Emily Hallman designer, Emily McNeely, walking her dog Harry wearing the Charlotte skirt
“Here is what we love about the Hallman woman: her clothing is an accessory to her personality, not the definition of it.” – Emily McNeely
Emily McNeely has been designing, curating ideas, and planning the aesthetics of her clothing line for years- before she even began college. The Austin based fashion designer’s new spring 2012 collection for Emily Hallman, her fashion line, is her fourth. And, of course, she’s already begun working on the collections for fall 2012 and spring 2013. And, given the popularity of the skirts and dresses of her current and previous collections, she is sure to have a waiting list for fall that makes a southern summer linger even longer than usual.
So, where did she come up with the name of her design label – which simply radiates true southern chic style? “Hallman is my paternal grandmother’s maiden name,” she said, “And, for as long as I can remember, I’ve known that I wanted to use it – I love the fact that it’s a family name!” Yes, even when naming her brand, Emily was sure to stay true to her roots.
Emily Hallman – the Liz dress - this dress makes me want to sit on a long southern porch in a rocking chair, sip sweet tea, and fan myself!
Emily’s favorite flowers: daisies, peonies, and hydrangeas – it was a hard choice- but I asked her to choose!
For most of her life, Emily has known she’s had particular creative talents that might lead her in the direction of fashion design someday. “My love for clothing truly began at age 8- when I made a suit for my younger brother using only copy paper and staples,” she said, “When I discovered that I could actually study fashion and build a career around it, I jumped at the opportunity.” Since she’s graduated from college, not a day has gone by that she hasn’t sketched, researched, created patterns, or sewn something.
Emily’s collection includes garments with names like Evelyn, Mabel, and Millie. “I have so much fun naming the designs,” she said, “And, I love that my southern roots shine through that!” She said she likes to choose very traditional and classic names and sometimes names pieces after a friend or family member- especially if the garment reflects that individual’s personality or style. “I ultimately decide to name each of the designs because it’s fun for me,” she said, “And, it also gives each design a little extra character!”
Coffee or tea? “I started drinking coffee in college, and I’ve never really looked back! Occasionally, I like a cup of tea (my grandmother is British, after all).” – Emily
She’s inspired by designers including Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Victoria Beckham, Tom Ford, and Valentino. And, she’d describe her own personal style as a direct reflection of the Emily Hallman brand- classic and very feminine. “I tend to favor a limited number of pieces each season, because I wear my favorite garments over and over again before transitioning to the next season,” she said.
Growing up in North Carolina certainly left a lasting impression. Emily’s southern characteristics and sensibilities have visibly made their way into each of her collections. What does she believe most strongly sets her designs apart from the rest? “The pieces are unique, intelligently designed, and very high quality,” said Emily. Simply, Emily Hallman is crafted to last a lifetime.
So, then what might be Emily’s favorite piece out of all of her designs? “There is a special place in my heart for the Millie dress,” she said, “It’s such a classic dress, and so much fun to wear!” And, is she looking forward to celebrating any specific styles or trends when it comes to spring and summer 2012? “Color, skirts, and linen,” she said, “I can’t wait to always look forward to dusting off my favorite linen pieces, especially the white ones. There’s not much I enjoy wearing more than crisp white linen.”
Emily’s favorite place to travel is around Europe: “There is such a rich history in Europe,” she said, “And, I love being immersed in such an established culture.”
“Dusting-off” her own treasured wardrobe, is a common practice of Emily’s and she designs her own pieces on the premise that this will to hold true – that they too will become forever pieces. “I hope that the Emily Hallman brand brings back a desire and appreciation for quality, classic design that is sadly missing from the mass-produced, often ill-fitting, poor quality options currently in stores,” she said, “I also hope to raise awareness for garments made in America. We live in a society that is obsessed with instant gratification and the appreciation for special, handmade garments has dwindled over the years.” Yes, one of her goals is to inspire others to renew their love for special garments that are made in the United States.
Just recently, Emily launched a children’s collection- making her classically chic Emily Hallman aesthetic accessible to both mothers and daughters. “The whole reason I decided to launch a childrenswear line was in response to high demand for dresses for my client’s daughters, nieces, granddaughters, etc.,” said Emily, “I was very pleasantly surprised by it, and I will be adding a few more designs to that line in the coming weeks. Those dresses are so much fun, and I just love seeing little ladies in their very own Hallman dress!”
Today, after all that she’s accomplished, what is the greatest single reward Emily’s achieved from launching her own company? “I absolutely adore meeting the beautiful, wonderful women who have discovered the Emily Hallman brand and responded so positively to the aesthetic,” she said, “Not much is more motivating than that!”