Portlander by way of Brooklyn, Maya Harper was just begging for a style feature. Not literally of course – I did the asking – but the good natured and leggy beauty’s strong ties to the local fashion scene are strong, including past and current positions at local apparel companies and modeling gigs for the likes of Bridge + Burn and talented local photographer Marge Jacobsen. As if that weren’t enough, she’s currently hard at work on a blog and hair care line devoted to curly haired people everywhere.
I stopped by Maya’s homey North Portland abode on what started as a rare cool day, though the respite didn’t last long as the clouds broke up soon after my arrival. We got down to it, and I snapped pics while we chatted – like, a lot – about local fashion stuff, Maya’s soon to launch blog, and PDX VS. NYC (we agreed that the air is nicer here but that it’s also nice to have dining options at 2am). I have to admit, spending the afternoon with Maya felt just like reconnecting with an old school friend and I hope we cross paths again soon.
VGS: What is your first fashion related memory?
M: When I was about 7 years old I would take the sheets from the linen closet and drape them all over myself as if they were gowns. It was hilarious since sometimes the sheets were from when I was a baby and they would have cutesy prints like little animals or hearts and stars. I would walk around the house as if I were royalty and wait for my parents to comment on how amazing I looked. You would have thought I had on the latest Marchesa gown the way I was strutting. I never really liked wearing dresses as a kid but would rock the hell out of a striped queen sized sheet. This was my regular weekend afternoon routine.
VGS: Who are your hair style idols?
M: Teyonah Parris from Mad Men, Solange, and Alexis and Isis of St Beauty Band to name a few. I love the styles they do with their natural curly hair. It looks so effortless and edgy. It’s really inspiring to see chicks rocking their natural tresses. Oh, I can’t forget TK and Cipriana Quann! They’re twin sisters that just own it. They’re are so damn cool and they have so much hair. Everyone should check them out.
VGS: Which one item can you never have too many of?
M: Hmmm. For me, gold or brass rings, especially those really simple delicate ones. Midi ones too. They help me transition into those bigger statement pieces and they just look great with every outfit. Sometimes I’ll wear 2, sometimes 7. I usually get mine from Betsy & Iya.
VGS: Which designers / brands / shops should readers be checking out?
M: Midnight Collective is my favorite apothecary line in Portland. They have amazing essential water sprays that I love to spray in my hair in the morning before I start my day. And they’re soaps are smell AMAZING!
My favorite shop right now is Pistils on N. Mississippi. Every time I need a good pick me up I go in there and purchase a beautiful plant. The staff is so knowledgeable and kind. They also sell a lot of amazing home and bath and body products – Herbivore Botanicals makes my favorite face mask EVER!
Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of black and white and Pantainanas based in Bali has the coolest black and white graphic tees. I’m all about the oversized tee. It’s great all year round.
I don’t know about you, but I’m smitten by Maya’s sophisticatedly relaxed style.
Follow Maya on Instagram @curlportlnd for hair inspo and news on her forthcoming blog and hair care line.