Today, we go Behind the Scenes with a woman who has defied the odds and charted her own path to become one of the top High Wear brands in the Fashion Industry Internationally. Sit back and grab a snack as we speak with Latoya Mcleary, founder of HauteLife World Eyewear.
Behind the Seams | Latoya Mcleary | HauteLife World Eyewear
H.P: For those who may not know, tell us who you are.
LATOYA M: My Name is Latoya Mcleary Founder/ Creative Director of HauteLife World Eyewear. I was born in Portland, Jamaica. Most of my childhood was spent between Kingston, St. Mary, and Portland. I am so thankful for my early years in the country, especially St Mary. Because of that upbringing of hard work, I am the woman you see today. I was always passionate about fashion from a very early age and had my eyes focused on the international Fashion Industry.
In 2009, I moved to New York City where I studied Fashion at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), Conde Nast College in London, and Elle Education in Madrid Spain. I started my career as a Fashion Stylist and Creative Director working on many Fashion Projects. I’ve always wanted more out of Fashion and believed I could do more on the design side, hence the genesis of HauteLife World Eyewear.
H.P: Tell us about Hautelifeworld Eyewear and how it got started.
LATOYA M: HauteLife World Eyewear was founded in New York City in 2019. I wanted to create not just an eyewear brand, but a brand that represents a positive lifestyle. I wanted people wearing HauteLife Eyewear to feel fearless, confident, and of course stylish.
Since our inception, we have launched 3 collections: The Valencia, The Jettetter, and The Yaadie Collection which was shot at the Art Walk in Downtown Kingston Jamaica.
The Yaadie Collection will come out on March 23, 2023. HauteLife World has been featured in different Fashion Magazines around the world. This includes: Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Vanity Fair, and Elle Magazine (just to name a few).
We had to work through Covid and somehow maintain the brand through the Global shut down and were still able to take the brand to the next level during a bad economic disruption and took the brand internationally as well in less than 3 years under challenging circumstances.
H.P: What is one major life lesson you’ve learned since starting this business
LATOYA M: One of The Major life lessons I’ve learned since starting HauteLife World Eyewear is that there is no school that can really prepare you for starting a business no joke!
To this day I’m still learning by doing the work and running a business day-to-day. There is no book either that can prepare you. It’s about being hands-on and knowing your business, most of all trusting your ability, and your passion because that is what will carry you through the tough days.
I must admit that HauteLife World Eyewear has seen better days than bad days and I am very thankful for that.
I really appreciate the few bad days as a learning experience. Those bad days have made the brand grow and expand faster than I can ever imagine.
H.P: What would you say separates your brand from other eyewear brands?
LATOYA M: HauteLife World is not just an Eyewear brand — It’s a lifestyle brand that encourages a positive lifestyle that inspires.
Our eyewear is like armour that makes you feel strong and fearless while looking stylish wearing our eyewear.
H.P: Where do you get inspiration for each collection/design?
LATOYA M: The Inspiration for each collection comes from my travel and lifestyle, hence the name HauteLife World. As an avid Traveler, I get inspiration from people and places I have traveled to.
The Valencia Collection for example was named after a vibrant Town in Spain called Valencia I visited years ago.
The collection embodies the Spanish landscape and culture. The Current Collection “Yaadie” is inspired by Kingston with it’s vibrant colors.
H.P: You’ve recently shot your latest collection in Jamaica, tell us about it and why it was necessary to shoot at home.
LATOYA M: Shooting the Yaadie Collection In Jamaica meant so much to me. This is where everything started so to come back home to the foundation in Kingston Jamaica was very meaningful not just from an artistic point, but for my inspiration and motivation.
HauteLife World is about lifestyle and culture and what better place to shoot the Yaadie Collection? There is nowhere in the world that would bring out the true essence of a “Yaadie” than shooting in Kingston, Jamaica.
I had the best team on this project and it came out much better than I expected.
H.P: What 4 words would you use to describe the collection?
LATOYA M: The four words I would use to describe the Yaadie Collection are Stylish, Vibrant, Bold, and as we would say in Jamaica “Mad”!
The Yaadie Collection currently has four styles: Trench Town, Kingston 11, Yaadie, and JamRock.
H.P: Finish the sentence… If I wasn’t designing Eyewear I would be a …
LATOYA M: This is a very good question because I have never really thought about it, because I have always wanted to work in Fashion and fashion only, but If I wasn’t designing eyewear I would be a lawyer which is quite the opposite. A Lawyer, because I could help people.
HP: Where can we find your pieces?
LATOYA M: You can Find HauteLife World Eyewear at www.hautelifeworld.com Instagram @hautelifeworld
The Style Place Jamaica | @thestylepalaceja on Instagram
1 South Ave Kingston Jamaica
Flying Solo New York | @flyingsolonyc
420 W Broadway NY
Flying Solo Paris starting June 1, 2023