Heather Verran is a top fashion designer currently living in New York City. Her designs for Shape magazine are slick, inspired and full of energy. Heather has created innovative products for Gap, American Eagle, Nordstrom and New Balance, just to name a few. The Hollywood Press Corps had an exclusive opportunity to interview Heather and ask her a few questions about fashion design.
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I decided to become a fashion designer to see if I could merge the world of art, movement and design with clothing. To make clothes was always second nature.
I learned couture sewing techniques from my mom and my grandmother. We made nearly all of our own clothes, and the scraps were used to make outfits for the dolls that my grandfather carved for me. He would also build the garment racks for my “runway” shows.
What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
It always means a lot to see my vision out there in the world when someone casually walks by me wearing a look that I designed. In addition, there are other favorite moments such as: seeing the creative process unfold into a collection, the energy and buzz of the sample room, and I love to draw.
What did you think when you were asked to design a collection for the Shape magazine brand?
I thought, wow, this is an integrated strategic partnership that connects two leaders in their specialized categories to create a unique and energetic opportunity for women.
Shape magazine is such a powerful brand, with 11 million readers and they engage millions more to look, feel, and be amazing.
Apparel Bridge, the licensee has been making active apparel globally for the past 35 years and is a family-owned, world leader in one-stop manufacturing with a unique vertical model. They have been manufacturing apparel for the world’s largest retailers for 35 years, producing more than 400 million garments. They control all production steps to avoid the middleman, with no extra layers in the process. They employ a top team of scientists think about performance of a fabric before it is even created which gives me the ability to create fabrics that no one has ever seen before. Apparel Bridge is eco-friendly and fair-trade practices add value to clients worldwide which is very important to be.
It sounded like the perfect opportunity for me as I completely align with Shape magazine’s mission to exercise your right to be beautiful. The clothing gives them an opportunity to feel beautiful while doing so. The partnership gives me the ability to work towards the future of performance clothing at a price that is inclusive to most women.
What were your inspirations for the designs you created for the shoot?
The Fall collection that I am shooting today was inspired by a hike that I took last summer. The heat had peaked and along the path were these beautiful granite cliffs. I used a photo of one to create a print for the first collection. The palette was chosen from photo, the deep blue lines, the rust and the shots of silver. I chose fabrics that had a similar texture and feel.
Later that day, as the sun was setting, the fireflies came out. This inspired the second collection. I designed a print that was from a photo of them bouncing in the woods and added thermochromic technology to the fabric. Thermochromic is when the print disappears when exposed to heat and sunlight, just like how you never see fireflies in daylight.
The third collection, I was watching women train for a marathon back home in NYC. The cool greys and textures of the city I found to be stunning, albeit in a hi tech and cool way.
How did you select the materials you used?
I selected the materials by what emulated the texture, surfaces and color of my inspiration- rocks, fireflies, the streets. The other main consideration is the handfeel of all materials, making sure everything is soft and comfortable.
Were the materials difficult to work with?
No. I carefully select and create the materials that I know have the correct properties to function, fit and wear well. I have been trained by the best chemists and fabric experts from all over the world. At Shape (Apparel Bridge) I have an amazing group of scientists and fabric experts always excited to develop what ever I dream up.
What was it like working with Shape magazine ?
They are an amazing group to work with. We are a great collaborative team all in alignment to bring forth the Shape active wear brand to a sophisticated, functional, fashion forward brand at an attainable price point.
What do you think of yoga pants? Gym wear?
I love seeing the evolution from how basic and plain yoga pants used to be all black and one or two silouhettes to how stylish and fun they are today. Performance fabrics, techniques, seaming, and prints have changed the game. The moment for gym wear as a part of everyday is now. I don’t see that changing. They flatter any woman and are so comfortable.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue doing what I am doing, the opportunities are endless here as we have just started.
Fashion is an individual’s self expression. When someone creates a uniques look that everyone loves and wants to emulate, it becomes fashion. There is a collective consciousness about what appeals to us at any given time.
Fashion comes from all walks of life.
How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?
I live in NYC, and it is all around me. With active wear, it is less about the runway that it is about beauty, well being and performance. I look at music,emerging artists, nature and fashion.
How do you prepare for a photo shoot?
I take the original inspiration from the collection, and build a narrative around it. It is usually focused around one activity, such as rock climbing, running, tennis, skiing, etc.
I cast the model that is on brand for the magazine, who is upbeat and happy, fit, not skinny, athletic and naturally beautiful.
I select the appropriate photographer, one who best fits the overarching theme and trend. I review with them the location and give the art direction so they can prepare the set or the lighting.
After the crew has been selected I create a shot list with the outfit, shoes, hair and makeup for each look.