10 Questions With… Kevan Hall

1. How did you become a fashion designer?

Early on, I would reimagine what I would see celebrities wearing. I would sit with a sketchpad and reimagine what I would see people on “The Sonny & Cher Show” and other shows wearing. That was the beginning of the design process for me. I went to a high school that had a fashion department and when I discovered that I could actually make a career out of it was probably the aha moment. 

2. What is the secret to a great red carpet look?

I think it’s finding the silhouette that will enhance the beauty of the wearer. For me, it’s about fit, which is so important with a red carpet gown. Everything has to be flawless — fit, and also color. Finding the right color for the red carpet creates something very beautiful. Because when the woman — or the gentleman, for that matter — steps out of the car, if the color pops, the paparazzi will go nuts.

3. What trends are you seeing in evening wear these days?

There’s a lot of cutout work happening in evening wear. The sides are cut out, or you’ve got cutouts in the back of the gown. Sometimes the side panels are cut out. Beads are always important. That’s been a big trend, and sequins in all scales, going from the smallest sequins to very large, oversized, almost 60s-looking sequins.

4. Is there anyone you would love to get the call to dress?

I would love to dress Uma Thurman. I dressed Charlize Theron before her Dior contract; I’d love to dress her again. And I’d love to dress Michelle Obama again.

5. What does seeing your fashions elevated to that level mean to you as a designer? 

It’s amazing. I’ve dressed royals and politicians. These folks can be dressed by any designer in the world. So when they select something of mine, it’s humbling and thrilling at the same time. 

6. You’re known for giving back and helped start the Black Design Collective. Can you talk a little about that?

That organization was started by TJ Walker, the founder of Cross Colors; Angela Dean, a designer of note dressing a lot of entertainers, musicians and artists; and Ruth Carter, a two-time Oscar winner with 40 films to her credit. These are my friends. We were sitting around the table one day, talking about some of our successes in the fashion and costume industry, but also how we would like to give back to the next generation. So, we started the Black Design Collective. It is a nonprofit that seeks to champion the importance and impact that Black designers have made in the world of fashion. In addition to that, it helps with scholarships for the next generation. We do workshops for designers to build viable businesses — how to market your brand, how to work with trademarks and funding. Over the course of the pandemic, I’m proud that we were able to help our designers and members access over $2 million in funding, grants and loans. None of our folks were put in the position where they had to go out of business. Everybody actually thrived during the pandemic and came out of it very strong because of the funding we were helping them secure.

7. Is there any next-gen Black designer you think the world should know about?

There’s a gentleman named Charles Harbison that I think is really exceptional. And then there’s also Sergio Hudson, who I think is really talented. I would say those are my top picks.

8. You recently visited Phoenix for Holiday Prelude, benefitting The Phoenix Theatre Company Guild and Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras. What do you like to do while you’re in the Valley?

Enjoy the food and restaurants. And you know I love the weather.

9. What’s giving you joy these days?

Being with my family. My son is currently in Paris, but my daughter lives in Los Angeles. My wife and I have a place that we enjoy in the Sequoia Mountains. It has rivers that run through the property. We’re there as often as possible to take in the spring when the poppies are out, and in the winter, when the rivers and waterfalls turn to ice. In the summertime, we go down the river in rafts. It’s a beautiful spot. So, as often as we can get there, we go. I actually design there. I’ll sit on the back screened porch. Sometimes, I’ll bring my team there, and we will sit and create by the river. It’s wonderful.

10. Do you have any fashion advice for our readers?

Everybody needs a great-fitting pair of jeans. Because jeans are one of the cores of a wardrobe, they need to fit well. You can dress a jean up with a beautiful top or a beautiful pair of heels or with a ballet flat or runner. It’s a great piece to have. I also have a thing about white cotton shirts. Every woman should have a beautiful white shirt or blouse. That blouse can go with, of course, a pair of jeans. It also is amazing when you mix it with dressy pieces. You can wear a white blouse with a ball skirt, a beaded pant or so many things. And then I think you should have a trench. That can be a multicolored trench, which might be a little harder to find, but they’re out there, or a beautiful classic khaki-colored trench. They are great to mix with evening pieces, jeans and with day pieces. Finally, a great little black dress, something modern and clean with not a lot of goop on it, makes an excellent backdrop for pretty jewelry.

To learn more, visit kevanhalldesigns.com

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