My Charlotte: House of Lemond
Lemond Hart has big, bold ideas for his hometown of Charlotte. The creative mind behind the flashy fashion of House of Lemond shares his story of growth and reflections on life in the Queen City, its history, and where she’s headed.
by Dean McCain
Tell us about yourself. How did you get to where you are today?
“Man know thyself.” That quote has always stuck with me. My name is Lemond (meaning “the world”) plus Hart (a homonym for the symbol of love). I feel I’ve always come from a place of love. I grew up in a rough part of town, in the kind of neighborhood you’re told you won’t live long enough to leave.
My mom was murdered when I was young. I struggled in school, but found a mentor in my school band teacher and that gave me the direction I needed. When I did finally get myself together and pulled my grades up, it was too late and the only way to get into college was through the military, so I joined the army. I was young so my grandma had to sign a consent form for me to get in. I completed basic training in late high school and got to serve in Charlotte for eight years.
I’ve traveled all over and like to visit other big cities, but Charlotte’s always been home. I’ve lived in all different neighborhoods here and it doesn’t matter which one I’m in, I love Charlotte and love being a part of it.
How did you get into fashion?
Sometime in high school I realized that clothes brought out different reactions in people. Some friends and I did a picture day photo contest where we got to style our own look for a group shot. My design was chosen and featured on the school photographer’s marketing materials. That was like my first styling gig; it was so much fun. I knew that Charlotte wasn’t yet a fashionable city but that it was going to blow up as a major cultural crossroads. I knew I wanted to be a part of that process and help make it happen.
When Cam Newton released his fashion line with Belk in 2013, he needed someone local in the scene to help present that line. Some of my past clients I’ve styled gave Cam my name and said he needed to check me out. That was a huge moment for me. It’s led to so many cool opportunities with other local creatives, like Davita Galloway of her and her brother’s Camp North End shop and studio, Dupp & Swat, for example. We’ve traveled and showed at New York Fashion Week together. I love Davita and Dion’s work and the space they hold for black creatives.
How does your business plug in to the fashion community in Charlotte?
I am one of the plugs. This community has so many artists and creative types exploring and doing their own thing. I love to practice collaboration over competition. I love to connect people and connect with people in ways that build Charlotte’s creative platform. I’ve looked at traveling to bigger cities for those kinds of platforms and thought, “Why have to travel? Why not build that here?” I want to keep building a space for fashion not just for my own success, but for the success of my neighbors. Not only to eat, but to eat and feed the community. Paying it forward without expecting a return – that’s how we do it.
What can people do to support local creatives within the LGBTQ+ community?
Learn about your neighbors and your community. Experience another culture through a neighbor. Be communicative and open to people’s differences and still be allies. Knowledge is power!
What makes Charlotte feel like home to you?
Being born here, Charlotte has always felt like home. I wanted to visit other cities but never wanted to move somewhere, I always wanted to be a part of the growth of Charlotte. I just love Charlotte and getting to be involved.
How would you describe Charlotte in one sentence?
We are a royal city.
If someone is visiting Charlotte for the first time, what should they do and see?
I love Latta Nature Preserve, kayaking there and walking the nature trails. Crowders Mountain for hiking, views and a little history. Brooks Sandwich Shop for sure and NoDa Company Store – both awesome local joints in my neighborhood.
What are your go-to shopping spots in Charlotte?
The Sleepy Poet for some hidden treasures, Boris & Natasha, Dupp & Swat especially when there’s an event, and The Rat’s Nest.
What are some of your must-see attractions in Charlotte that you would recommend to friends and family?
There’s so much to fill up a day here: Freedom Park and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, the U.S. Whitewater Center and Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden – all good family friendly outdoor places.