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Porter
The Fashion Memo

The designer interview: Gabriela Hearst

At a time when women are fed up of dressing for the male gaze, GABRIELA HEARST is a welcome – and very wearable – voice of reason. She talks to EMMA SELLS about designing for grown-ups, sustainable fashion and why activist Cecile Richards is the perfect muse

Photography Tiffany NicholsonStyling Emily Jenkins
Fashion
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I wanted to create a true, luxury American brand that was also very conscious about how we were making our product. We call it ‘honest luxury’. I’m only interested in working with the best materials, the best craftspeople and the best mills I can find

Hearst launched her eponymous label back in 2015, spurred on by the death of her father, which meant that she inherited the family ranch in Uruguay where she grew up. “It’s a grass-fed, organic cattle and merino sheep-growing ranch,” she explains. “My family’s been doing this for six generations.” Until then, she’d owned a contemporary line, Candela, in New York for 12 years and, under pressure to keep the prices competitive, had been using cheaper fabrics and materials. It was an approach that she didn’t feel comfortable with. “What I really wanted was to be able to create a true, luxury American brand that was also very conscious about how we were making our product,” she says. “We call it ‘honest luxury’. I’m only interested in working with the best materials, the best craftspeople and the best mills I can find. Firstly, because I believe that when you’re supporting quality, you’re supporting passion because, as with my family business, there are mills in Italy where they’ve been doing this for generations and sometimes it takes one more generation to create a great product. And because when you work with the best materials, it means that you only need to buy a few things that are good quality, you can invest in your pieces.”

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From left: FW17, FW17, SS18, SS18, FW18, FW18, SS19

The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.