FLORENCE — Hunter Bell may be a New York fashion designer, but she has not left her Florence beginnings behind.
Bell, 32, a Florence native and West Florence High School graduate, has been focusing full-time on her fashion line, Hunter Dixon, since 2009. Even though she operates her business out of the bustling Manhattan borough, her style still harkens back to the South.
“A Southern girl with a New York mindset” is what Bell likens it to – a combination of colors and prints inspired by her surroundings and the modern professional woman.
That style can be seen not only in Saks Fifth Avenue, Anthropologie and more than 200 boutiques worldwide, but weekly as well on NBC’s “Fashion Star,” a reality competition show that pits designers against each other to develop the best styles under a compressed timeline.
“It was the most phenomenal experience of my life…working with the company of mentors and other designers was so inspiring,” she said.
The 12 contestants are divided up among the three celebrity judges, and Bell’s mentor is Jessica Simpson.
“Working with Jessica was amazing,” she said.
Bell, a graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in fashion design and studio art, interned for New York-based designers Nanette Lepore and Rebecca Taylor. It gave her a taste of the city life, so she moved there and began working as an assistant designer at Jones Apparel Group and later at Vineyard Vines.