Hannah Chipkin is the creative genius behind Chip Chop!, a clothing and accessories brand known for its signature slogans and cheeky Francophile style. Starting out with tops and totes, Chip Chop! is now a one stop shop for everything the Melbourne fashionista could want. There's even a range for tots named #smallchips, ensuring small fries look as chic as their mummas.
With Chip Chop!'s Spring collection #todayimwearing now in stores, Hannah took a couple of minutes to chat with us about hashtagging, Spring trends and the best places eat, drink and (of course) shop in Melbourne.
TUL: Let's start from the very beginning – how did Chip Chop! come about?
In early 2006, after receiving my umpteenth parking ticket, I decided to write some not-so-nice 'poetry' about parking inspectors. I was so passionate about it that once I started, I couldn't stop! Using my graphic design skills, I started working on the poetry on my computer and realized it could easily work as a design. I didn't end up using this particular design however this is how Chip Chop! began. I've since written to the parking inspector society and told them 'thanks for the ticket – I now have a way to pay you back'. True story.
TUL: Describe Chip Chop!'s style in a sentence.
Fun fashion that's tongue-in-chic (pun intended!) and always a little bit French.
TUL: How do you come up with your signature slogans?
My slogans stem from my ideas and observations about the small things in life – like pizza and parking tickets. Perhaps it's got something to do with my addiction to Seinfeld and the way they made a show about everyday, mundane occurences. I usually write one slogan a day on a post-it note and now have enough to cover a wall! That said, I always ask myself, "Would our Chip Chop! girl wear that on a t-shirt?"
TUL: Where did your obsession with all things French come from?
Chip Chop! is big on words and, to be honest, I feel that French words are the most beautiful. I studied French all through school and undertook a study exchange near Toulouse when I was 17. As a result, I have a good grasp of the language, which definitely helps!
TUL: Who is the Chip Chop! girl?
She's fashionable with a sense of humour. She loves bold colour, words, stripes, spots, and hearts. Basically anything strong and iconic. Our clothes aren't for wallflowers.
TUL: You've turned the humble tote into a statement bag. Why should every girl own one?
A canvas slogan tote is a quirky, casual accessory that makes the day a little less serious. I also love the mix of high fashion with fun fashion (like when your other bag is Chanel – then your everyday tote should totes be Chip Chop!)
TUL: We adore your Spring 13 collection #todayimwearing! What was the inspiration behind it?
Merci! This was the first range I designed after having my baby girl and was a very creative outlet for me. I had a vision of opening up a wardrobe ('Clueless' style) and just wanting to wear all of it at once. I started by bringing back some of our most popular prints (namely the J'ADORE and OUI OUI prints) from past collections and updated them using new colours. I then added new prints and shapes. It organically became a fun, pop-coloured collection that perfectly suited the retail climate and introduces wearable fashion pieces into the Chip Chop! girl's wardrobe.
#todayimwearing is also heavily inspired by bloggers. Basically it draws on the online phenomenon of girls posting selfies wearing their #ootd. I thought, "Why don't we make a whole range like that?". It's a cute mix 'n' match range and leant itself really easily to photograph that way. The whole collection was shot like an Instagram feed allowing the customer to envision herself wearing that outfit. It's shot against the backdrop of an open wardrobe in a messy bedroom – any girl can relate to that!
TUL: We hear you're collaborating with blogger Jasmin Howell from Friend in Fashion. What can we expect from this partnership?
The strength of the photo shoot and range concept depended on having a real blogger to be our girl in order to give it legs (good legs ha!). We instantly thought of Jasmin from Friend in Fashion – she's a Chip Chop! fan and when we told her about the concept she loved it! The public response has been the same – people dig the idea! We've been able to reach a wider audience due to Jasmin's large social media following which is also very exciting thing for us.
TUL: We love a good #hashtag here at TUL. Any tips for sharing sartorial snaps online?
#omg #snap! I think the best way to share sartorial pics is to have a clever comment accompanying the image so you give that image your own voice. Then pick a few vital hashtags relevant to the image (I personally use 4 – 5 max) as well as your profile hashtag. Obviously, being able to use an @ tag is also a very valuable thing. It's just a big spider web after all – and you can get tangled up 6 feet deep in the criss-cross of it all which is awesome and exhausting at the same time!
TUL: What key pieces should every Melbourne woman wear this Spring?
Colour, stripes and comfy, uncomplicated shapes…and Converse hightops. Always!
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TUL: Any local dining or shopping gems you care to share?
Bistro Thierry in Hawksburn is home to the most amazing steak and frites EVER. I go there on romantic dates with my husband.
Torsa on High Street in Armadale is the ultimate shopping destination with its beautiful selection of international designers. It's so well curated and totally drool worthy.
Hut 13 in Kings Arcade, Armadale is a must for it's gorgeous selection of colourful homewares.
Finally, for an eclectic, independent designer experience don't miss Lenko boutique, owned by my #bff Dana Lenko.
TUL: Best way to spend $50 in Melbourne?
Breakfast at Two Birds One Stone (my happy place).
TUL: And $500?
Tickets to the Australian Open finals. Use the spare change on beers and hotdogs.
TUL: And finally, what's next for Chip Chop!?
We've been invited to be part of the Sportsgirls Like 10 Years collaboration so we have two exclusive tote bag designs that have just gone into selected Sportsgirl stores.
Our High Summer collection, Sweet Talkers, is also just around the corner which includes lots of new lifestyle products – in particular a new range of printed melamine plates – perfect for the gifting season.
We also have a very exciting brand ambassador who we'll reveal in the next few weeks – watch this space!
Image Credit: Chip Chop!