NN: I’m so anxious to know and I’m sure this is a probably backwards and all as far as what to ask a person when you first meet them, but hey thats how we do at Nuvany Ni’ce…So how was the Gen Arts show this past weekend and how did this opportunity come about for you?
MH: Actually the date for the fashion show was changed to April 12. I entered the contest and was selected as one of four women’s wear designers, nine designers total for the fashion show. I’ve never done a fashion show before so I am really excited. I just launched my line last January by doing a small presentation in a new shop during the trade show Bread & Butter in Barcelona. But this Gen Art event will give me a great opportunity to make my debut in the States, and that’s exactly what I was hoping to do, so I am very honored to be part of the event.
NN: Okay so know can you introduce yourself and give us a little background where your from, education, when you launched your line?
MH:I’m originally from Atlanta. I studied Industrial Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, worked for a few years with a design firm back in Atlanta and decided to pursue a career in fashion after starting a small one-of-a-kind t-shirt business. I chose to go to Domus Academy in Milan because I did a lot of research and with my diverse background in design, it seemed like the right choice, also considering I had always admired European style and wanted to live there. After Domus, I worked for 2 years for Meltin’ Pot, an Italian denim company, then at one of the most important Italian concept stores, Lazzari of Treviso, then various consultancies for another American fashion designer working in Italy and brands of the Max Mara group: Max&Co and New Penny. My background is largely in denim: research and design. I love making jeans! It’s fascinating because you can go anywhere and see probably at least 80% of the people around wearing jeans. But after several years in the denim industry, I decided that I wanted to make my own fashion statement, so I started my line, and it is truly a reflection of what I think about dressing and style. It’s me. Jeans are for the rest of the world.
NN: Your logo reads Made in Italy by an American Girl…I imagine just living in Italy itself is an adventure and add to that being a fashion designer, MAJOR!!! Why did you choose to base yourself in Italy as opposed to America?
MH:In my first job, I was living in the middle of nowhere among olive trees in the most southern point of the “heel of the boot” (Puglia) and I had only one friend who spoke English. I literally learned how to speak Italian in a denim factory. Southern Italy is chaotic: filled with people who drive crazy, yell when they speak, don’t work very much, and have no respect for any kind of law or electrical codes and yet I left a piece of my heart there- it is such an amazing, beautiful, untouched-by-the-rest-of-the-world place. I chose to stay in Italy because after my work experience here I have built a strong base of contacts and resources. Everything I do is here- and even in Italian. Since I learned everything here, I would be lost if I had to read a pattern or talk about production methods in English.
NN: From your viewpoint what are some of the most apparent differences in fashion abroad vs. the U.S.?
MH:I love America because everything is so exaggerated and there is so much variety. It has the best and the worst, and everything in between. Our sense of freedom allows us to express our personal identities. You’ll find the same style sense in England. (Despite our cultural diversity, Americans overall are quite Anglo Saxon, at least on this subject) In Italy, people are more communal, and it’s more about fitting in and being respected among the community and having one small detail that makes you individual. In general, the way Italian people dress is about being classic and elegant but in fashion. In Europe, generally speaking, there is more regard for fashion and clothes are more fitted to the shape of the body.
NN: I can’t choose a favorite, I luv all of your dresses…How long does it take to produce one dress and is this a solo project or do you have help?
MH:It’s a solo project. I might take on an intern next summer. I have people asking me all the time! Because the washing and dyeing is an artistic process, the production of each dress can be quite time consuming. I’m very happy with the results, though. In the future, as I do bigger quantities, I will use a washing facility who specializes in these kind of techniques.
NN: Do you have any plans of expanding the line any further? What is your ultimate goal for Megan Huntz Dresses?
MH:To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I have an ultimate goal. My goal now is to sell all of the dresses I make, so that I can make a new series and keep on doing what I love. Beyond that, one of the reasons why I started my own business is so that I can make my own rules and live a balanced life. Work isn’t everything. Maybe that’s one of the beautiful things I take away from living in Italy.
NN: Can you tell us a few of your favorite shopping spots in Italy and also any indie designers that your feelin right now?
MH:Lazzari of Treviso,
10 Corso Como, Milano
Top Ten, Torino
I love Sara Lanzi, Casey Vidalenc, 6267, Bouboutic, Nicole Brundage (shoes), Roberto del Carlo (shoes), Isabel Marant and Vanessa Bruno at the moment.