Mississippi born Hilton Hollis defines his collection as simple and refined with attention to detail. The New York Times described his designs as “deceptively simple.” One of his strengths? His designs make women look smaller. Even though he lives in NY now, this Mississippi native still stays close to his roots – he recently did a fashion show in Carthage to help raise money for his elementary school, which he plans on making a yearly event.
How did you get started?
I was born in Natchez and grew up in Carthage. In 1997, I went to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York. While I was there, I trained under Tim Gardner from Calvin Klein. My first job was with Dana Buchman, who was eventually bought out by Liz Claiborne. I’ve done a little bit of everything – menswear for Ralph Lauren, helping Reba McEntire with her collection. That is the thing about me and my career, I have always tried to do whatever opportunities were given to me that I felt were good for my career growth. I always entertain the idea of trying something new and different.
|Hilton with his dog Rexton|
What is your favorite part of your job?
The creative expression. For me, it is all about looking at fabrics and realizing what works. I get to travel a lot and meet with my customers face to face. I feel like a lot designers can lose sight of who their customer really is.
|Actress Megan Hilty in Hilton Hollis|
What are the biggest challenges?
Running the business part of it. I think any designer who doesn’t have an entire team behind them would say the business side is a challenge. I deal with every facet of the business. But I enjoy it because it is a challenge.
What inspires you? Where do you look for inspiration?
Travel. And the fabrics are really important. I find that fabrics speak to me in a way that I know exactly what I am going to do with a fabric once I see it. And feedback from my customers – that inspires me all of the time.
|Picking out Spring 2014 fabrics|
What is your favorite thing in your closet?
I just bought a washed leather jacket. It is an olive green leather that is washed and really distressed looking. It has panelling of knit down the arms. That is probably it right now.
What are some of your favorite trends?
I’m not a fan of following trends. I aspire to look beyond the trends. I touch on trends for color. I always tell my customers to let the trendy pieces be the add ons that you don’t spend a lot of money on. For the basis of your wardrobe, let them be classics and invest good money in those pieces. I’m all about add ons.
Here are just a few of my favorites from his upcoming collection!
Be looking for Hilton on an upcoming reality show (he didn’t tell me which one!) which will be coming out in the spring.
Thanks so much to Hilton for talking to me! And make sure to check out the entire Hilton Hollis collection!
*All images thanks to Hilton Hollis