We sat down with top fashion designer Kevan Hall to talk about his love for style, from where he draws his inspiration and how he is changing the world one design at a time.
Fashion designer Kevan Hall’s creative eye, elegant perspective and intuitive design process makes him any fashion lover’s best friend. Rather than worshiping trends or creating designs that speak more about him than the wearer, Hall’s penchant for glamour and understanding of the psyche and style of a woman wanting to look her best are his greatest assets.
That’s why some of the biggest names in Hollywood turn to him for red-carpet looks, including Vanessa Williams, Virginia Madsen, Debra Messing, Katherine Heigl, Gabourey Sidibe and Tina Fey. Our publisher is a fan.
His passion for fashion emerged when he was merely seven years old. Detroit-born Kevan Hall knew designing would be his future. Later, he attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. He founded Kevan Hall Couture in 1983, selling to luxury retailers including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.
The list of big names goes on when you consider his prestigious reign as Design and Creative Director at Halston, where he was enlisted to reinvigorate the brand and dressed Celine Dion, Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron and Salma Hayek. Two years later, in 2002, he launched the Kevan Hall Collection, a ready-to-wear line created by this talented, top fashion designer.
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Throughout his career, he’s focused on giving back. Kevan Hall, alongside TJ Walker and Angela Dean, is a founder of the Black Design Collective, the result of a casual coffee-shop hang-out during which they discussed the incredible successes and opportunities they’ve had, as well as the many challenges they faced as African Americans, in the fashion industry. The organization brings awareness to the history and relevance of the global impact of black design, supporting members with resources, mentorships, e-commerce platforms and business opportunities.
In this time where the narrative of racial inequality has gotten louder, Hall feels it is important to focus on black creatives, including incredible black fashion designers, interior designers and architects, as well as those making great strides in other industries, including medicine.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Kevan Hall to get his perspective on all things fashion and how he has made adjustments in his career as a designer during these times. For instance, the Black Design Collective launched a COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund to assist fashion, costume, accessory and textile designers, along with affiliates such as photographers, makeup artists, graphic artists and others who have seen their livelihoods and way of operating impacted by the pandemic.
Both an iconic fashion designer and a humanitarian at heart, Hall has made some incredible contributions to the community, such as opening an Etsy shop called “KevanCares.” Each mask sale resulted in the donation of an additional mask to someone in need.
“We did a program with UCLA Medical Center, where they asked us to add sleeves to existing hospital gowns because they wanted to have more protection. So, we added sleeves to the hospital gowns, then we made matching masks,” Hall said. “They supplied and spread those to some of the other medical and nursing facilities in the UCLA family.”
Hall explained that the global pandemic is a perfect example of thinking on your feet, pivoting and trying to make the best out of a situation when you are blindsided by unprecedented events. “It’s a life lesson everyone should learn,” he said.
The global pandemic is a perfect example of thinking on your feet, pivoting and trying to make the best out of a situation when you are blindsided by unprecedented events.
Plus, it inspired his idea to bring back the iconic house dress. Around Mother’s Day, Kevan Hall reflected on his mother looking fabulous in house dresses with beautiful patterns and snaps down the front. He thought, “You know what? I should bring back that house dress,” and set off on his latest creative journey, selecting cotton prints to create a swinging design that can be fitted with a cute belt.
“When running errands, she could put on a cute pair of little Chanel flats, a pair of runners or a little kitten heel and look really chic. Then, when she comes back home, she can take the belt off and lounge around and watch something on TV or jump on a Zoom call,” top fashion designer Kevan Hall said. “We also did some easy jumpsuits that aren’t fitted. They’re floaty, easy Palazzo pants.
“Now, it’s really about a pretty top and a beautiful sleeve. Women might put on a sweatpant, but they want to look great when they’re on a Zoom call or Facetime.”
Whether you’re running to the grocery store or joining a virtual meeting, you can dress the piece up or down to suit your environment and personal fashion desires. Nowadays, it’s all about looking good from the waist up when you’re engaging in virtual meetings—or, as Kevan Hall defines it, “above the keyboard dressing,” a new take on “above the table dressing,” in which people put on a pair of jeans and a fabulous pair of heels with a great blouse at dinner.
Now, it's really about a pretty top and a beautiful sleeve. Women might put on a sweatpant, but they want to look great when they're on a Zoom call or Facetime.
“I think because of the pandemic, we are definitely going to see a shift towards more casual things. When COVID happened, all of the events were canceled; weddings were canceled, black tie affairs were canceled, travel was canceled,” Hall said. “So, I think the fashion shift is going to be of the designer collections that are already out there.
People will gravitate to the more casual, relaxed pieces within the collections. As things start to open up, you’ll probably see some of the things that were designed for fall carried over into the 2021 market.”
When it comes to evening wear, it has no season, and when the world begins to return to normal, Kevan Hall believes that people will look for dressier attire. They will be ready to try something new and fabulous. He launched his evening collection inspired by the starry night sky that we are loving and can’t wait to see on the red carpet.
In the meantime, it’s important to understand what looks are best for you and your body type so that you can play fashion designer at home. Hall recommends taking a hard assessment at these two areas, owning them and finding pieces that are flattering and able to hide parts that you’re not as happy with.
He believes that everyone has “something that they don’t feel the most positive about,” but it’s possible to embrace yourself, feel confident and look the best you can look.
Rock those above-the-keyboard looks while wearing a stunning top! Or, better yet, check out Kevan Hall’s incredible new collection inspired by his mother’s love of house dresses at kevinhalldesigns.com.