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Hector & Queen Q&A with Bettina Harvey - Best children's accessories brand - WINNER

We meet the designer behind the 2014 Junior Design Award-winning entry




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What is your name and job title?

Bettina Harvey – Designer/Creator

What did you love to wear as a child?

Growing up in Norway was as you can imagine, very “outdoorsy” and almost always cold and wet! My favourite item was my all-in-one red Helly Hanson suit which kept me dry and warm for ages; so whether it rained or snowed it really didn’t matter, as I could play outside with my friends all day!

What’s so great about children’s fashion and accessories?

Children’s fashion and accessories have evolved so much especially in the last five years. It’s innovative, functional and fun and offers so much choice giving all ages, backgrounds, personalities and of course purse strings a terrific choice.

What are the highlights of your autumn winter 2014 collections?

Our newly launched range of handmade Wildlife slippers. are totally unique to the market place and to be able to work in conjunction with the charity, Tusk, is a privilege. We feel very passionately about the plight of our endangered animals and perish the thought that maybe one day there may not be any rhinos or elephants on planet Earth. If we can therefore in a fun, memorable and meaningful way help raise awareness of Tusk and the work that they do with the younger generation, their families and friends, then that’s fantastic as it’s vital that we become more socially aware and responsible of such meaningful causes.

How important is it to keep up with changing fashion trends?

At Hector & Queen our ethos is very much about caring for our environment and the processes used to develop a product, whether it’s our award winning range of children’s furniture or our handmade slippers. At the same time, when designing it’s all about children being children for as long as possible and fuelling their imaginations with products that delight and encourage endless adventures wherever or whoever they are. Yes it is important to be aware of changing fashion trends but not necessarily to keep up with them.  Our products are timeless and so compliment fashion trends and encourage young children to explore their options as individuals – children are children for such a short period of time and there’s plenty of time later to look “grown up”.

Why do you think parents are increasingly more interested in what their children are wearing?

Nowadays, fashion is wildly accessible with an amazing amount of choice to suit all ages and sizes as well as pockets, whether child or adult. Children are more fashion conscious than ever with their exposure to the media and social networks and are ready to experiment and so it’s in the parent’s interest to play a role in their fashion choices. With gentle guidance, it’s lovely to see the choices your child makes to express their individuality and personality through fashion and watch their confidence grow.

Where do you find design inspiration?

My main inspiration comes from my wonderful four children as well as my own childhood experiences. Trips to Kenya as a child and then as an adult have had a huge influence as is evident in the recently launched Wildlife slippers!

What would make a great gift for a child from your collection?

Any one of our current slipper designs, whether rhino or zebra, are unisex and would make a unique gift or keepsake.  Accessories are an excellent way to spruce up a look and our fun slippers help children show off their fun-loving and imaginative personalities and make their outfits inspiring.

From a practical point of view, as each pair of slippers is handmade using organic wool and then hand felted, there are no detachable parts, so they are completely safe whether on the child’s foot or in their mouth! The slippers are soft, cosy and comfortable and children can easily put them on, thereby promoting their independence.

And finally, not only are they guaranteed to put a smile on little ones (and big ones!) faces, but when purchasing a pair of our slippers, 20% of the purchase price will be donated to Tusk.org, thereby helping to save our endangered animals.

Why did you enter the Junior Design Awards?

One of our Stockists recommended that we enter and so we did! It’s also a huge bonus for any designer to have their work endorsed by a prestigious Award, and it helps promote consumer confidence.

What do you predict for the future of children’s fashion and accessories?

As we discover new global markets and an increased awareness of textiles from other cultures together with increased concerns about environmental issues, i.e. pollution and certain textile processes etc., there will be a growing demand for more recycling with the development of new recycled/sustainable fabrics and materials.  We also think there will be an increase in the preference for higher-cost traditional fabrics i.e. wool over synthetic ones which will hopefully help bring manufacturing back to countries such as the UK rather than exploiting cheap labour abroad.

As speed of telecommunications increases, children’s expectations and demands for products that represent their own cultural statement will increase. Children are more fashion conscious than ever with their exposure to the media and social networks and are ready to experiment.  More control will be held in the consumer’s hands with technology using 3d “scan a body programme” allowing for “ready to wear” disposable fashion items.

With the population rapidly growing and becoming even more diverse, this will introduce new street fashion, style and colour combining, inspired by art, music, film, nature and people. Muses will be represented by people who provide a source of inspiration for a creative artist no matter what their background and the number of designers creating ranges for just children will increase.

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