The three designers of Harvey Faircloth met in New York over a decade ago: Abby Clawson Low and Katie Hatch were roommates, Mara Papa was a Brooklyn neighbor. Though each harbored latent fashion aspirations, all juggled full-time careers in the city: Hatch as the editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart Weddings (a job she still maintains), Papa as an executive assistant, and Clawson Low as a graphic designer and former art director at Kate Spade. After years of putting their design ambitions on hold, the women decided to launch their label in the summer of 2008, in spite of the recession. "People thought we were out of our minds," says Papa, "but it made sense for us at that time in our lives to just go for it." They named the line Harvey Faircloth, after a dapper, clever older gentleman whom Hatch was seated next to at a wedding once.
Though none of them have a traditional fashion background, they tend to believe that their combined creative vision gives them an edge. "Our references aren't as obvious as those you might already see in the fashion world," says Clawson Low. "And we don't take ourselves too seriously, which I hope can be refreshing in this industry." Katie does the initial sketches each season (she calls the Faircloth look "classic sportswear with a twist"), designing with an affinity for painterly prints, clever construction, and playful, eye-catching silhouettes.
Refreshing, too, is the Harvey Faircloth muse. Rather than choosing a typical gaunt, long-legged ingénue to model their spring look book, the trio decided to cast an art director Hatch knew from work. "She's the ideal Harvey Faircloth girl: well-read, smart, witty, fun, and creative," Hatch says. The label is available at Castor + Pollux, A. Cheng, and the Harvey Faircloth e-commerce site, and they're featured designers on Fadmashion.com. Click ahead to see more looks from their spring collection.BEGIN SLIDESHOW