Denver-based clothing line, Royal Outerwear, aims to make everyone feel like they belong to the brand’s “Royal Family.” To founder Hunter Higgins, this means no matter who you are or where you come from, he wants you to feel comfortable wearing Royal Outerwear in any occasion —inclusivity and a sense of belonging are what matter most. In the fashion industry, where inclusion can feel more like a trend, its refreshing that a local brand has this concept authentically woven into their story. In order to achieve this, Higgins created an elevated streetwear brand in Royal Outerwear, consisting of accessories, tees and hoodies, bringing a cool factor to wardrobe basics with exclusive collaborative designs and quality textiles.
Coming back to Denver Fashion Week after a brief hiatus, Higgins recently discussed his inspiration for his latest collection, how Denver inspires him and how he got his start in fashion.
303 Magazine: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get to this point in your career?
Hunter Higgins: I am originally from a little town in Wisconsin called Baraboo and I moved to Denver when I was 18 to pursue business. About six years ago, I started working at a local screen printing shop, Superior Ink Printing, where I am now the operations manager. I also recently started my own embroidery business called Proper Thread. Both of these creative outlets have really opened the door for me and my brand in terms of clothing design and garment decoration.
303: How did you start Royal Outerwear?
HH: When I was younger, my sister and a good friend of mine taught me how to crochet, and I just ran with it, creating hats for friends, classmates, pretty much everyone that asked. I have always been creative and when I was in high school, I had an assignment to create a mock business — name, logo, letterhead, etc. That’s where I came up with the concept of the brand. While I was still making hats and other products for people, I started Royal Outerwear for real. Essentially, a class assignment and endless hours of crocheting hats is where Royal Outerwear began.
303: Let’s talk a little bit more about your upcoming Denver Fashion Week show. What is the inspiration behind the FW19 Collection?
HH: Honestly, movies and Netflix TV shows were my biggest inspiration for this season. I am a big fan of the movie Public Enemies and the show, Peaky Blinders. There is something about that time period that I find really rad, like the way everyone dresses up just to go out and socialize. So, I did a bit more research into that era, mixed it with a street style vibe and ran with it.
303: During your Denver Fashion Week show this season you’re debuting a collaboration with Lion Heart Project. How did this partnership come about?
HH: Savannah [Pitts, the artist behind Lion Heart Project] is a very good friend of mine and I have known her for years. She was actually the photographer in my first photoshoot I did for a brand out here in Denver — Tall T Productions — and we have been good friends ever since. I have always been a huge fan of her art and we have made a few things in the past but nothing like this. She kills it and we work well together and I am so stoked on this collaboration.
303: What are some of your favorite pieces from the new collection?
HH: The accessories are actually my favorite this season. I have been really into making bags, duffles, clutches, things like that. I have been working on something really cool that I have always wanted to do, but you will have to wait until the show to see it.
303: The brand’s motto is that you want everyone to “live like royalty.” How do your designs evoke that mentality?
HH: “Livin’ Like Royalty” is all about how you see yourself. Confidence in who you are as a person, what you believe in, how you treat people and the person you want to be. We are all Royalty, uniquely created, and we should live like it and treat others the same way.
303: Who are a few designers or brands that have inspired you over your career?
HH: Coco Chanel, Ronnie Fieg, YSL, KidSuper and Tinker Hatfield.
303: Where do you see your business in five years?
HH: I see the brand being well known in Denver and doing pretty well. I have big hopes for my embroidery company [Proper Thread], too.
303: What do you want people to know about Royal Outerwear?
HH: That we like to have fun. Even in the most serious and stressful times, we try to do things with a smile on our faces. We are so thankful and blessed for the opportunities we are given and we do not take that for granted.
303: What about Denver inspires you?
HH: The art that fills downtown and the mountains. The mountains are where I retreat, take time by myself, and enjoy the best parts of Colorado.
303: Where can people purchase Royal Outerwear and what’s the price range?
HH: You can visit our website or find us on social media. Our price range is in the middle. If we spend a lot of time into an item, it will cost more. We are happy to hook people up with good prices because it’s not about the money for me.
All photos courtesy of Royal Outerwear.