Q&A With Emerging Accessories Designer, Victoria Horning!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Victoria Horning may be petite and somewhat demure, but do not underestimate her ability to pound the New York pavement, and transform her dreams of becoming a successful designer, into a reality.  She is a San Francisco native who migrated to the raucous 'Big Apple' to complete her undergraduate studies at prestigious, New York University.  While there, she took advantage of their study abroad programs and spent some time navigating through Florence and Paris.  It was in these European metropolises that she really developed her composition aesthetic and became impassioned with becoming a designer.

After graduation, she decided to further her education in footwear design at the Ars Sutoria school in Milan.  It was here where she perfected her pattern making and technical skills.  Returning to New York with an arsenal of knowledge, Victoria introduced a successful accessories line that was locally produced and made with Italian sourced materials.  Riding on the success of her first parlay into the fashion design realm, she decided to expand on her brand by launching a collection of Italian made shoes. 

Victoria, is a seasoned professional, and has an impressive fashion-based background. Her resume includes internships at coveted companies like: Vogue, Nina Ricci, and Alexander Wang.  Most recently, she was an assistant footwear designer at J. Crew, having helped curate the women's Spring '13 collection. 

I met Victoria, via way of a mutual friend, and she was kind enough to let me ask her some questions about her creative process, the recent launch of her footwear line, and how she sees her brand evolving in the near future.

See what she had to say...

When was the defining moment in your professional career that you decided to undertake designing? 

I have to say that I always knew I wanted to be a designer, but it was not until I had the opportunity to apprentice at a shoe factory in Italy that it really clicked for me. I had been thinking about architecture after graduating from NYU and shoe design is so technical that it just was the perfect fit for me. I then went on to study shoe design in Milan and came back to New York with the strong desire to work in accessories. At the time that I decided to start designing handbags, I was working in retail and just had an idea for my first handbag. I did a lot of research about how to make my sample locally, sourced the leather and hardware and found an amazing sample-maker to create it from a sketch and prototype that I made for him.

What is the creative process in coming up with your accessory designs?

I always start the process with material first, finding the perfect leather or exotic skin that I am immediately drawn to, whether it is color, texture or something unique that I have not seen used before. From there, I will play around with sketches and source different hardware that might work for the bag. It is important that the sketch is perfectly interpreted by my sample maker, so I will measure out everything and also build an actual prototype out of felt for him. When we sit down to discuss, he can visually understand what I am going for.

What is the inspiration behind your new shoe collection?

The inspiration behind my first shoe collection was really based around a wooden heel, that for some reason, I have always visualized using for my first line. Coming from J.Crew, I wanted to bring some color into the mix since my designs are very classic, but everything is very understated. I have always loved the idea of wearing something from day to night, so my line is very much about that; everything I design is a reflection of my personal taste and style as well, so I would never do anything too trendy or something covered in hardware and studs.

In three words, describe Victoria Horning's overall brand aesthetic:

Clean, chic, understated elegance

Who are your fashion icons?

Phoebe Philo for Celine and Isabel Marant. I look up to a lot of female fashion designers for their work as well as their style, and both of those designers don’t try too hard, seemingly producing successful collections season after season. Of course Kate Moss is my favorite fashion icon; it’s that chic, effortless, European style that is always so perfect. Does she ever get it wrong?

Where, in San Francisco, can we find items from your accessories line, being sold?

My handbags were carried at Rand + Statler and Curve Boutique, but I am practically sold out of my first run of bags. They will be carried on a website called AHA Life in a few weeks.

Ideally, how do you see your brand evolving over the next couple of years?

I would love to see my line of handbags and shoes successfully growing together. If I ever did decide to include clothing, my idea is to keep it focused on leather, which when done right, can be worn year round.

Visit Victoria's website, www.victoriahorning.com, to shop her curated line of accessories!

Victoria Horning Handbags: Black Pony Shoulder Bag & Black Crocodile Clutch

Victoria Horning Footwear: Brown Suede Bootie , Pink Snake Sandal  , & Black Leather Bootie


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