Olivia Anthony Is Expanding The Southern Streetwear Legacy
Olivia Anthony is one of those multi-tasking, multi-talented designers who wears many hats. For House of Olivia Anthony, she’s channeling 90s cool girl (think Clueless vibes); with LIV Streetwear, Anthony’s turning her attention to the likes of iconic rapper Lil Kim. In her own words, it’s “the whole shebang,” and her constant balancing act requires boundless patience, focus, and of course, good old-fashioned talent. Hailing from down south, Anthony’s latest tribute is a homage to her roots, bringing back the era of freakniks in ATL while still staying planted firmly in the present. Ask her how it’s done, and she’ll tell you straight up: a whole lot of hard work. Keep reading for more of Anthony’s advice on how to be a boss and why the 90s is her favorite decade.
So you work on LIV Streetwear and House of Olivia Anthony. Can you tell me a little more about each brand?
Yes! So basically, they’re all in the same family. House of Olivia Anthony is more editorial, more high-end, more creative, definitely inspired by the 90s, and then LIV is my streetwear line that I started way back in 2012 in college. It’s also inspired by the 90s. So you really get the two way street—from Clueless to Lil Kim. It’s the whole shebang.
So when you’re designing for each, do you have to kind of tap into different versions of yourself?
Yeah, definitely. House is very cool girl, that whole vibe from the 90s—it’s very Romy and Michele. They’re fashion icons! Stuff like that. I get into my whole vibe over there. And then when I do my streetwear, like the last collection was inspired by freaknik in Atlanta. So it’s like a homage to my culture. Seeing my older sister grow up with all the 90s changes, with the over-the-top hair and grillz, I basically did a whole reenactment of that. And then this year we had a 90210 party where the collection was based off of Baywatch. So it’s just so weird and fun. I get inspired by the most random moments.
I love that you put thought into the context of what you’re inspired by. It’s so important to talk about where things actually came from.
Exactly, exactly. A lot of people are basically just saying the word without knowing the definition of it. Especially me, being in streetwear, being a black woman in streetwear, I want to research the streetwear people who came before me, that whole vibe of the 90s, everything. I ended up reaching out to April Walker who was one of the first black streetwear designers, and now she’s like my mentor. It’s just amazing to connect the dots of where I’m at and who came before me.
I feel like it’s such a male-dominated industry; what is it like being a young woman and having your own business?
I think with everything you do, there are beautiful moments and difficult moments. Being the owner of your own company is hard, no matter what. A lot of people tell me to try my hardest to do everything on your own. So 2017 was the first year I quit my job and worked for myself full time. So it’s been an experience. We live in this microwave generation where we want everything instant, and we live on Instagram, but life doesn’t work like that. It takes time. So I’m just learning to humble myself and know that wherever I am right now, it’s a lesson, and to learn from it so that when I do get to that point, I can say that at each step I learned something. It is hard, but I try not to put myself in a box where I’m saying it’s hard because I’m a woman or a black woman. It’s just hard, period, you know? Just out here chasing your dreams, in anything we want to do.
Totally. What advice would you give to younger girls who want to do something similar but don’t know where to start?
I would honestly just say, just do it. Start small. Even if you just start by creating your logo and putting it on something. Letting your brand connect to people. I feel like that’s the best thing. Start off small, with one item, one T-shirt, and it will grow. And don’t compare yourself. As a brand, you really just have to stay in your own lane. It’s never going to grow if you’re trying to do everything that everyone else is doing. So find your DNA, and stick with that.
All clothing by Olivia Anthony
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