by Michele Elyzabeth
I remember my first exposure to Hale Bob was several years ago when I noticed a huge billboard across from the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. Reminiscent of the 70’s, Hale Bob projected the image of the free- spirited California woman: a bit gypsy, yet chic, dressed in colorful printed fabrics. The trendy brand could be found at Bloomingdale’s and other fashionable boutiques. Distinguishing itself from the rest, Hale Bob had an original signature which was recognizable to its clientele through the designs and the beautiful silk material. Unlike most designers, Hale Bob was faceless, so who was the man behind the brand? I recently met the visionary and creator of Hale Bob, Daniel Bohbot, a convivial ladies man with a great passion for fashion.
We sat down at his studio on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles when he let me in on the birth of the brand. Naturally my first question was…
Where did the name Hale Bob come from?
DB: When I came to America, I wanted to change my name to Hale, and Bob was the name of my father, so Hale Bob seemed only natural.
How did you get involved with the fashion industry?
DB: My family has been in fashion for quite a while so it was a no-brainer for me to follow in their footsteps. I love well-dressed women so I started by importing and exporting various labels including Bisou Bisou, which was my brother and my sister-in-law’s line.
Busy color prints have become your trademark. Why is it so interesting to you?
DB: I have always been attracted to artists, especially their artwork and unique designs. We started working with different studios in Europe, buying artwork and reworking them to make them original Hale Bob prints. People seemed to like what we did. We started to incorporate more and more print, so much so that we became well known for it.
I understand that you started with producing only tops for women.
DB: That is correct. When I first came to Los Angeles, I noticed that women were buying expensive designers jeans, yet there was no company that concentrated on offering “designer tops,” so I decided to take a crack at it and fill the gap. I did this for five years and it was very well received. Today, I have added dresses and pants and other things — it’s a full- fledged collection.
How many collections per year?
DB: I function differently, I have the regular collection, but I add new models each month. In fact we have 12 collections.
DB: Women like to change clothes every month. They like to have new things and I want to indulge them. Also, times have changed; you must reinvent yourself all of the time.
I know that you pride yourself on specializing in resort clothing. How do you deal with the winter collection?
DB: We do sweaters as well. We also do a little bit of fur in the Hale Bob collection. For my other line, Liberty Garden, we make jackets, coats, ponchos, etc…
When did Liberty Garden start, and why?
DB: A year and half ago, I launched this new “green “concept using ecological fabrics — it has become a huge trend. I also wanted to tie a charity to it and give back.
How did that come about?
DB: I had heard of “Doctors without Borders” and their efforts to stop Malaria around the world. While all charitable organizations might be good, it is really difficult to know how funds are being dispersed. But the way we have structured our donations with “Liberty Garden” is — buy one piece, change one life — for each piece, we buy one treatment for malaria.
How much does that cost?
DB: It costs $1, and you know exactly that when you buy it, you’re going to do this action. The first year we were responsible for buying 70,000 pieces and saving $70,000 lives. It is amazing what a dollar can do.
What is the direction now?
DB: Hale Bob is getting involved with accessories. We just signed a license for shoes. We have one for suitcases, etc. We are working on handbags and scarves.
When will we see the shoes?
DB: Probably Spring 2016. It will be a full collection including high heels and platforms made of leather.
How old is the woman who wears Hale Bob?
DB: There is no age. She can be 25 or 75. Any woman can wear Hale Bob as long as she is into fashion.
What about Liberty Garden?
DB: Liberty Garden is for all women as well. It depends on who she is. Let’s say that Liberty Garden is young contemporary, whereas Hale Bob is more contemporary and a bit more sophisticated.
You don’t do any men’s fashion.
DB: Not yet.
You’re coming out with perfume.
DB: Yes, and scented candles which will launch next summer.
Where can we buy Hale Bob?
DB: Online of course, in our boutiques, we have one in Los Angeles, we have four in Mexico, we have one in Spain, and also in department stores like Bloomingdale’s.
Where do you see your future going?
DB: We see it a lot online. We want to develop all kinds of products besides clothing and also distribute these products so that people are able to get whatever we make anywhere in the world.
Hale Bob has been quite successful all over the world and has cultivated a faithful clientele which includes a celebrity fan base with the likes of Sofia Vergara, Eva Longoria, Heidi Klum, Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford and Amal Clooney.