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Harlyn designer, Maria Stanley, grew up in Minnesota making her own clothes from pieces she found at thrift shops but knew early on her hometown scene couldn't fuel her fashion desires. Two months after graduating high school, Stanley packed her things and headed to FIDM in Downtown LA. "I was like, 'Get me out of here!'" She told us of the move. While studying fashion design she interned for two independent designers, Julia Clancey and Sarah Johnson, before landing a job as an assistant designer for vintage inspired clothing line Tulle.
After working her way up to designer at Tulle, Stanley made the jump to Bizz Inc. where she spent over three years designing for Arc & Co. until being offered the "take charge" position at the company's newest, more high-end contemporary line, Harlyn. "I don't even think I understood at the time what an amazing opportunity it was," she explained of the moment she sat at a conference table with all of the big bosses who presented her with the idea.
Harlyn officially launched in spring 2013 and Stanley has already seen success with the line, thanks to famous fans like rockstar Jenny Lewis. Inspired by her love for vintage, there are plenty of drop waist peplum dresses, tap shorts and shift silhouettes. Next on the mannequins? Black velvet overalls. Stanley describes Harlyn as "quirky and fun," and aims to keep the retail price point below $300. "The Harlyn girl is a little nerdy and a little playful," she says of the customer. "But she has it going on."
We met the uber-cute designer in her hood for a little juice smoothie at Silver Lake Juice Bar where we chatted about her off-duty attire, dream date night and childhood crush (hint: she's only 25).
What are you drinking today?
"I am drinking The Second Date smoothie. There are dates in it and walnuts, lots of good things."
Halloween or Christmas?
"Oh that's hard! I would say Christmas because I get to see the fam."
If your radio was stuck on one song for the entire day, what song would it be?
"Something Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks all the way."
NFL or MLB?
What was your High School Superlative?
"I won Best Car. I drove a yellow Volkswagen Beatle."
What's your guilty tv pleasure?
"Orange is the New Black, although I don't know if that's guilty. I don't have a tv! I was really into the new 90210 once upon a time."
All Black or Add Color?
Who was your childhood crush when you were younger?
"I was mildly obsessed with Maroon 5, Adam Levine."
Who is your favorite storybook princess?
Describe your Maria Off-Duty look.
"I try to keep it casual. I'm into little flirty skirts and cropped sweatshirts right now. Always little oxford heels."
Italian or Mexican?
Who is your style icon?
"Jane Birkin or Edie Sedgwick, a combination of the two. The hippy-dippy with the Factory Girl chic, glamorous look."
Downtime or No time?
What is the first thing you do when you get home at the end of the day?
"Snuggle with my little doggy, I have a Pomeranian. He's black and has cute little eyebrows. His name is Frady, he's afraid of life. It's actually an issue sometimes but we get through it."
Who was the last person to leave you a voicemail?
"Probably my mom."
What is your best quality?
"I am very independent."
East LA or West LA?
Describe the perfect LA date night.
"Taking my dog to the dog park, getting a cute little dinner somewhere, I'm a big fan of Pace. Then a movie on the couch, snugglin'."
What has been your best Halloween costume to date?
"I have some embarrassing ones from when I was a kid. I was a guinea pig once, in third grade. My mom made it. It goes down in the record books for sure."
Do you have a motto you like to live your life by?
"A newer one that I find myself saying a lot, 'Make it Happen.' MIH. Just figure it out."
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