How Hayley Elsaesser Creates Her Signature Prints
“I like to take something that is inherently scary and horrific and make it really pretty and enjoyable,” says Toronto designer Hayley Elsaesser about her signature loud, splashy prints. Case in point: a cosmic ray gun reproduced multiple times to form the shape of a flower.
Elsaesser—resplendent in rainbow unicorn hair and snake-print overalls of her own design when we meet at her boutique on Queen Street West—has revolutionized the way she designs with a technique called dye-sublimation transfer printing using an Epson printer. “It’s instant gratification where you have an idea, you whip it up and you print it out,” she says. The technology allows her to send a digital file of her patterns to an industrial printer in New York, which then physically prints the design onto transfer paper. The paper is then heat-cured to transfer the pattern onto the chosen textile. Elsaesser receives the printed fabric in a few days instead of the four weeks it normally takes when she sources fabrics overseas.
Elsaesser says she was the consummate indoor kid. “I’ve always been someone who would rather be on the computer,” she says. “My mom was always like, ‘Go outside!’” But that’s also why Elsaesser is so open to experimentation: “I get so excited about new technology and where we’re going to be in another 10 years.”