With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicking off in New York City this month, it is a great time to recognize the many talented fashion designers who call Manhattan home. We are very excited to profile a few designers who not only live and work in New York, but also base the entire operations of their brands in this amazing city. Weíve rounded up four amazing designers who are all about being Made in NYC.
First up, menswear designer David Hart is poised to debut his sophomore collection after a warm inception last season. We first met David in February when Oribe Educator Kien Hoang helped him complete his vision for a Ď60s inspired secret agent fashion show. This season, David promises to entice us with an entirely new story. Read below to learn about his start in fashion, his designing influences and what he loves about New York.
What influenced you to become a designer?
I wish I had a more exciting story, but the truth is that I have always loved clothing and fashion. When I was younger, I inherited an old trunk full of ties that belonged to my great grandfather, Isaac Hart, who was a milliner in New York City in the 1900s. I was always fascinated by these ties, and I'm sure they had some impact on me at a young age to pursue a career in design.
You started your brand with hand-tailored neckties, and last February you showed your first complete menswear collection at NYFW. Whatís been the most challenging aspect of expanding your brand? The most rewarding?
The most challenging aspect of growing my business has been the lack of time and hands. I am still a very small business and am personally involved in every aspect from design to selling and marketing; it's quite tumultuous at times. Of course, I love that I can make my own schedule and also build relationships with people that I may not have been able to do otherwise. It's so exciting for me to see the finished product in stores and even better to see people wearing my clothing.
What are your main sources of inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration comes to me from everywhere. I'm obsessed with popular culture and everything happening in the news. I think my collections are a product of all that I absorb on a daily basis. I am also drawn to nostalgia and things from the past. It's the combination of these things that, in my opinion, are modern and new about my collection.
How would you describe the David Hart customer in three words?
Sartorial, nonchalant, nostalgic
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Christian Lacroix and Oscar de la Renta are my favorite contemporary designers. I also have a deep admiration for the great designers of the past such as Paul Poiret, Cristůbal Balenciaga, Andrť CourrŤges, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, MainbocherÖ the list could go on and on.
Who is your style icon?
Rod Serling from The Twilight Zone
How would you describe your personal style? What do you wear on an average day?
My style is eclectic. I've been told I dress like my grandfatherówhatever that meansóalthough, in my opinion, Grandpa has amazing style.
How do you like to style your hair? Do you have a hair routine?
Neat and clean. I always have a classic men's haircut with a part on the left. I don't like to be too fussy with my hair.
Why did you decide to produce your collection in New York?
Supporting New York City's garment district and keeping jobs in the USA is something very important to me. I love that I can visit my factories and get to know the people that are building my clothing on a personal level. It's nice to see the time and love that goes into every seam.
What do you love about New York?
The energy of the city, it can be surreal at times. I sometimes feel that New York City takes on a role as its own character or persona in my daily life, like an old friend that will always be there for me.
Whatís your favorite NYC spot (or spots if you canít decide)?
The Brooklyn Flea on the weekends, Raines Law Room after work and late nights at Yaffa Cafe.
What are you most looking forward to this fashion week?
I'm always excited for fashion week because it's exciting to see what the talented designers of New York have crafted, but it's also like peering into a window of the future; it's how you will be dressing six months from now.
What can you tell us about your Spring 2014 collection?
One word: ALOHA!