In an era when “it” girls are manufactured and not born, Harley Viera Newton might be considered a bit of a novelty. Born in the UK into a legacy of music and fashion, the now 23 year old came up dying to be in a band, eventually went onto study super archaic history in college in New York after some formative years in LA, and now can most likely be found behind the DJ booth at some of NYC’s cool kid venues hardly the proclivity of a Kardashian.
While Newton knows her way around modeling high fashion and appearing in Vogue, the girl with the pretty long hair, penchant for Tom Binns and manic taste in awesome music isn’t quite comfortable with the term “it” girl.
We won’t argue monikers, but we do know she has a cool apartment strategically located in SoHo with some enviably quirky items, enough sick designer, high street and vintage pieces to make any street style blogger‘s day, and knows how to write your name in hieroglyphics. Find out how the Spice Girls and another kid named Harley helped make her who she is, and click through for some very pretty pics.
Hair Stylist: Dominick Pucciarello, Mizu New York
Makeup Artist: Pamela Taylor, Pamela Taylor Makeup Academy
Vintage lace dress, Tom Binns necklace and Tom Binns bracelets.
Tell me about how fashion and music played into your life growing up.
My dad's in the music business, hes done A&R pretty much his entire life so he started taking me to shows when I was really young, in London, around the age of 7. So I was always surrounded by music, always going to shows... I always wanted to be in a band, it was always a dream of mine, which was later realized. My mom has always been in fashion, she worked for Issey Miyake well, first she was a model and then when we moved to L.A. she worked for Valentino, which are all pretty incredibly brands to be around. Shed always play with clothes and dress me up. I think it was just sort of, you know
I didnt have a chance. From the get-go it was just sort of music and fashion, and they were always around me.
Are there any concerts that stick out from that time?
Oh there are so many! I remember going to one Chemical Brothers show with my dad, which was pretty insane to go to as a kid, and thinking it was unbelievable and hanging out with them afterwards. And definitely the Spice Girls. My dad worked with the Spice Girls and when they came out it was just sort of life changing for me.
Tell me about your band.
Ive been in a couple bands. I was in a band in high school with my best friend Clara, called The Tints, and we were an all-girl trio. There was no bass, which I still dont understand how it worked. We were really bad, but we thought we were amazing. We played these pop-rock songs about boys and school. Really important stuff! It was really amazing because we were fourteen or fifteen and we were playing these shows on Sunset Strip in L.A. When other kids would go out and rage, we would hole up and write nerdy songs and practice and play shows. It was an incredible thing to do as a young kid. L.A. is really great for that. Super nurturing.
So what made you want to come to school in New York?
I always loved New York. I had so many friends here; my dad lived here for a little bit. I just loved the city. I was born in London, and going from London to L.A. was definitely I loved moving but it was definitely a huge change. Obviously in L.A. you have to drive everywhere and its harder to meet people. So just something about NY reminded me of London. Just the culture and walking around and stumbling upon things... I always loved New York. It was a natural transition for me.
What did you study when you were in school?
I thought I wanted to do anthropology, and then through anthropology I started doing archaeology, and then through archaeology I found all these Ancient Egyptian classes and Ancient Egyptian Art classes and somehow ended up focusing on that. I went to Gallatin, so you create your own curriculum and your own major, so I got away with an Egyptology in Social Science major. Dont know what I can do with that now
but, you know, I can definitely write my name in hieroglyphics. Or yours, if youre interested in that.
Awesome, thats a good gift to give to people.
Well, actually, I appropriated it later. I had to design this little compact for Dior, and I just made it say Dior in hieroglyphics a ton of times.
Vintage Ralph Lauren coat, Balenciaga boots.
How did you start making the transition to DJing?
