Silvia Huezo on Selling Her Own Label
California. It’s home to the start-up capital of the country. It’s where Silicon Valley resides and venture capitalists thrive. New York. It’s where you follow the money. Wall Street meets couture culture and the cutting edge. And D.C.? Well, when we think of D.C. our first thoughts aren’t necessarily of risk-taking entrepreneurs making investments in style.
For all the political power and intercontinental clout held within the nation’s capital, D.C. is still a fairly risk-averse city. Start ups and innovation have not been characteristic features of the District. The ever-dependable and innumerable government agencies that support the livelihoods of many a government contractor or security specialist have come to identify the city and have shape its growth. The recent downfall of our economy and subsequent public spending scrutiny, however, may have inadvertently fueled District denizens to think outside the realm of public parlays to pursue private passions.
Those who are culturally attuned and have their fingers on the pulse of the city know that D.C. has been on the cusp of change the past few years. There is a growing energy and dynamism that is causing it to change in exciting ways. One way in which this change has manifested is in the new combinations of business and creativity. Take Silvia Huezo for example. She’s a local designer who started a basement shop in 2010 and is now the proud owner of two Red Hue Boutiques, contemporary women’s boutiques inspired by vintage aesthetics. It carries a variety of independent labels and brands as well as Huezo’s own private label.
D.C. fashion photographer Phil Kogan introduced me to Huezo and invited me to tag along for a shoot featuring Red Hue designs. We met at the Rockville Town Square boutique where Catherine Ho, Miss Vietnam D.C. 2012 and our model that day, was being prepped with hair, makeup and outfits. Then we were off to Glenview Mansion to capture the looks.
After spending the day admiring the contrast between the vintage/modern looks and the mansion’s garden greenery and stone archways, I wanted to learn more about the woman behind it all. I sent Huezo some questions as to why D.C., what inspires her, trends she’s looking forward to and fashion advice for the D.C. metro woman. Here are her answers along with some behind-the-scenes photos:
DC on Heels: Can you tell me a little bit about how and why you started Red Hue Boutique?
Silvia Huezo: I started Red Hue as a small basement shop down the street from University of Maryland in College Park and later relocated to Rockville Town Square. I wanted to start my own clothing line and figured if I had a retail location I would have higher chances of selling my own label. It was always my dream to see women trying on my designs and even better walking out of a store having purchases my designs and with Red Hue I have made that dream a reality.
DCOH: Why did you choose to stay local? What do you like about being in the D.C. metro area?
S.H.: I love the metro D.C. area! We are such a diverse area. I wanted to stay in a more suburban setting because I felt we needed uniqueness and originality. D.C. is more boutique-oriented than suburban Maryland, but I did feel there was a void that needed to be filled. It’s always big box stores or malls around here, so it’s nice to have a unique and independently owned shop where prices are still competitive.
DCOH: What are the inspirations for your latest designs? Did you have any favorite spring/summer trends?
S.H.: My spring/summer line was very much inspired by berry colors and vintage aesthetics. Some styles were inspired by starlets of past eras like Grace Kelly. Some pieces are very tailored and form fitting while others are breezy and forgiving. A great combination for a collection aimed at the average woman! One of my favorite summer trends is the maxi dress. I incorporated that into my line as well.
DCOH: Are there any looks you’re excited to see in the fall?
S.H.: Since we also carry other brands here at Red Hue, I am especially excited for shoes this fall! Boots, boots, boots! And in regards to our private label we are bringing very practical winter knits that will keep you looking cute even when it’s cold!
DCOH: Do you have any general fashion advice for women in this area?
S.H.: I think most women in this area are not afraid to take risks when it comes to color, but we are afraid to take risks when it comes to certain trends. We love our Ann Taylors and White House Black Markets where basics are king. And although I suggest always having great basics, it’s also great to experiment with statement pieces. A blazer with an interesting print. Or a necklace with bright gems and interesting shapes. And once in a while a totally unique top paired with basic pencil pants and flats. Really try to incorporate fun pieces into your basic wardrobe.
(Team members: Catherine Ho, model; Phil Kogan, photographer; LeRoy Armstead, production and lighting; Malinda Walker, makeup.)