In Bed With Vanessa Hong
Beijing, Paris, and New York are just some of the places Vanessa Hong, creative director of style blog (and now online shop) The Haute Pursuit, calls home. A definite #Girlboss, Hong has a distinct yet minimalist style that she happily shares with her loyal followers—inspiring us all to get out of bed every morning and absolutely kill it. We caught up with Vanessa during her recent visit to NYC, and with an upcoming faux fur line, as well as an H&M mentorship program, we’re excited to share what it’s like to roll with Vanessa…if only for one morning.
Make-up or no Make-up
Socks or no socks with sneakers?
V: No socks
Fur or Faux Fur?
V: Faux Fur
Pumps, flats or sneakers?
Vogue or Vanity Fair?
V: Vanity Fair
Print or Digital?
Refinery: Ok, let’s start! What is one thing you have to do before you get out of bed?
Vanessa: One thing I have to do before I get out of bed every morning is to set my intention for the day. That’s what I always do.
R: Any morning routines?
V: Yeah, I drink a really big glass of warm water before I start my day because someone once told me that it’s the best way to kickstart your metabolism.
R: No coffee?
V: I try to stay away from coffee because I’m quite sensitive to it. I have a rule of thumb where I don’t do caffeine after 2pm. I do love the taste of coffee, though. So if I ever do coffee, it’s an espresso. But it has to be a good espresso!
R: Best espresso in New York?
V: Probably Stumptown. I love them. The espresso there is really, really strong and kind of kicks you in the butt for the rest of the day.
R: Where do you find inspiration for dressing in the mornings?
V: I feel like when we exit the door, we’re telling the people around us how we’re feeling on that particular day. So, for me the process depends. I’m always in black and white, more or less. But if it’s a warm day and I’m feeling a little more fun, I’ll want to show a little more skin. Other days, if I’m feeling a little more tired, you’re going to find me in boyfriend jeans.
R: When did you know fashion was your thing?
V: Since the beginning. It’s funny because my mom often tells me that at like the age of three, I started picking out my own clothes. I’ve always kind of had that creative bone in me, whether it was making art in school, drawing, or trying to put clothes together, it’s always been a passion of mine.
R: If you weren’t in fashion what would you be doing?
V: I’d probably be a doctor. I was pre-med, with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. So I’d probably be working in science, which I find to be an incredibly creative field, just in a different way.
R: What’s the hardest part of your job as creative director of The Haute Pursuit?
V: Not having enough time in the day. I love my job. I jump out of bed in the morning, but there’s so much stuff happening sometimes that it’s hard to keep things straight. I really wish I had more time in the day to do everything that I wanted to do. I don’t really have much of a personal life, but it’s ok because my work is my baby.
R: You’ve lived in Vancouver and China, and visit New York often. Which city is your favorite?
V: I think every city has its pros and cons. I grew up in Vancouver, and I’ve been trying to escape that city since I was like ten. It’s an incredibly beautiful city, but if you want to work in a creative field, it’s not the environment for that. I’ve always seen myself as more of an East Coast person. In Beijing and Shanghai everything is super fast-paced, and there’s constantly things to do. But if I have to pick a favorite, I would probably have to say New York.
R: We like that answer!
V: I thought you would.
R: What is your most prized fashion piece?
V: This is a funny question. I’m going to get all esoteric on you. I don’t really believe in having attachments to anything. So honestly, any of my items, if I were to lose them right now, it would be fine by me. I get a lot of fashion heirlooms from my mother, and I’ve lost all of them. I’m the worst person with that. I’m the most irresponsible fashion person. Maybe my first Chanel bag? But honestly, I could lose any material thing, and I would be fine. All of those things are replaceable. I feel like when you love a material thing that much it kind of possesses you.
R: What is one of the most underrated neighborhoods for shopping in NYC?
V: To be honest, I do most of my shopping online. But I do have a few favorite stores in NYC. Dover Street Market is one of my favorites. I love going in there because it’s not only a shopping experience, but it’s also a visual experience on so many different levels. I love going to Opening Ceremony too for nostalgia’s sake because I’ve always loved their store.
R: Best city for shopping?
V: I haven’t yet gone, but I hear Seoul is the best city for shopping. I think generally Asian cities have so much more variety, and there’s a strong shopping culture. It’s just what you do there. In Hong Kong, Shanghai or Beijing, you devote the entire day to shopping.
R: Who is your favorite designer that no one has ever heard of?
V: A good friend of mine has a line, JH.Zane. I wore him during Paris Fashion Week. He splits his time between London and Beijing. His designs are incredible. He’s a part of that group of young, innovative, hungry designers coming out of London.
R: What’s one trend you wish would last forever?
V: When the whole Normcore trend came back a few years ago, I was like, Awesome! Now I can finally wear sneakers with dresses and it’s going to be okay. I think that trend has already transformed. But it’s still keeping that athletic, high-end mash-up. I hope the trend continues for a while.