When I moved to New York a bunch of my friends also came over from LA to go to school, which was really fun. I had this friend called Harley, boy Harley, and he was my best friend. He DJed, not professionally, but he DJed for fun. And we always said that we should throw a party together. Its like Harley and Harley. He said, We gotta use this gimmick somehow! How can we make this work? So we decided to throw something and we threw a party at Gallery Bar in the Lower East Side. We both DJed it. He was teaching me how to DJ. So he would sort of do everything and I would just stand behind him and sort of yell at him when he didnt play the songs I want and like. But the party was actually a really huge success because all of our friends from LA didnt really know where to go yet in NY so they would all come to this one party. So it did really well, and as a result we started getting all these offers from people like, Hey! You wanna to do this? You wanna to do this? And the first thing I did as a spinoff of that was Beatrice, which was just opening.
So what would you say is your approach to DJ-ing?
Well, it definitely depends. I DJ so many different places. I have two weeklies at bigger clubs. One is Avenue, which is less of a club atmosphere. They dont make us play Top-40 or anything, you can play whatever you want. But I also spin at 1Oak, which is definitely more of a hip-hop, dance, Top-40. So theyre so very different. I did Lit for three years, which was more the sort of music I would listen to when I was at home Rock and oldies, The Cure and Bowie, New Order type stuff. I have just as much fun playing the popular stuff as the other stuff now. I actually love it. Its really fun. And I do them all with my best friend Cassie, so its really a party! Its always fun, I dont ever have to be up there alone.
Tell me about your modeling and how you got started with that and what youve been doing lately.
Started, Im going to say two, three years ago. I was doing it sort of by myself and then Elite found me and helped me do it better, because I didnt really know what I was doing. But yeah Ive done some fun stuff. I did DKNY and Uniqlo. I did the Cole Haan thing with Todd Selby, which was really fun and hes really cool. Just lots of little projects that are really great. I wouldnt say its something I do all the time, but when I do I really enjoy it and I think its really fun. But DJ-ing has been taking up most of my time.
Miu Miu cat print skirt, cropped top.
What's your style philosophy?
I never know how to describe my personal style. I just have no idea. But definitely, for me, the most important thing ever is to feel super comfortable. It has to be a second skin. And I think that something that goes wrong a lot of times when people try to develop their style, is they try to put together outfits that encompass all these trends and what they should be wearing and what they think they look good in, and they feel awkward in it. You can tell. That comes across when you look at someone. So I think that its super important that youre wearing what you want to wear and what you feel good in and what makes you feel confident.
Are there any things that you find yourself wearing over and over again lately?
I mean, Im such a sucker for a vintage mini dress. I literally have an entire closet and I just wear them with tights and boots every day. Im obsessed with my new shearling. Ive been wearing that every single day its so cozy. I just got this new Tom Binns necklace that I love. I dont know, I sort of wear the same thing in a lot of different ways. Im sort of predictable.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? What are you trying to accomplish and where would you like to be?
Im hoping to travel a lot more and to DJ in places Ive never been... which should be really exciting. I went straight from high school to college, so Im sort of allowing myself at least a year off just to pay attention to the DJ thing and be able to do all the things I couldnt do when I was in school. So, for the first time this year I did NY, London, and Paris Fashion Week, because before Id have to pick because of school. Maybe this year Ill get to do Milan as well, which would be great. And then after that year is up I guess get serious and try and figure out something in radio or something like that, which would be really cool.
Percival sweater, Illesteva sunglasses.
Is there anyone whose career you look up to, who you think has a really awesome job?
John Peel (radio DJ) has always been a hero of mine. Doing something inspired by that would be really fun because doing a radio show, playing stuff thats really important to you and having amazing stars on the show that would be such an amazing thing. So any sort of project inspired by that would be so fun. Id like to go back to school at some point, because I did fall in love with Ancient History and Egyptology. I learned only a tiny tiny percent of what there is to know. So Id love to go back, but I dont know when. I dont know. Im sort of figuring it all out now...
Charlotte Olympia (Harley's cousin) boots.