– Story and photography by Lia Crowe
After 36 years, Donna Anderson has passed the glowing torch that is Hughes Clothing to her daughter-in-law, Rebecca Burrows. When Rebecca first arrived in Victoria from Winnipeg at age 19, Donna was the first person to give her a job. As Donna’s employee for 10 years and her daughter-in-law for 18, Rebecca’s professional life has taken her in different directions, but fashion has always been her passion and Hughes has remained very close to her heart.
As I meet Rebecca at Hughes to chat about life and style, I’m greeted with warmth and a glowing sense of humour. I’m not surprised to learn that she was a professional ballet dancer as she has that “major powerhouse in a petite package” energy.
Until last January, Rebecca owned the Bleue Coyote Bar & Grill in Brentwood Bay for 11 years. “I thought I would retire, but that lasted three weeks,” Rebecca laughs. So the opportunity to purchase Hughes Clothing presented itself and all the pieces fell into place. Rebecca officially took over as owner this fall. Asked what has surprised her the most about being back at Hughes after 14 years, she says, “I was struck by how much I have changed since the last time I worked here. How much mellower I am, how much more comfortable I am in my skin. I have never been this happy and content in my life.” Now 43, Rebecca is the mother of three children and two stepchildren, ranging in age from 7 to 13, so I ask her what is the most important life lesson she’s learned since 40? “It’s to keep my circle small. Back in my 20s and 30s it was about quantity. But in the last few years it’s been about keeping my circle small, quality over quantity with everything. With relationships and even clothing and shoes. Keep it small. Why would I need more? It’s important to have a solid circle of people around you.”
Asked how she sees the business moving forward, she says,“I have big shoes to fill, but my husband keeps reminding me that I don’t need to fill anyone’s shoes, that I have different shoes. So I’m not looking to change Hughes, I’m just looking to pivot, put my feel on it. The store is Donna, it has been Donna for 36 years. I’m not looking to take Donna out of it, I’m just looking to inject Rebecca into it. Bring in a few classic lines that I know and love and that I think will fit well in what’s here already.”
FASHION & BEAUTY
All-time favourite piece: Black cocktail dress.
Favourite day-bag: “My classic black leather Prada bag; can’t go wrong.”
Favourite work tool: “My heart. Everything I do in business comes from my heart.”
Favourite jewellery piece or designer: “The three diamond intertwined circles on my necklace, symbolizing my kids and that bond I share with them. Next is a pair of Tiffany’s studs.”
Fashion obsession: “Sweaters! I have so many and I cannot stop buying them!”
Accessory you spend the most money on: “Shoes and purses for sure! I remember saving up for my first Prada handbag.”
Necessary indulgence for either fashion or beauty: “Splurge! You only live once. I’ve always loved fashion and when I wear that special piece that makes me feel on the outside how I’m feeling on the inside, I know it works.”
Moisturizer: Counter+ Overnight Resurfacing Peel by Beautycounter.
Scent: Eternity by Calvin Klein. “That fragrance just works for me. My husband knows when I walk into a room before he even sees me.”
Must-have hair product: “My hair blow dryer which is Tiffany’s blue! I’m a sucker for that colour.”
Beauty secret: “Less is more. I don’t wear makeup. Putting makeup on for this shoot was work enough!”
Style icon: Audrey Hepburn.
Favourite artist: Degas.
Piece of art: Local, DebraK.
Favourite Musician: “Tough one! The Smiths.”
Era that inspires your style: “1960s, for sure.”
Film that inspires your style: Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Album on current rotation: Depeche Mode, Violator.
Favourite Flower: Tulips.
Favourite city to visit: Maui.
Favourite Hotel: Four Seasons Wailea
Favourite App: “Jeopardy — nerd alert!”
Favourite place in the whole world: “At home with my family.”
Fave Print magazine: Vanity Fair.
Fave style blog: Hello Fashion Blog.
Coffee table book/photography book: Dior: The Art of Color by Jerry Stafford, Marc Ascoli and Richard Bernard Burbridge.
Last great read: Becoming by Michelle Obama.
Book currently reading: Guess Who by Chris McGeorge.
Favourite book of all time: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
Find Hughes Clothing here.