Behind the Label | Hart Hagerty

Hart Hagerty originally moved to Shanghai to further her love of East Asian studies and Mandarin, now she brings that passion and energy to her debut collection of jackets. Featuring exquisite tailoring and increasingly rare embroideries from Asia?s artisan communities, Hart?s military inspired jackets and vests are the perfect mix of wearable art and fashion. These unique pieces are showstoppers that all your friends will be coveting! These are the unique finds that will fast forward a simple jeans look or add an unexpected twist for evening. We recently asked Hart to share the story behind her label and share some insider tips on the adopted city she now calls home. Shop like a modern globetrotter, check out Hart?s collection now!

Hart Hagerty originally moved to Shanghai to further her love of East Asian studies and Mandarin, now she brings that passion and energy to her debut collection of jackets. Featuring exquisite tailoring and increasingly rare embroideries from Asia?s artisan communities, Hart?s military inspired jackets and vests are the perfect mix of wearable art and fashion. These unique pieces are showstoppers that all your friends will be coveting! These are the unique finds that will fast forward a simple jeans look or add an unexpected twist for evening. We recently asked Hart to share the story behind her label and share some insider tips on the adopted city she now calls home. Shop like a modern globetrotter, check out Hart?s collection now!

 

 

How long have you been living in Shanghai? You must have seen it change dramatically over the past few years.

Five years! Like many others, I?ve become totally intoxicated by the city?s entrepreneurial, can-do spirit. I first came to Shanghai in spring ?08 to study abroad, as part of my Mandarin and East Asian Studies major at Vanderbilt. I immediately fell head over heels in love with Shanghai?s international energy mixed with lingering remnants of Chinese culture. In the stylish French Concession you?ll see a street barber giving two-dollar sidewalk haircuts nearby a multi-million dollar villa. Shanghai is a city of contrasts, which makes it a very inspiring place to live, work and create.
 
As it has been doing for decades, the last fives years has seen Shanghai skyrocketing into modernity. Gorgeous new boutiques, restaurants and exhibitions open up every weekend. But there is a downside ? old architecture, mom and pop shops and traditions are torn down to make way for this new growth. There will always be a cultural tug of war between old and new and east and west, but an interesting shift occurring now is that young Chinese people are taking the change in their own hands. They are launching very cool businesses and brands that embody their generation?s spirit ? proud of their heritage, while also very international, open-minded and really creative.  

 
How has living in Shanghai influenced your style?
For a fashion writer/blogger/market consultant, this is probably blasphemy for me to say? but I don?t shop that much in Shanghai. From high street to luxury, most brands cost up to three times more here, so I get creative with local tailors to custom-make clothes each season. Like Hong Kong, Shanghai has a strong bespoke tradition, but the results can be hit or miss. The key is to stick to classic silhouettes and invest in great fabrics. I have a lady who makes stunning Equipment style silk blouses for $60. When you hit the jackpot, it can get quite addicting! One leather tailor just made me a killer pair of shorts, so I?m going back for an a-line miniskirt. Unfortunately for my wallet, customizing doesn?t stop at clothes; belts, bags and even shoes ? from brogues to riding boots ? can also be made.
 
As a result of tailoring my wardrobe has gotten more classic, but I?ll always inject some boho elements to my look ? suede booties a la Isabel Marant, silk kimonos, tassel jewelry and vintage Chinese embroidered jackets.
 
Since you live in one of the most dynamic cities in the world where do you go to vacation? 
Shanghai is the ultimate mega-city (I have 25 million or so neighbors?), so vacation means immersing myself in the opposites: tranquility, nature and exoticism. My trip to Bhutan was life changing. Witnessing the spirituality that radiates across people?s faces and the lush landscapes was like traveling back in time. Total enchantment. For sun and surf, the Perhentian Islands of Malaysia are a true gem, especially for diving and snorkeling. A bikini, a book and a beach bungalow are all you need. I love the markets of Chiang Mai Thailand. Look hard and discover gorgeous textiles from Hmong tribes of Thailand, Laos and China. Something closer to home is Moganshan, where you can relax in range of quaint B&Bs to luxury eco-resorts amidst the mountains, bamboo forests and tea fields. 
 
