New York-based designer Olivia Anthony’s label may have begun as a “t-shirt and a logo,” but has quickly evolved into a growing powerhouse of street-infused cut and sewn designs. Founded as a platform in 2012, her design efforts exist in two silos. House of Olivia produces special items for editorials and videos and Liv Streetwear is her ready-to-wear line.
Influenced by her background as a dancer and an appreciation for both movement and music, her designs are edgy, effortless and playful. It’s a look tailor made for singer SZA, who tapped the label for her all-important appearance at Afropunk’s Brooklyn concert.
We caught up with Anthony a couple days after the show (at a fitting for an upcoming editorial) and you can check out what she has to say about her efforts as a designer below.
Snobette: Can you explain House of Olivia versus Liv Streetwear?
Anthony: The label has two components. House of Olivia is experimental and more for editorial and Liv Streetwear is the line we sell.
Snobette: When did you start the label?
Anthony: “It started in 2012. I launched my website [while attending Alabama State] as a junior. I wanted a platform for my photo shoots. I created a t-shirt with my logo for a shoot and people wanted it. T-shirts turned into sweatshirts and hats and fashion shows staged at the college.”
Snobette: What did you study?
Anthony: “I was studying theater arts. I was a dance major, but I was always love in fashion. I was the head stylist for Elite Models, a college organization that produced fashion events.”
Snobette: “Dance as an art form requires a lot of discipline. Did it influence you as a designer?
Anthony: “I feel like my background as a dancer has created a connection to music and that’s influenced my design. Fashion and music are very connected. But yes, I danced ballet, which is very disciplined. You can’t show up with your hair all over the place. Every little detail counts and is scrutinized. If you have the wrong type of shoe on, you get kicked out of the class and that’s a mindset that matters in fashion, too.”
Snobette: What is the story behind the snap-off pants SZA wore at Afropunk?
Anthony: “They’re part of a new collection that is a love letter to our culture. The collection is inspired by Freaknik in Atlanta so it includes the snap-off pants, rugby tops plus yellow and pink overalls.
Snobette: Did you know SZA was going to wear them at Afropunk?
Anthony: “Yes, I knew. The stylist is Ziggy, he reached out to me and asked for a couple of the pieces. I was really excited. Ziggy and I met through a mutual friend in the fashion industry and we’re really close friends. That was his first time styling her.
Snobette: When do the snap-off pants become available for pre-order?
Anthony: “Pre-orders will go live sometime [during the week of August 28, 2017.]
Snobette: How do you see your line evolving from a trend perspective?
Anthony: “I don’t want my line to be a trend, I want longevity, I want to go slow and steady, and continue to learn and grow, and eventually expand overseas to London, Tokyo. I want to grow worldwide. I want to do it correctly that’s why I’m taking my time. My biggest thing is take my time and really learn.”
Your website visuals are amazing. Do you have an art background?
Anthony: “Me and my web developer Alex did it together. He really pulled a lot out of me. We collaborated on the look and it ended up really great.”
Snobette: You were born in Alabama, what part of your Southern heritage do you take with you?
Anthony: “I’m so friendly, I don’t like to judge, I like to love people and help people. In the South, we’re so nice. New York can be so cut throat, but it’s made me tougher and that’s been an important part of my growth. too.”
Snobette: “You’re part of a new generation of designers who are rooted in Instagram and direct sales. What are your thoughts on trade and fashion shows?”
Anthony: “I’m doing a pop up store this month and next month in Harlem and Brooklyn. I want to do a fashion show in the near future. Instagram is a very powerful place, but I don’t want to rely on it so I will be looking to other methods to spread the word on our clothing line.”
Check out the label’s fall collection below and visit oliviaanthony.com if you’re interested in pre-ordering the snap-off track pants.