Velvit Welcomes Elle Heavin
Elle Heavin of Elle Heavin Clothing talks music, woodland fantasy, and childhood design contests
Velvit sat down with Elle Heavin, designer of her self-titled clothing line, for some insight into her fashion background, her inspirations, and her love for Betsey Johnson.
Velvit: What living artist inspires you?
Elle Heavin: Lykke Li. Her music is probably the biggest inspiration for my last collection. The thing that I love most about her music is the emotion that she has in it and how you can just feel the depths of what she’s feeling through it. That’s kind of what I put into this last collection. I was going through a hard time myself and I just kind of poured out my whole heart into the collection.
V: You can really hear emotion in music, but as far as fashion, how do you show emotion in your clothing?
EH: With this last collection, I [showed emotion] through the delicate fabrics. I found the fabric to be very fragile, and a lot of the dresses are very sheer, so there’s something almost raw about them. You can see right through the fabric and you’re no longer holding anything back. You can see straight through to who you are and what you’re trying to say. It’s almost like you’ve given up that shield and this is what it is. I also did a lot of oversized hoods where you’re still protected and covered, but you’re putting out what you’re feeling.
V: When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
EH: Ever since I was little, actually. I started sewing when I was 10 years old, and it was just something that I loved doing. It was a passion right from the start. I just wanted to keep wearing and figuring out how to create clothes. I could look at clothing and figure out how it was constructed and then add to it, add what I wanted. I’ve always been very petite, and growing up it was really hard to find anything that fit me, so designing was about altering and figuring out things that would work for me.
V: What was one of the first things you made when you were young?
EH: I have always loved dresses, and at that time, I was obsessed with Betsey Johnson. All I wanted to do was make big party dresses. I grew up in Wyoming, so I wanted something that was huge and interesting. One of the very first things I designed completely from scratch was a piece I designed for a Jared Gold fashion show. He held a design contest, which I ended up winning. He had always been an inspiration to me as well as Betsey Johnson, so I kind of put their two aesthetics together and created something from it.
V: What is your biggest influence outside of the fashion world?
EH: My biggest influence is by far nature. Almost every collection has some element of nature, even just the shadows in clothing. I have always looked to nature. I am a Taurus and an Earth sign so nature is very grounding to me. I can go outside and daydream and come up with a vision of what I want to do. A lot of it is emotion; it’s what I’m feeling at the time.
V: Is there a particular place in nature?
EH: I love the forest. I love being in the woods. That’s probably where I find most of my inspiration, just going out and getting lost in the woods. I love fantasy, I love coming up with a whole magical setting and putting myself into it and designing pieces I would want to wear in the woods.
V: If you could go back in time for just a moment, what era would you choose to visit?
EH: The Renaissance Era. I absolutely love castles, and the clothing they had – those long, delicate dresses – they were so precisely made. The skill was so intense. I still don’t know how they came up with something so great back then. Even the fabrics, the textiles were insane. I feel like I could find a lot of inspiration going back in that time.
V: With your new line coming out, who would you say is your audience?
EH: Probably other artists and people who can really understand emotion. A lot of my designs are pretty much pure emotion, and I want people to feel something when they wear them. I want people to feel what I’m trying to portray and what I’m trying to put out there. This last line, to me, was about finding my own self-confidence and becoming who I am. I want people to feel confident in my clothing. I want them to feel like they can be who they are without worrying about what other people think or about what’s going on around them. I just want to people to feel good in their clothes and be able to conquer whatever they need to conquer.
V: What is the first piece of clothing that made you feel something?
EH: The most important piece was the Betsey Johnson dress I wore to the Jared Gold fashion show. I was in such a rush that I threw on my dress and I totally forgot to take off my jeans and my red flats – the outfit made no sense whatsoever. When they called me up to the stage, the first thing Jared said was, “Wow girl, you got style!”
V: What designs of your own have brought about the most feeling?
EH: I am horrible at getting rid of clothing because everything I own has a sentimental feeling to me. I still have clothes from 6th grade that just remind me of things I would never get rid of. So I did a line where I recreated almost every piece of clothing that was important to me and made them a little bit more modern.
V: Where do you shop the most?
EH: I absolutely love to thrift shop. I love going to little vintage stores and picking up whatever speaks to me. Here in Wyoming we have some of the most amazing thrift stores I have ever been to in my life. Right now I’m wearing this little vintage black dress with a pink elastic waist and buttons going all the way down that is just so comfortable. I love to be comfortable. That’s something I always try to show in my own designs: comfort, as well as ease. Design is all about the cut and the silhouette, but for someone on the go, I think it’s really important to be able to feel comfortable but still have a sense of fashion and portray what you want to portray.
V: Is there any advice you would give aspiring designers?
EH: Be yourself. Be true to yourself. Always thrive and drive to do what you feel. Being a designer and being an artist are all about what you feel, and you need to be true to that. Being true to yourself and how you feel will take you where you need to be. Don’t worry about what others think or if it’s right or wrong, just do what you feel.
For more information on Elle Heavin and Elle Heavin Clothing, visit our Artist profiles and shop our Velvit boutique.