Black girl magic!
We want to be like Olivia Anthony when we grow up–no, seriously.
Her energy, passion and talent as an emerging NYC fashion designer with a nostalgia-splashed palate are both enviable and empowering to women and dreamers who see themselves in her ever-growing movement.
Since fully launching her brand in 2017, the bubbly Alabama native and HBCU grad evolved into a fashion power player with a penchant for bright colors, unique textures and bold silhouettes that define her LIVSTREETWEAR line.
With growing industry buzz and a major SZA cosign, she was handpicked (along with two other amazing designers) by Foot Locker Women for its national ‘Behind Her Label’ platform which aims to empower the next generation of female designers through product development and inspirational storytelling.
For the platform’s inaugural year, the rising star created an exclusive capsule collection influenced by their love of basketball and streetwear culture with all sales going directly to her.
We caught up with the fashion dynamo to chat about the ‘Behind Her Label’ initiative (and everything else) in our vibey afternoon interview:
‘Behind Her Label’ was launched to empower the next generation of female designers–how do you feel about being in the forefront of the initiative?
“It’s an honor–I’m just like, ‘OK, now that I have this moment let’s keep going.’ I just want to keep bringing my brand to the forefront and be worldwide. That’s my ultimate goal. So, I’m like, ‘OK, if God gave me this opportunity, let me use this as a stepping stone to go to the next one.
And, you know, I’m just learning–I learned so much in this season about being organized and not losing my personal self just trying to rush and get stuff done and meet deadlines.
Each step I learn something and I’m excited that people are learning more about my brand that haven’t heard about me before so it’s a stepping stone. I’m just ready to grow. It’s a learning experience.”
You mentioned being organized–how have you been able to be productive during this lockdown? Have you been more creative? How has it been for you?
“It’s been honestly amazing. It’s like a gift and a curse because I have a small team–it’s me, my manager, my assistant, and we’ve had a chance to slow down and take care of what I call the inside of the house.
You know, everybody’s seen the outside. It looks great. But, you know, it may be a mess in the corner that we might need to clean up so we got a chance to do all that.
And then I had a chance to be on a panel with Billionaire Boys Club during the pandemic and Vogue shouted me out and Refinery29–I call God my publicist because he keeps me booked because everything just kept going.
I made Beyoncé’s site when they featured Black creatives so it’s been a blessing to stay busy even though the world has slowed down”
How did your HBCU experience at Alabama St. shape how you move in the industry?
“OMG! I found myself at Alabama State. I was a dance major and thought I was destined to be a dancer and then I was approached by these two creative guys on campus and there were like ‘we love your style–we want you to be a stylist for our elite model squad,’ basically.
And they let me do a segment in a fashion show and that’s how LIVSTREETWEAR was born… just being around a whole bunch of fashion people.
And then I started selling my t-shirts out the trunk of my car on campus and just hustling so then I started doing other shows at Clark Atlanta–it just turned into this thing that I never thought of at all”
I notice that you love the 90s–
…and remind me of a little bit of SWV with a splash of Grace Jones–
It’s really dope. What are your biggest inspirations as a designer?
So, for me, I grew up in 1990 but my sister is 10 years older than me so she grew up in high school in the 90s.
So I learned about Freaknik and hairstyles, going to the games on Friday night and going to the mall and getting my nails done with her in the shop all day.
It just affected me so much to the point where I wanted to put it all in my designs. So my first collection was a love letter to our culture inspired by Freaknik and I just had everybody twerking outside; it was one of our collections that put us on the map–it was beautiful.
I just love having that DNA and how free they were in the 90s. The colors were loud… everything was just unapologetically–ooh! I love it!”
The greatest decade ever
When we talk about urban culture and urban gear, it’s mostly the fellas, mostly dominated by men. So, tell me about your journey as a woman in the industry.
“Honestly, to be 100% frank, I didn’t even realize that I was competing. I just wanted to design. I just wanted to do streetwear and I think it’s a struggle with anything you want to do that’s great in life. It doesn’t come easy so I was going through my own personal struggle– moving from Alabama to New York, sleeping on a couch, interning and struggling with that.
I didn’t even realize that it wasn’t that many women until somebody interviewed me a long time ago and asked me how does it feel to be a woman in a man’s industry. But it is tougher on women because it’s only a few in the room.
And I feel like, honestly, we’ve been dressing the men. We’ve been doing this! My mentor is April Walker, she’s the first female to do a streetwear line–she had 2pac, Biggie–we’ve been dressing people!
It’s just now we’re finally getting the accolades–I’m just blessed that, right now, I’m coming up in a time where we’re getting praise for what we’ve been doing. It’s a blessing that I’m in the conversation now and that I can talk about the people who came before me and connect the dots”
What’s next for you after ‘Behind Her Story?’
“My ultimate goal is to be worldwide. I want everybody to get the chance to LIV. I love when celebrities wear my clothing but I just want everybody, everybody to have LIVSTREETWEAR in their closet and it becomes a part of a lifestyle.
I would love to take over like another house–like, seeing Virgil and Jeremy Scott take over Moschino and Louis Vuitton I’m like, ‘OK, let me take over a house. I can do it.’
My goals are insane. I don’t even know what’s going to happen but it’s out there. I want to go to London. I want to go to Tokyo. It’s the vibe. It’s the energy. I’m not a trend. I want to be long-lasting. Like when I die, I need people to still be rocking LIV.”