Hannah James was born and raised in Decatur, GA and graduated from Decatur High School. She attended the University of Georgia where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textile Design. Hannah is the Owner/Founder and Head Designer of Hannah James Studio, featuring her handmade, hand-dyed clothing with a focus on sustainability, accessibility, and inclusivity. She just launched a home goods line as well. In addition to selling her work at HannahJamesStudio.com, her clothing is sold at Community in downtown Athens. Hannah’s work has been exhibited at Atlanta Contemporary and was recently featured in Shoutout Atlanta magazine. She also works as a bartender a few nights a week at The Lark Winespace. Hannah lives in Normaltown with her boyfriend and their cat, Steak.
What do you love most about your career?
I love that I get to do whatever I want. I don’t have a boss or anyone to answer to, and I really like things that way. I like holding the reins, making all of the decisions and having the freedom to jump around and do whatever feels right in the moment. I think that is why I ended up starting my own business instead of working for someone else. I have to hold myself accountable and put in the work, but all of it is my choice.
When you are not working, what are some of your favorite things to do in Athens?
I truly almost do nothing ever. I mostly stay at home and work, even before the pandemic I barely left the house. But, when I do have free time I mostly just like to eat good food and drink good drinks. As a long-time part-time bartender, it feels so luxurious to go out and have someone else make me a cocktail, so I do that as often as I can. On pretty days I like to go to the Botanical Gardens, walk around Memorial Park, or break into pools I don’t belong to.
If you could see any band, anywhere, who would it be and where?
I am finding it impossible to decide between Outkast and Talking Heads. I pick both! I don’t really care where, except I would obviously have to see Outkast somewhere in Atlanta.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stick to your guns. Don’t cave on things you believe in.
Do you have a favorite movie or remember the first movie you saw in a movie theatre?
I think the movie I have seen the most times in my life would be Mean Girls. It came out when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and I think I have watched it at least once a year since then. I just think it’s iconic and it brings me so much joy and never gets old.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I feel like right this minute I would go to the Caribbean Islands, or anywhere that I could just be surrounded by beautiful things and relax.
What is something interesting about you that most people might not know?
The people close to me would know this, but growing up I always expected I would end up in performing arts of some kind. I was a dancer most of my life leading up to college, and I started out as a dance major for the first year and a half. It was my biggest dream as a kid (and, ok maybe currently!) to be a famous country singer.
If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and where?
I think I would want to have lunch with Tina Fey. It would just be so fun, and I feel like I know her already, and I don’t think she would be creeped out by the number of times I’ve re-watched 30 Rock. We would do something really dumb, like go to Outback Steakhouse and get a blooming onion.
If you could put any message on a billboard, what would it be?
Be Yourself and Get Paid. Basically, never sacrifice your artistic integrity and never undervalue your time, your talents, or the work that you do.
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home?”
Freeing, healing, mine.