Royal Native: African-Inspired, Locally Made

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When you think of summer, “bold African prints” may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but when you see the designs of Royal Native, beach weather will be forefront in your thoughts. And for anyone looking to make a bold statement this season, these items designed by Glen Cove native Hilary Star de Roy are a summer must-have.

For the past three years, de Roy has been building her business, a company that was born out of a combination of the designer’s love of shorts and African wax prints.

“I always loved this African fabric and began researching it in summer of 2013. By winter of that year, I had an entire company,” said deRoy, who began working in the fashion industry at age 21 and has worked with designers including Louis Vuitton, Tracy Feith and Diane von Furstenberg.

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Hilary Star de Roy

“I learned from all of these different environments and I opened a store for Steven Alan in California,” she said. “When I moved back here and had children, I really wanted to do something again after being out of fashion for three to four years.”

She did everything, from finding a New York City factory, a pattern maker, researching and buying the fabric and having a website created.

“One thing that was very important to me was working with people I knew from the industry; I also want my products to be made locally and be sourced as much as possible in the USA,” said de Roy.

The first year of her business was based around shorts, then she expanded to include tote bags and clutches. Most of her items are based off of vintage styles, with a “tweak” here and there. Her spring collection includes these items in various prints.

“I like faster fashion; my goal is to make things and have them available within three weeks,” she said. “But, I need to keep the production local.”

That local aspect is important to de Roy: knowing where the fabric comes from, how and where it is being made and also having control over the entire process to ensure the quality and her own vision are not being compromised. For this reason, she also likes to be a part of the selling aspect, setting up shop at local markets or selling directly through her website.

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The Farrah short, in Sunset

“Most of my sales are local sales,” she said. “I think it really helps to get to know the customer. It’s hard for a young line to portray the heart and story behind it when you’re not there.”

With two young children, ages 6 and 3, and a home office, building the brand has been challenging, yet rewarding.

“I really want to show them that you can dream of something and make it a reality, and to know that you can enjoy what you’re doing and make money doing it,” she said.

“I’m just starting to see the benefits of working for myself,” she added. “But I would like to get to the point where I can hire someone who cares about it as much as I do.”

She is also the buyer and merchandiser for Sea Cliff General Store at Giordano’s and is active in the local artist community. She held a showcase recently with Kathleen DiResta at the Village Wine Merchant in Sea Cliff and will also be at SpringFest in Sea Cliff on June 12.
Ultimately, she said she would like to see the brand grow and would love to have a shop in Glen Cove where the merchandise is made.

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Cabana Tote in Birds of a Feather

“I would love to grow the business to national proportions and I believe in the local community being a part of it,” she said. “It’s exciting to see local people in my designs; it’s better even than seeing a celebrity in them. To see people around here loving what I do and embracing it, is the biggest compliment.”

She will be one of several artist showcased at SpringFest on Sunday, June 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sea Cliff Ave., between Roslyn and Main avenues in Sea Cliff. Or find de Roy’s styles online at www.theroyalnative.com and www.instagram.com/theroyalnative.

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