      
 
Can you give us a sense of what a day in your life is like? 
The day begins with an early morning workout and sauna session, absolutely necessary to counteract Shanghai?s pollution. Post gym I head to the Avocado Lady, a business savvy local who sells discounted imported groceries from her modest street-front shop. Back at home I whip up a green smoothie and coffee to nourish me as I catch up on emails at my home office in the French Concession. Lunch is al fresco on Anfu Road at Yunnan restaurant Mia?s with one of my many friends who are also launching their own brands here. I?ll spend the rest of the afternoon scouting and photographing new boutiques for a feature story I?m writing for a European lifestyle magazine. The day winds down meeting my boyfriend and friends for casual drinks and dinner on Yongkang Road, a small street of little bars and eateries, before biking home.
 
What are the must go ?to local spots you would suggest every globetrotter visit in Shanghai?
Shop
- Dong Liang ? an exquisitely curated boutique devoted to China?s best homegrown designers.  
- Nankeen Fabric Museum ? occupying an old lane house, this offbeat museum/shop showcases China?s ancient, beautiful blue and white Nankeen fabric. 
- Shiliupu Fabric Market ? there are two fabric markets in Shanghai. One for tourists and one for in-the-know people. At Shiliupu, you?ll find more fabric options, better tailors and less mayhem. 
- Brocade Country:  I am always inspired by this family-run boutique featuring the textile and jewelry art of China?s southwestern ethnic minorities. 
 
 
 
STAY
- The Puli ? a modern, Zen-like retreat in the heart of the city.
 
SEE
- Fuxing Park ? go in the morning or at dusk to see locals dancing, doing taichi, flying kites and playing mahjong 
- 1933 ? a creative hub of retail, design companies and galleries housed in a former abattoir with incredible Art Deco architecture
 
EAT
- Jessie?s: Shanghainese food ? oily and sweet ? doesn?t always get the best reviews, but Jessie?s is delicious. Always packed with locals, so call ahead.
- Mr. and Mrs. Bund ? the modern French eatery of chef Paul Pairet, who dishes out daring takes on French classics in a sublimely chic interior with killer views. It?s the epitome of The Bund?s glamour.
- Xibo: The cuisine of China?s Muslim ethnic minority from Xinjiang Province served in a chic, modern restaurant.
 
DRINK
- Long Bar at Waldorf Astoria ? Shanghai?s old-world glamour at its finest
- Char Bar at Indigo Hotel ? hands down the best view of the city. Go for happy hour and watch the city light up as night falls. 
 
 
 
What are you wardrobe must have?s for a day in Shanghai and for when you travel?
Shanghai has volatile seasonal mood swings, so let classics be your base and play with styling, like layering multiple jeweled necklaces on top of a heather grey tee. 
 
For Shanghai:
- St. James mariner shirt
- Rag & Bone jeans
- Missoni scarf
- Vintage army jacket
- White low-top Converse
- Gunmetal silk Equipment blouse
- Black leather a-line mini skirt
- Black repetto flats or loafers
- Red lipstick
 
For jaunts around Southeast Asia:
- Colorful caftan
- Lightweight silk scarf
- Chambray button down
- Black denim shorts
- Gladiator sandals and black havianas
- Tassel jewelry ? earrings and necklaces!
 
 
What are your plans for summer?
I am working on an upcoming jacket collection featuring embroidery from Laos, so I am planning a two-week trip to meet artisans and source pieces of embroidery. I can?t wait! 
 
What are the three items you are most coveting from L-atitude?
I am totally obsessed with the Dezso by Sara Beltran Shark Tooth Petite Tassel Necklace, the Daniela Bustos Maya Navy Crochet Bikini, and the Muzungu Sisters Salmon and Blue Trim Infinity Caftan!