We are massive fans of Hilary Star de Roy's brand, Royal Native. She is reimagining African wax prints in such a cool way that all we can say is, yes, please! This chick lives her brand through and through. After a few minutes of conversing with her at an event in Southampton (where we are pleased to report that she was rocking Royal Native pants), it's not hard to see that her well-traveled sensibility extends to her clothing. She's been peddling her adorable wares at pop-up events at the Montauk Beach House this summer, and she's got plans for expanding her line. She chatted with us about what it's like selling out of a bus (spoiler alert, this VW is literally too cute for words), social media, and her guilty pleasures…
We love your brand, the Royal Native! What inspired you to start your own company?
I had worked in the fashion world for many years for some amazing and inspiring designers. I had so much knowledge and so many ideas ... after having my 2 children I had no fear and decided to just go for it!
The wax African prints are so unique. Do you think your aesthetic is reflective of the Hamptons landscape?
Definitely, my aesthetic is very much about travel, endless summer, wearing something unique that has a worldly, ethnic vibe while still being comfortable and easy ... very much like the Hamptons.
Are your bold prints more about daywear or can they transition into the evening as well?
My small summer collection that is out right now is very casual and beachy. I would say more day and backyard BBQ or clambake ... but the next couple of seasons, resort 14 and spring 15, the line will expand into much more. Dresses, skirts, slim pants, beach pants, jumpers, rompers ... Royal Native is going to be all about day-to-night, pool-to-dinner, and beyond.
You've got a pretty cool bus! Tell us about it...
The VW bus we've been using to do pop-up shops is a friends' [bus] and now I am dying to find one to buy! It's from the 60's, and it's perfect for setting up like a surf shack/shop for people to hang out and have a beer and shop. One of my favorite things about having total creative control is imagining things like this VW bus as a shop and actually getting to see this vision through to reality. When it's all set up with Mexican blankets, Moroccan poufs, African baskets, and my vintage chair, it looks like a little bazaar from another time. Next summer, I plan to sell Royal Native as well as other goods out of it.
Did you get a positive reaction from doing pop-ups at the Montauk Beach House this summer?
The Montauk Beach House has been amazing to us! It is such a fun, laid-back atmosphere ... there is always amazing music and the DJs are the best. The whole scene is super cool but not snobby and the Royal Native pop-up was right at home. I hope to be back one more time this year and definitely much more for summer 15!
Any plans to expand beyond African wax prints?
This season we have some dark denim and chambray shorts...and next season watch out for stripes, solids, custom checkerboard, and lots of amazing new African prints!
What about bikinis or dresses?
Dresses are in the works as we speak however for the moment I'm leaving bikinis to the experts in swimwear. We do have plans to expand into men's, kids, and home for next summer.
You really seem to live the carefree spirit of your brand. So, what inspires you?
I think the past is always inspiring, the way people used to travel and discover before the age of Instagram. Now you can see every corner of the world from your iPhone. I love the idea that before all of that, one could happen upon a tunic or a necklace or sandal from another part of the globe and it was really special. Royal Native is inspired by that feeling of wearing something that could be from another land. I'm also influenced by the classics, Grace Kelly and Jackie O, and how their look will never go out of style.
Let's dish on the Hamptons! What's your favorite beach?
Ditch Plains in Montauk for sure. And Main Beach in East Hampton too...
Favorite event of the season?
I honestly really enjoy being with my family and close friends at their homes over events these days ... just hanging out by the pool with a bottle of Wolffer Rose and letting the kids run around.
A big milkshake at LT Burger in Sag Harbor ... a chicken parm hero from Luigi's in East Hampton and Pacifico on tap from the bar at the Montauk Beach House.
Where do you shop in the Hamptons?
I love Flying Point Surf Shops for our whole family, Whites Pharmacy for amazing goodies, Whalebone Creative for their awesome hats, and t-shirts and Blue1 in Bridgehampton for the perfect selection of designer clothing and accessories!