THE DISTINGUISHED — FASHION
As a child, Mina Robertson recalls scouring the pages of her mom’s fashion magazines. “I’ve always loved the art form. I’ve always been drawn to expression and how we present physically,” she says of her admiration for style. Coupled with the capacity to travel to different countries and see other examples of culture, the 26-year-old founder and creative director of Haveli believes these things have helped to shape the individual she is today.
Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic pounced in 2020, Robertson launched her label Haveli, which by definition means home. She explains that the brand is a representation and channel that can foster connection through the divinity within and around us. With three pillars: Easy Elegance, Divine Femininity, and Legacy Fashion, she endeavours to ensure each piece is sustainably designed and made with comfort in mind, flowing effortlessly while expressing who one is and having the ability to be passed down through generations.
In contrast to her fondness for fashion and the arts, Robertson didn’t always consider it possible to have a creative career and instead adored it as a hobby. She always did well in school and got exemplary grades, but she thought that she would be more suited for political science until she found ESMOD/ISEM Paris, where she pursued a business degree that was tailored to the fashion industry.
“All of this [Haveli] is the business side. It is understanding how to be a sustainable business, make sure the numbers make sense, be responsible.” She pauses while seated in her office, then continues, “Especially when COVID came around, which was the year I started and making sure I could always draw the line between the investment and the return.”
After graduating at the top of her class from ESMOD/ISEM Paris, she returned to Jamaica and worked as an analyst for Sagicor Jamaica. While she appreciated her time there and said she learned a great deal, she knew it wasn’t a solid fit. Heading to The University of the West Indies, she completed a master’s degree in corporate finance (again at the top of her class) and had her eyes set on working in policy analysis. She started the job search, but things weren’t panning out as quickly as she would have expected. So having a bit of free time on her hands, she heard about a trip to India and decided to go.
Fashion was the furthest thing from her mind, but she landed in India and felt that something profound was going to happen. She met numerous artisans and got an opportunity to see what the fashion industry in India was all about, watching the reverence they had for what they were doing and how the earth was being honoured and appreciated. The colours and beauty inspired her, and she felt connected, thinking, “This is what it means to really sit with yourself and come from that sense of spirit.”
On the first day of Navaratri, a nine-day celebration of the Goddess Durga, she took a hike with her travel group at sunrise to set intentions and pray. She remembers being very open and having a spiritual moment. Once she made her way down the hill, she had clarity and a complete plan for Haveli.
She came back to Jamaica, designed a collection and was back to work with the artisans she had met in India in a mere two weeks.
Robertson doesn’t do trendy. Haveli is “Legacy wear” after all, and with inclusive sizes, for everyone, the brand has become a hit among many. What’s more? Every last Sunday of the month, she collaborates with other female-owned businesses for Haveli Last Sundays.
With a beautiful new location on Devon Road in Kingston, when asked how she sees herself evolving, she says, “I’d like to lean more into creativity and explore other creative forms.”