We’re always looking for new, exciting, innovative activewear brands to stock on Hip & Healthy. Comfort is key when working out and it’s even better when you find a style or brand that looks good as well! New to the store this month is Harvey & Mills. Fresh on the activewear scene and born in the UK, the company was created by Emily Honeywell, who wanted to build an activewear brand that was not only beautiful, but economical and, quite uniquely, suitable for people with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema. Read on to find out more about her innovative designs!
Emily, we assume you are ‘Mills’, so who’s ‘Harvey’?
Harvey is my miniature long-haired dachshund puppy. He’s a lovely little chap, and has upstaged many a photoshoot!
What were you doing before Harvey & Mills? What caused you to drop that to create your own activewear company?
I was working in the city as a freelance advisor to the Government’s innovation agency. I talent spotted young fashion and retail start-ups, helped them raise seed capital, and mentored them through their growth. I was surrounded by highly creative and inspiring minds every day, and the entrepreneurial energy was infectious. I’m not a natural risk taker, but seeing other ‘unexpected’ founders running successful companies gave me the confidence to go after my own idea when inspiration struck.
What sets Harvey & Mills apart from other activewear brands?
It all began one morning when I couldn’t find leggings to my taste, and with the functionality I needed as an eczema sufferer. In a sportswear world saturated with bright colours or dark monotones, I craved intricate prints and flattering colour palettes. I also wanted the assurance that the garments were manufactured responsibly. So those three elements became my mantra: beautiful bohemian prints, highly breathable and silky soft fabrics, and ethical production from the mill to the market.
You pride yourself on having found a happy place between fashion and fitness. How have you managed to create fashionable active wear without sacrificing its suitability for fitness?
The brand journey began with a 3 month search for the perfect fabric. It needed to be suitable for printing detailed patterns in rich colours, as all of our garments take inspiration from high fashion styling with hand painted prints. To accommodate the functionality required for fitness, the material also had to be hydrophobic, UV protected, with shape retention, be durable enough even for mountaineering and gentle enough for sensitive skin. Iconic prints, stylish silhouettes and luxe performance fabrics are the intrinsic ingredients in finding that balance.
How do you choose the prints and patterns for your sets? Do you design them yourself or source them from somewhere?
We create detailed mood boards that are inspired by anything from Persian rugs to the flash of a plum lipstick on a person walking by. Stephanie Breeze is a good friend of mine and a magical textile designer, who then creates each print by hand. She always surprises us with little details – like the addition of a tiny beetle on a petal of a floral print.
What type of exercise is Harvey & Mills designed for?
Technically speaking, the fabric is suitable for a range of impact workouts, and can even be used for swimming or as a base layer for winter sports. That said, the styling is tailored particularly for yoga. Our sports bralettes totally have your back during downward dog!
What does health and wellness mean to you? How does it fit into your daily routine?
Emotional and physical wellbeing are equally important to me, and as a naturally anxious person, exercise and meditation are my antidepressants. Harvey is the best personal trainer – he is always two steps ahead of me when we go running, and snuggles up during Childs Pose at the end of a bedtime yoga session. Luckily Harvey & Mills gives me lots of opportunity and motivation to try out new gyms and workouts in the name of ‘research’!
You launched Harvey & Mills nearly a year ago! What have been the highlights of the past year? What have you found the greatest challenge?
Seeing women feeling powerful and happy in their skin is the brands reason for being, so I still get a huge rush when people tag me in their Harvey & Mills sets on social media, accomplishing amazing things. Launching with Hip + Healthy in year one truly blows my mind, as you’ve long been an inspiration and inherent in my decision to embark on this adventure in the first place.
The biggest challenge was when a supplier let me down, and I’m still recovering from that. But failure carries the seed of a greater success, so I know the silver lining will make the brand stronger in the long run.
What can we expect to see from you in your second year as a brand?
Bewitching new prints, appearing in new places, and more social media! We’re still learning to tell the story, but we’ve found our feet and are ready to fly.
Like the sound of Harvey & Mills? Shop below on Hip & Healthy!