Meet Olivia Anthony, the designer keeping it real with LIV Streetwear
When it comes to LIV Streetwear, a sense of authenticity comes to mind. Over the past decade, the increase in mainstream popularity of streetwear has given way for a lot of busters to misrepresent the culture all for hype.
Amongst the hypebeasts, there is a solid line-up of designers, especially women designers who are upholding and propelling the foundations that streetwear lovers grew up on. Enter Olivia Anthony. She’s the enigmatic visionary behind LIV Streetwear and House of Olivia Anthony.
“I want my clothes to represent something in which you can have fun, be bold, be loud, and live freely in.”
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The KH squad first met Anthony back at the Billionaire Girls Club ‘Women in Streetwear panel’ on International Women’s Day, and real certainly recognize real.
Hearing the designer’s perspective on being a female designer in the game and how she moves about pushing the kulture had us geeked. We had to learn more.
Growing up in the 90s, Anthony admired the fits of her older sister and her boyfriend. The baggy jeans, over-sized sweaters, fresh kicks, all struck a creative chord.
Being raised on the east side of Birmingham, Alabama, Anthony became a student of the fashion game at an early age, even watching fashion shows while getting ready for school.
Peeping the Style channel and reading Teen Vogue made her fall in love at an early age.
“When I was a kid, I used to have my TV set to the Style Channel. So, every morning, I’d wake up to fashion shows from Dior, Dquared, all of them, as I got ready for school.”
“I used to get excited when Teen Vogue came in the mail. To me, it was a small book fashion from my favorite movie stars and celebrities. Constantly looking through there made me have even more of an appreciation for fashion.”
Stepping into a store these days can sometimes make you question what year you’re in. Retro fits seem to always have a way of coming back, but the essence of that time captured in LIV Streetwear collections is genuine, intimate and truly special.
Streetwear’s origins take us back to a time where the style was not only fly but radical. It spoke to a culture in the streets, in the hood, in spaces where many get few opportunities to express themselves.
Anthony’s appreciation for streetwear started at home, it started with family and the admiration of her older sister’s style. It’s no surprise that the creative is able to capture and recreate this nostalgia, all the while flipping the script.
“The rugby’s, the overalls, all that old school stuff. It felt so original, it felt so old, so chill, so comfortable, and yet, still vibes. And, that’s what captivated me the most about her and it’s still with me today. “
Things started to kick off when the southern belle moved to LA and helped styled her friend on a shoot in Montgomery. She posted up for the summer with her cousin who she began working on a movie with as an assistant stylist.
“That was my gateway into that because when I got back from LA, I joined a group in college called Elite and I was a stylist of that group. By styling with that group, I learned everything — from running fashion shows to photoshoots…”
“I’m very thankful for them. Between going to LA and joining Elite Models, it was the biggest eye-opener in my journey. A lot of people don’t know I style, but I got the juice when it comes to that.”
LIV Streetwear launched in 2012. Anthony was in college when she started to have other students model t-shirts with her logo on them for her website.
It wasn’t long until everyone peeped game and wanted to cop some. The buzz had her traveling to Clark Atlanta University and other colleges in Georgia to do fashion shows. She even presented the brand to Elite Models and the reach just kept growing from thereon.
Still, the road to where she stands now was far from easy. Even getting t-shirts produced was a grind, and the realities of what came with being a black female designer started to settle in.
“I feel like as a woman, period, especially being in college at the time I started, going into a business full of men and doing things like ordering a big bulk of shirts was difficult. They’d try to take advantage of me by upcharging me or assuming I didn’t know the business that well. That’s why it was important to research what I know.”
Anthony stresses that no matter what your background is, coming up in the fashion game will never be easy. Like any other creative vertical, it takes a lot of dedication and finesse to stamp your value in the industry, and consistency will always speak louder than any IG post. A fendi.
I don’t want to blame what I am as the excuse of what I’m trying to do. I just feel like it’s hard, period, trying to have a clothing line, trying to be successful, no matter what race or gender you are. I feel like it’s all about being consistent, working hard, and fighting each day. I guess the challenge I had was finding people who took me seriously and learning the business super quickly.
One thing that truly distinguishes Anthony’s fashion houses from others is the presentation. Scrolling through Anthony’s social feed and website, you see high-quality and beautifully produced content that is unapologetically full of melanin.
This is important, especially in an age when every week, another luxury brand is coming down with insulting black culture with their interpretations of streetwear elements.
These days, LIV Streetwear is commonly seen on artists such as SZA and Kehlani, not to mention the collabs with Blink Fitness and Teen Vogue. Yet, there’s more heat to be unlocked, in a recent Instagram post, Anthony candidly opens up about the trials and tribulations that got her to this point of success and the community that has supported her from the jump.
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Her core team, friends and family have seen the brand and the designer herself grow and develop over the years. They all step in and lend support in some way without any jealousy or fake-nice moves for the ‘gram.
The community behind LIV Streetwear and House of Olivia Anthony is real, it’s family, which is why everything she puts out feels so dang on authentic. Even during our photoshoot, the vibes felt so natural and effortless.
Anthony and the mob behind her move different than most, they care and are willing to embrace and welcome anyone to the movement.
My squad consists of my core team, my friends, and my family. They all play a big part in my movement and LIV streetwear. I love them because the majority of them are my day ones. They’ve been with me from the beginning, they’ve seen the highs and the lows. Vincent, one of my teammates, has been there since I freaking started in my dorm!
And that’s beautiful to me — to have people around me. Because one, they genuinely wanna help me because they see something in me and two because they put their heart and energy in everything they do. And we got new people! I love seeing new people jump in as if it’s their own. My mom, my dad, my family, my boyfriend, I love my squad. Everybody put in work!
It’s pretty refreshing to hear and see such raw love from a brand, and the train ain’t stopping yet. This year, Anthony will drop the Summer collection that fans got a sneak-peek of samples last year. New colorways and new cities – the gang is going on the road to Philly, DC, and back to ‘Bama where it all started.
Anthony’s star is still rising, and she had some meaningful tips for other creatives on the come-up,
Go hard. Work next to you, not upwards. Ask your best friend to work and collab because that’s what builds your community. That’s what builds your team. I call it my class. I see everybody in my class growing and it’s beautiful to watch. We all have crossed paths because we’ve try to collaborate with each other.
As strong as we are as individual creators, community ties will also help push movements harder and Olivia Anthony and her creative hit-squad couldn’t be a better example.