Originally from Brooklyn, Wisconsin, Emma Hastil is a fashion designer, illustrator, and photographer based in Rockaway, NY.

I first met Emma in 2014 when she was fresh out of the Fashion Design program at Pratt Institute. I was peeling through images of thesis fashion collections from local NY art schools, when I spotted her work. I was instantly drawn in by her hyper, psychedelic floral prints on loose and boxy silhouettes. They were beautiful, super bold and kind of tomboyish, which is pretty much how I’d describe her too.

When I met Emma outside a coffee shop in Bedford Stuyvesant, we talked about the small embryo that was soon to become Novel. She helped me hone in my ideas and navigate the crazy maze that is the NYC garment district. Her skilled hands were busy designing and illustrating for big brand manufacturers and helping fabricate some of Adam Selman’s most iconic looks for Rihanna—including that sheer Swarovski crystal dress with matching thong panty—but we always kept in touch.

In 2018, we hit Emma up to shoot our #1 Crush Collection lookbook at Jacob Riis Beach and just a few weekends ago we met up in Rockaway fully clad in protective gear and face masks for our 2020 Collection pics.

We caught up with Emma recently to see what she’s been up to…


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So, you just travelled the world a bit, moved to Rockaway, bought a surf board, and quit your job! What’s on the horizon?

I want to continue branding small businesses, but under myself and not through an agency. I also want to improve my surfing skills, so I got a hot pink board, because just like cute workout fits, it inspires you more when the gear is good. Travel eventually. Covid definitely put a damper on my international travel, but I got Australia and Mexico in at the beginning of 2020 and some great camping road trips in this Summer, which is a great way to explore safely.

I can probably take a wild guess, but for those that don’t know you, what are the key ingredients to your favorite outfit?

Bikinis are my favorite outfit, as you know. A key ingredient is a great bucket hat. Protect your face! Currently, my favorite one is a dorky surf hat that buckles and stays on in the ocean.


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What kind of camera do you like to shoot with?

Film. I’ve had the same Yashica T4 since I was 8. My mom got it for me and it’s my treasure.


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What’s your favorite food to eat at the beach?

Banana shake from Fruteria and a Ripper’s cheese burger.


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You recently moved to Rockaway. Do you have any local recommendations for places to check out while you’re there?

The new Nigerian pop up on my block, TheCradleNYC. I was just in Lagos last December, and I’ve been craving jollof ever since I left.



For a look at Emma’s travel photography through Australia, Mexico, Lagos, and Brazil, catch her on Instagram here.