The perks of my role as Darling’s Fashion Editor include attending fashion shows, reviewing collections and meeting designers. On occasion, I also cross paths with inspirational artists who have a truth to their vision that’s as inspiring as their line.
I had the pleasure of recently meeting accessory designer Vicki von Holzhausen of von Holzhausen and she’s truly the woman extraordinaire. I admire Vicki’s ethic, brilliance, grace and, of course, her talent. After our meet, I was excited to share her story with Darling readers and put another ethical and sustainable brand on your fashion radar.
Here’s why her collection is one worth knowing:
Natalie Hemmati: Vicki, fashion was not your first career choice. Can you tell me a bit about your career prior to launching von Holzhausen?
Vicki von Holzhausen: I’ve been interested in design for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Pasadena, California near Art Center College of Design gave me the opportunity to learn about design at an early age while in high school. I ended up becoming fascinated with automotive design because designing a car seemed so exciting — they are the ultimate products and shape the future in such a dramatic way.
I was especially interested in European design and ended up working in Europe right out of school for Audi Advanced Design and then Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design before moving back to California. I had a great experience as a car designer and saw some of my ideas go from sketch on the page to real cars on the road, which is what I set out to accomplish.
NH: How did your experience in the automobile industry then evolve to fashion?
VvH: While in Europe I fell in love with fashion, especially the aspirational and lifestyle elements that were very similar to the cars I was designing.
My experiences allowed me to see fashion from a different perspective and come up with a unique point of view, which I brought to the collection I envisioned. This is reflected in the von Holzhausen brand mission, the styling of the collection and the manufacturing of the products.
My aim was to find a better way of creating accessories with a focus on sustainable style. At the center of this vision has been the use of advanced materials that are beneficial to our environment and have qualities that are better than the current traditional materials used to create accessories.
NH: What is the most important factor you take into consideration when designing?
VvH: I think there are enough fashion and accessories brands in the marketplace, so the thing I consider is how my products can really improve our world and solve real problems while still being exciting and desirable.
NH: Where do you find/draw inspiration for your collections?
VvH: I’m constantly inspired by my surroundings. As a native Californian, I draw inspiration form the beauty around me for both the vibe of the collection as well as the details, such as our subdued color palette. There is an effortless way to life here that is still very aspirational and sophisticated, and I try to capture that in the pieces I design.
The thing I consider is how my products can really improve our world and solve real problems while still being exciting and desirable.
NH: How would you describe your collection and products?
VvH: The collection focuses on a holistic approach to ethical style. We make our bags and accessories out of an advanced performance material which has the look and feel of supple leather but without all the negative aspects, so it’s good for people, animals and the environment.
All of our products have a timeless look and seasonless palette, so they transcend trends and can be worn for many seasons to come.
NH: What would be your advice to someone who dreams of starting their own fashion line?
VvH: Do your research and make sure you understand your customers’ needs before starting to design.
NH: Where can readers purchase your products?
VvH: von Holzhausen is available exclusively on our website at vonholzhausen.com. Offering the collection direct to our customers allows us the ability to keep the prices transparent. We are, in essence, offering our bags at what would traditionally be the wholesale price.
Images via von Holzhausen