A lot has changed since model Jessica Hart lived in London. Fast forward five years and the native Australian has risen to the top of the international modeling game with a host of high profile international campaigns and catwalk appearances under her belt. This week she returned to the city to unveil her own fashion label, Neon Hart, at the legendary Selfridges department store. Fashionising.com’s London correspondent Katie Wright caught up with Jess at the launch to find out more.
Read the full interview after the jump.
Q: How did Neon Hart come about?
A: It came about around a year and a half ago, when [Australian fashion retailer] General Pants Co approached me to do a collaboration line with them and I said yes.
Q: Is fashion design something you’ve always wanted to do?
A: Actually no, it’s something I’d never really thought about. I didn’t even think I had style until the label approached me. I was wearing, like, my boyfriend’s shorts and some tank top at the time [that the representative approached me] and I was like ‘I can’t believe this guy’s in fashion, he must have no idea!’ – but it turns out he did.
Q: Is your personal style influential to the collection?
A: Yes. There’s not a piece I wouldn’t wear, and that’s the way I like to keep it.
Q: Which are your favourite Neon Hart pieces?
A: The hooded denim jacket with the jersey sleeves is my favourite, and these black denim shorts I’m wearing. I love all the leopard print too.
Q: You travel a lot with your modeling career, is street style something that influences you?
A: Yeah, I spend a lot of time in places like Paris, London, Sweden – all these places have really cool street style. I think that definitely influences me.
Q: Out of all the fashion capitals which would you say has the best style?
A: Probably New York. I live there, and that’s where I first decided to get creative rather than just being a model, that’s where it originated from.
Q: You used to live in London too. Is it good to be back?
A: Yeah I lived here about 5 years ago for 9 months. It’s really good to be back. When I lived here I was struggling, it was the start of my career and it wasn’t easy.
Q: Do you go back to your old haunts when you’re in London?
A: I never used to do anything here! I just worked and that was it. I lived out in Putney, there were a lot of Australians out there and I went to that pub, the Walkabout [an incredibly uncool Aussie themed bar], it’s so embarrassing!
Q: So you won’t be going back there tonight?
A: I don’t think so!
Q: Where do you shop when you’re in London?
A: Selfridges, actually, which is one of the reasons it was such an easy decision to exclusively give them the line. It’s such a great department store.
Q: A third of the profits of Neon Hart go to the charity Destiny Rescue, how did that come about?
A: It’s a charity I chose. They prevent child slavery and sexual slavery, and it struck me as something I wanted to be a part of, to try and help in any way I could.
Q: Are there are celebrities or models you would love to see wearing Neon Hart?
A: I would love to see everybody wearing Neon Hart! Just to have it here in Selfridges is so big for me. I saw a dress on somebody in Byron Bay when I was on holiday in Australia, that’s my home town almost, and I nearly died! So to see it on anyone here would be pretty incredible.
Q: Often in the press you’re compared to other Australian models like Miranda Kerr and Abbey Lee Kershaw. Is designing your own line a way for you to stand out from the crowd?
A: I think that all of us girls have other things going on so maybe we’re all trying to stand out from the crowd, but I’m never consciously trying to do that, I’m just doing my own thing. I think [people would realise] we’re all really different if they got to know us. Miranda has heaps of stuff going on too – just not at Selfridges!
You can check out Jess’ range, Neon Hart, in the Contemporary Women’s Department at Selfridges department store, or at selfridges.com. For more photos of the collection click on the thumbnails.