can improve on their vision. I want to do my best to visualize what my collaborators are needing.

Q: Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of the Hazel Noir brand, and how do you envision continuing to make a mark in the world of couture and fashion styling?

A. I want to showcase that our Central American Women are also a strong force in the world of design and sewing. I want to prove that we are a force to be reckoned with and we have the ability, knowledge and skill even though it may not be acknowledged or appreciated in the mainstream world. I want to continue showcasing and developing my work and one day have my own boutique showroom that represents my brand to the core.




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