Rise of Fashion South: Hunter Bell

New York, N.Y. by way of Florence, S.C.
Stores nationwide; Find a location at blog.
$170 - $500

Story by BROOKE HUTCHINS | Photography by COLBY BLOUNT

HUNTER BELL, 2013 winner of NBC’s “Fashion Star” competition and esteemed New York City clothing de- signer, has a clear image of the woman she aims to dress. Born and raised in Florence, S.C. before studying fashion design at the University of Alabama, Bell still holds onto a hint of a Southern accent, despite the 11 years she’s spent in the Big Apple. And her clientele might, too. “She’s a Southern girl with a New York state of mind. She’s feminine and sophisticated, but also has an urban edge. Our girl is not afraid to take risks and pays attention to trends. She selects quality over quantity,” Bell says. Although she has always been drawn to fashion, it wasn’t until one particular “aha” moment, watching the sun set over Manhattan on the last day of her internship with Rebecca Taylor, that Bell became certain of her desire to pursue a career as a designer.

“There were some struggles for the year leading up to ‘Fashion Star,’ and I was at the point where I felt like I was finished fighting for the dream and passion,” Bell admits. The opportunity to compete on the television show came at the perfect time, igniting that inner competitiveness she needed to regain her confidence as a designer. While the Hunter Bell line has become more modernized since its inception, a decision to stay close to her roots can also be detected in her designs. The brand stays loyal to its many Southern customers and the bestselling pieces they continue to buy, while adopting a metropolitan feel that speaks to the larger international markets.

Although she embraces New York City’s vibe and draws inspiration from its culture-rich landscape, for Bell, “It’s about broadening your horizons and not being afraid to explore different cities,” she explains, fittingly, while waiting to board a flight to Paris. And as the clothing line continues to gain momentum and cause a buzz in stores across the U.S., Bell’s brand is catching the eye of modern Southerners and non-Southerners alike.