While a student at NYU, London-born and LA-raised Harley Viera Newton began DJing at weekly parties among friends. Irrefutably talented and palpably cool, her reputation spread through the city and what started as a hobby quickly turned into a fully fledged career. Her big break came when Dior contacted her about a DJ ambassadorship and she became a household name within the fashion industry, going from performing at small, smoky bars to global fashion shows and swanky A-list events. "It seemed far too good to be true… but somehow it was real. I ended up working with Dior for three years," Harley recounts. "It was definitely a turning point of my career."
Inspired by her personal style and busy life, Harley decided to create a line of dresses for every girl-on-the-go that could be worn year round. Uncomplicated, feminine and versatile, HVN dresses allow you to do just about anything - and in Harley's case, everything - while still looking on-trend.
Why did you start the line and what inspired it?
I've had a really strong vision of what the HVN dresses would look like since high school. I fell in love with vintage growing up in LA, and dresses soon became my everyday uniform. After building up a pretty big collection, I longed to update the classic vintage styles I loved so much. I imagined specific prints I could never find in stores and considered which fabrics would make the dresses feel and flow better. When I graduated from college, I began to save money and research how to make those ideas a reality. I launched HVN in June 2016 but spent two years preparing and sampling the silhouettes and fabrics before that.
Who is wearing your dresses and why?
I created these dresses hoping that they would make women's lives easier. I want the HVN dress to be the no-brainer, comfortable piece in your wardrobe that you can throw on when you're late for work and have five minutes to get ready in the morning. But I also want HVN dresses to be fitted and flattering enough to then transition into the evening with a quick change of accessories. The silhouettes are simple and classic, but the prints are personal and conversational to give the styles a fun twist.
What can we expect in terms of the evolution of your brand?
Through designing the first HVN collections, I really fell in love with print design. As HVN evolves, I'm experimenting with other styles that the prints can lend themselves to well. Stay tuned for the autumn collection…
What is the important advice you were given before starting a line?
I think it's really important to be aware of the commitment you are making. It is all-consuming (in the best way) and an extraordinary amount of work so you have be 110% dedicated. I have designer friends who warned me about this, so I was careful to wait until the time was right for me and I knew exactly what I wanted to create.
Who supported you throughout the process?
My mother Cristina and brother Dean were incredible throughout the early stages of the process. They had a jewellery line together a few years ago, so their experience and advice was invaluable. My fiancé has been my emotional support system - I couldn't have done it without his encouragement.
Which is your favourite place you've visited for work or pleasure?
Where should we stay, eat and shop in Tokyo?
Stay in Shibuya, eat breakfast at the fish market and shop in Harajuku.
You're constantly travelling, which items can you not travel without?
- A short-sleeved HVN dress and a strappy HVN dress (right now, I'm packing the vine-print silk Maria dress and Lily falling floral-print silk slip)
- HVN silk eye mask and Tempur-Pedic travel pillow, both in-flight essentials
- Biologique P50 toner and Caudalie travel-size beauty elixir
- Bose noise-cancelling in-ear headphones
- HVN cherry pyjama set
- Fiji water