Located within Carlyle House on the Upper East Side of New York City, the store provides a destination for the full suite of Hearst’s seasonal collections, including her popular wool tailoring and knitwear pieces. The store itself is in keeping with Hearst’s sustainable ethos: natural, non-treated and reclaimed oak makes up the flooring, while a glass façade maximises the use of natural light in the space, with in-built light sensors reducing electrical consumption. “It was always part of the dream to have a store,” explains Hearst of the significant business milestone. “The main goal for our first flagship was to create a luxury environment that was done in a conscious way because my belief is that luxury should be sustainable.”
Hearst has become known as a designer redefining natural textiles for a new generation of fashion. Growing up on a fully-functioning ranch with sheep, the theory of farm-to-fashion has always been a huge part of her DNA, resulting in the use of natural fibres that seamlessly lend themselves to women’s suits, superfine Merino sweaters, knitted bodysuits, trench coats and even her coveted ‘Nina’ handbag. Three years ago she launched her namesake line and in January 2017, she won the International Woolmark Prize.
“When you think of wool, you think of your grandmother when she hand-knits you a sweater,” says Hearst, as a sixth-generation wool farmer. “You think wool you think heavy, right? That’s not the case. Wool can be superfine, and luxurious. That is the premise of the collection we did for the Woolmark Prize. That is always our premise: showing the light side of wool and how efficient it is.” She continues, “We use real wool as our ultra-luxury material so it’s done in more ways than people expect it to be. It’s always a big part of the materials that we use.”
Before launching her own collection, Hearst co-founded the line Candela. It was shortly after her father passed away, when she inherited the family ranch, that she was inspired to start her own luxury label. The fact that Hearst grew up on a farm and now manages it while designing her own line is what most influences her own love of giving back to the environment through design. “Long-term thinking and sustainability,” are the two principles she’s taken from working the ranch. The very principles Hearst mentions go beyond aesthetics and affect the way she’s been running her business too.
The uniforms of traditional Dutch fisherman are made modern with Jonathan Christopher’s fabric development for the 2015/16 International Woolmark Prize