Janel Dyan

Women Crushing It Wednesday

#WCIW: Gabriela Hearst

Inspired Designer. Commitment to Quality. Social Activist.

When Gabriela Hearst was a six-year-old child in Uruguay, growing up on her family’s ranch, she watched Cinderella for the first time. She was instantly captivated by the scene during which the mice and animal friends create a beautiful gown for Cinderella to wear to the ball. After watching the film, she went into her grandmother’s closet and began to cut apart her lace dresses, forming new garments. Her grandmother, rather than being upset, encouraged Gabriela’s creative spirit and a designer was born.

She continued to sketch and create throughout her school days, but never really considered a career as a fashion designer a real possibility. At 21, she became a model, working in Europe, and eventually, New York. She became the Sales Director for a fashion showroom and that is where her dreams of design began to come to fruition. Hearst and two partners started the T-Shirt line Candela in 2004 in Brooklyn and found so much success that, a decade later, Gabriela launched her own, more upscale, eponymous label. Drawing inspiration from her homeland, her family, and her childhood on the ranch, the line is elegant and sophisticated with a playful edginess. The designer insists on working with only the finest-quality yarns and fabrics and has said of her label, “The moment you put your own name on the label, you can no longer hide behind it. The integrity and conscience of the product reflect you. The clothes represent what you believe in, so you have to set the bar very high.”

Hearst has also used her success and skills to make a difference in the world, especially in the lives of women. Troubled by the times, Hearst has recently created a sweater featuring a drawing that she did herself of a woman’s ovaries as a ram’s horns. The sweater is currently on pre-order and proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood. It is very important to Hearst to use her platform to support the causes that are close to her heart, now more than ever before. In a recent interview with fellow designer and activist Kenneth Cole, she said, “Women’s health, the environment, immigration because I’m an immigrant, education. It’s across the board. I’m from South America, and I’m an American citizen now, and in the 40 years I’ve been alive I haven’t felt so many things I hold dear to be under threat.”

For her inspired line, commitment to quality, and social activism, Gabriela Hearst is this week’s #WCIW. To learn more about Hearst’s line and to pre-order the Ram-Ovaries sweater, visit her site.

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