I (virtually) met Siobhan from H.Huna via an Instagram & Facebook community that we both belong to and her brand ethos and approach to fashion instantly chimed with me. H.Huna seeks to design simple seasonless clothing for those who treasure craftsmanship, impeccable detail and prefer to own things for life. Her capsule collection of beautifully made, easy to wear pieces are to die for and so I was intriguied to find out more about her story...
Hi Siobhan, can you tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to set up your business?
I think I was always intrigued with clothing from a young age seeing my Nan knit, sew clothes for myself and my cousins and in turn encouraging me to use the sewing machine (quite poorly!) from a young age to make up some Barbie clothes!
I met a friend of a friend who worked for Quiksilver (when it was big) when I was at school who lived what seemed like a dream travelling to factories and customers which got me onto the fashion career path but it was only once I started working in this career did I start to see the true colours of there being no relationship with the collections, the suppliers nor the purpose behind each garment except to sell as many as possible within the relevant quarter of trade to meet higher sales targets and make as much margin as possible.
I wanted to go back to my Nan’s mindset of making/buying and wearing with a purpose, to have faith in each garment owned and the potential longevity each piece offers encouraging dependence and love for that must have.
When and why did the concept of slow fashion become important to you?
Think it was when I started to see the change in the quality of each product produced in the fast fashion I worked across in order to meet the lead times and the target profits, when quality took a backseat and the creativity and talent that went into each piece was never acknowledged.
Alongside the change in my mindset when I started to identify with my own style, what I did and didn’t like instead of following everyone else’s lead on the key trends to follow and being swept up in the blindsighted-ness of it all.
How did you go about creating the capsule collection? I imagine it was hard to narrow down the pieces so what made you choose the pieces you did? Who are they aimed at?
There were several illustrations, cut outs and mock toiles to help envision how and if each piece could be worn with one another along with quite a lot of in-depth sourcing on the fabric side of things to be sure they not only offered functionality to each piece but were also suited to the goal of ‘seasonless’ fashion.
For example, our Long Sleeved Shirt, the Oxford cotton is a medium weight but in a texture to add a bit of depth to the fabric base for the colder months whilst being breathable for the warmer months and regarding the shape, I kept it loose to enable our customer to layer up when chilly or wear as a throw on when warm.
What are the main influences on your designs? Do you start with a strong idea of the piece you want to create or is there lots of research before you get to the designing stage?
I usually start with a few ideas already in place based on what we look to as wardrobe necessities then look across brands such as Margaret Howell, Filippa K etc. to see what they sign off as key pieces in their collections to then review this in correspondence with our signature style along with envisioning how each piece can be worn with one another to illustrate the capsule collection potential.
How, where and by whom are the clothes made?
Our Knitwear is all made in Aberdeenshire by Harley of Scotland using seam free technology to lessen the wastage of yarn, all knitted in one cylinder and the lambswool yarn is from both South Africa and Australia. And our non Knitwear is made in Tottenham, London by a lovely Turkish family owned factory called Daas Trading .
Can you tell me a little bit more about how you developed relationships with the factories that manufacture your garments?
When meeting with Daas I had a few proto samples to hand I had made with another factory who had rushed the job creating quite a poor shoddy example of my designs, not reflecting the simplistic, functional yet beautifully made impression I so desired. Upon first sight of the samples the owner was disgusted at the quality and immediately insisted he take it upon his factory’s reputation to make up another version of a proto type to prove the passion of workmanship can be portrayed in a garment. They were a very honest factory who enabled me continual access to see the goods in production no doubt way too many times.
And Harley were a bit of a life saver when again I was working with another knitwear supplier to create our Grey Jumper only to see they had created a proto sample using three different colour yarns and five times too big! And this was only seven weeks before we were in agreement bulk production would start to meet my exclusive launch date, but thankfully through already booking our gorgeous Cardigan with Harley I managed to slip in there the production to make our gorgeous jumper following an already existent pattern they happened to have to hand with just a few tweaks.
What’s next for you and your business?
One of the bonuses of the first lockdown was the wonderful connections made with fellow independent brands so much so that I have been taking part in a pop up shop in Crouch End with a few fellow slow lifestyle brands. As for collections, this year was put on hold due to the uncertainty of lockdown and opportunities to appear in pop up shops/markets so I am hoping to add a few drop in pieces to our current collection in 2021 refreshing our current wardrobe essentials and offering our customers more ways to identify with their style.
Thanks Siobhan, it was great to hear more about your ethos and your brand! You can check out H.Huna's beautiful capsule pieces here and connect with Siobham and catch up on the latest news on Instagram.
Finally, I picked my favourites from the H.Huna capsule collection and asked Siobhan which pieces of my jewellery she would style with them...
Drop Sleeve Cocoon Dress, the perfect all in one piece would work well with some bold and dramatic earrings like the Single orbit hoops or the Apollo statement earrings to draw the eye down to the beauty of the neck shape.
Elin Horgan designs and creates handmade jewellery in her Bristol studio. Elin’s beautifully simple handmade jewellery is carefully crafted and designed to be worn every day. You can read more about Elin’s work and the ethos behind her understated jewellery brand on her About Elin Horgan Jewellery page.