Veronica Beard: Cool Times Two
—Meet the sisters-in-law behind New York brand Veronica Beard.
The fashion industry is no stranger to family-run businesses. Think Gianni and Donatella Versace, Rebecca and Uri Minkoff, even Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen of The Row. Design duo Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard are the powerhouses behind their eponymous clothing label, and aside from sharing the same name, they also happen to be sisters-in law. While the two have an obvious familial bond, it was their friendship and undying love for fashion that led to the creation of Veronica Beard in 2010.
Before founding their wildly successful label, it would be some odd years before the two eventually joined forces. Both East Coast girls at heart, Swanson Beard used to split her time between Naples, Florida and San Francisco before working in the sales department for designers such as Narcisco Rodriguez and Alberta Ferretti. Meanwhile, Miele Beard was born and raised not too far away from Hudson County in North Caldwell, New Jersey. Her path is less conventional for that of someone in the fashion industry, as she originally got her start in finance as partner and COO of a technology hedge fund.
Today, the Veronicas both live and work full-time in New York and have a combined eight children between them. “After leaving our careers in finance and fashion to raise our families, we found ourselves at family gatherings talking about fashion, styling, and trends—what we loved, wanted and needed, but couldn’t find in the market,” they told me. “We knew there were other women out there like us who wanted a chic answer to everyday dressing, so we set out to design a line based on the concept of a uniform and we took the leap with our Dickey Jacket.”
Little did they know their risk would pay off, and those so-called “other women out there” would include none other than the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Obama and Amal Clooney to name a few.
The Dickey Jacket epitomizes everything that the Veronica Beard “uniform” was built on—garments that are chic enough to take you from day-to-night, classic in a way that never goes out of style and so versatile that they’ll fit into any modern woman’s wardrobe. It starts with one of their tailored blazers and then it’s up to the wearer what kind of interchangeable insert they want to pair it with—anything from sweatshirt hoodies and denim jackets to sweater zip-ups, leather bombers and even puffer vests. Essentially, a dickey allows you to have the look of something layered, without the bulk. Some have even referred to it as “life-changing.”
Since the launch of their most popular item, Veronica Beard has expanded to include staples such as throw-it-on-and-go dresses, cropped pants, flouncy tops and cozy knits. In 2017, they added stretchy denim with “Secret Skinny Pockets” and fashionable footwear, to which the Veronicas hoped women would put together or mix-and-match to create their own look. What’s more, they’ve opened up eight brick-and-mortar locations across the US since their inception and have gone on to collaborate with Bandier on activewear and Kassatex on a summer capsule collection.
“We feel so lucky to have each other because we would not be where we are today if there weren’t two of us. Our two perspectives are what make this brand so unique and genuine and while we don’t always agree on every minute decision or design detail, we are always aligned on the big picture. Having each other to lean on makes our successes that much more rewarding.”
The differing perspectives that the Veronica’s speak of extends not only to their personalities, but to their personal style. Swanson Beard names her aesthetic as “cool, classic and chic” while Miele Beard is “eclectic, edgy and always a little rock ‘n’ roll.” In order to craft their collections, they bring both of their points of view to the table to form one cohesive vision. This season, that manifested into a motif they called, The Great Haute-Doors.
For Fall 2019, their ready-to-wear collection asks the question: “What happens when you take the grande dame of Park Avenue and drop her in the middle of the woods?” The Veronicas described it to me as opulence meets the outdoors, which translates to elevated plaids, jewel-tones, velvet dresses, puffer vests “all in rich layers and textures.” The ultimate glamping ensemble, I’d say.
In capturing the rugged spirit of autumn, Veronica Beard played up the theme of adventure—offering pieces that are bold, surprising and of the functional variety. A checkered mohair jacket gets paired with a sleek pencil skirt; a tight-fitting boiler suit is crafted out of brown leather; quarter-zip fleeces come in leopard and camouflage prints. There were also references to tactical gear, including a bungee cord that was turned into a belt and nods to nature with flowery skirts, deep emerald greens, burnt orange and mustard yellows. Eveningwear was not to be forgotten, most prominently seen in an allover sequin midi dress in raspberry and silver applications.
During Veronica Beard’s Fall 2019 presentation, they debuted extended sizing offerings. “We extended our sizing to include 00 through 24 in order to make our designs accessible to women who want to wear the clothing and to include those who have not been able to wear it in the past. We’re continuously working the fit and we’re introducing new styles each season,” said the Veronicas, who worked with Kedic to launch extended sizing and consulted with blogger/entrepreneur Katie Sturino on style, fit and customer experience.
In celebrating women, the Veronicas are also known for their philanthropic efforts. In 2015, they introduced an initiative called #VBGivesBack. Every month on their website, Veronica Beard highlights a woman, her cause and donates $10 per online order to her charity. In addition, they frequently hold in-store shop-for-a-cause events nationwide with a percentage of sales going to a local charity.
As for what Veronica Beard has on the horizon, the women didn’t want to give too much away but hinted at an exciting new collaboration coming this October. We’ll be on standby until then, although I’d pick up just about anything these two women are putting down.