There are few designers that start their first collection at age before they get to middle school. Well, perhaps not a full collection, but Kevan Hall, growing up in Detroit, already knew which celebrities he wanted to dress at age 8. Knowing that he was getting inspired and sketching at such a young age, it is no surprise that he went on to receive the Peacock award from the Fashion Institute for “Outstanding Fashion Design” and later was presented with the “Great American Designer” award by the NAACP. With ignorance for fads and passion for classic looks, Kevan is branching out to bigger things, leaving us at awe every season. I visited Mr. Hall at his beautiful studio to chat and perhaps try to get an inside look into the creative mind behind the modern glamour of Kevan Hall Designs .
VH: Thanks for meeting with me Kevan, I'm going to dive right in. How did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Kevan: Being a designer is something I've always wanted to do. Even though I didn't know there was such a thing as fashion designer. When I was a child, about 8 years old or so I would sketch and pretend I was dressing movie stars. I would look at old variety TV shows and redesign their costumes and watch old movies with Greta Garbo, Kate Hepburn while sketching their outfits. That is how I started to sketch and draw. My parents were very supportive and gave me art books and supplies everything I needed to follow that passion.
VH: If it wasn't fashion, what would have been your second choice for a profession?
K: Probably architecture. I love environments and beautiful buildings, the look of a beautiful city. .
VH: What would you say are you biggest inspirations?
K: My inspirations are beautiful women who love to look amazing. Women that enjoy fashion and enjoy being women. It must be great to be able to dress up, change your look, your hair, your make up. You can go with flat heel, high heel, I mean its got to be great! That is in sorts an inspiration as well as art books. As I travel I look for the next thing that jumps up and inspires me. That could be anywhere from scuba diving trip to an art museum. Perhaps an iconic designer or movies. All those things inspire my work. I'm always looking and open to inspiration.
VH: True artist always are. Do you have any favorite fabrics you like to work with?
K: I love working with drapey fabrics like chiffons, tulles, any time of silk crepe. Really luxurious fabrics.
VH: Do you have a favorite color?
K: No favorite colors per say. I like the classic combination of black and white. I think its always great, it looks good on everyone. Its just very graphic and I love that. I like interesting combinations and that is one of the things that people have responded-.my color sense. I like to find colors that are unusual that you haven't seen and then I put them together. That way I really build a beautiful pallet and a beautiful story.
VH: What do you consider your biggest challenge as a designer?
K: Biggest challenge is probably the combination of managing and running a business and also keeping the creative side as well. As an owner of the company I have to balance creativity with commerce. That is to say what is going to give the kind of press I want that can propel the brand and make it exciting for fashion editors to look at and be interested in showing, but at the same time it has to be something that a client will want to actually wear and its useful, has an actual purpose. I think that is very challenging. To walk that fine like between something that is build with skills and still artistic and edgy.
VH: It seems like you are doing a great job balancing! Who would you say are you favorite designers?
K: Madeleine Vionnet, who was an incredible designer in the 1930's and developed the biased cut. I love things that are soft, fluid and slinky , and that is what she pioneered. I love Christian Dior, the 1947 look and the way he ushered the new glamour after the war.
VH: Speaking of legends, if you had a chance to speak to someone who is no longer alive, who would it be?
K: I would like to speak to Balenciaga. I would love to just talk about the craft and the technique, and skills that goes with making a beautiful, sculptural suit, dress or gown. I think I would choose him because I know that he actually used his hands and actually draped, as suppose to Dior. Even though I appreciate and love what he did he was more of a sketcher and more of an artist. Balenciaga on the other hand was more of a tailor and a craftsman.
VH: What would you tell an aspiring designer?
K: I think what is important is to learn as much as they possibly can. I would say go to a school and get an education. Then work as an apprentice with someone that is in the same field that you are interested in. Stick with that and really learn all that you can. Make yourself consumed with fashion. Read every magazine and book on history of fashion. Find great coffee books that might be filled with inspirations. Shop vintage stores to see how things were made when they were made well. And seek inspiration there as well.
VH: You are so right. I love vintage shops, that is when things were made with time and precision.
K: Yes, now most things are just thrown together.
VH: Because the society wants everything quick and easy! Do you have a favorite piece that you have created that you would want to be known for?
K: No, for me its about a body of work, being consistent every season. Creating a beautiful collection, so you continue to build the anticipation for people to see the collection as well as to build the brand.
VH: So what's next for Kevan Hall?
K: Right now I am doing a number of licenses. I just launched my secondary collection which is a less expensive line. Cocktail dresses that will be sold more to department stores and specialty boutiques. I also have a ready to wear collection that we are launching, sportswear and more day dresses. We just started carrying it in Bloomingdale's. We are also developing a collection of fine jewelry, another devision I am starting. Basically we are broadening the brand to include many other products that have that Kevan Hall aesthetic.
VH: That's great. People are shrinking down and you are branching out!
K: Well, you know, you cannot stay in one spot!
VH: When people think Kevan Hall what would you want to be popping into their heads?
K: Glamorous, incredibly well made. Beautiful to wear, comfortable with a sense of ease, uncomplicated.
VH: Sounds very appealing! You definitely have a lot going on right now. What is your main goal for the brand?
K: To brand Kevan Hall Company to household name. To encompass the ready to wear collection and the couture collection. I want to start doing beautiful things with home- pillows, linens and eventually perfume. To have a whole brand and then build a store that will have all the different products in the store. Where people could just come in and buy everything that I like and everything that I love.