An ex-graphic designer, Honie Haig fused her creativity with her Korean heritage to design her own Asian-inspired fashion label, Gyegi. Known for its distinctive shapes, eye-catching colours and patterns, the Gyegi range has become a popular choice for its non-mass-produced line and flexible ‘free-sized’ approach.
The label has attracted a loyal following after being stocked at Gyegi’s previous store in Brunswick for two years and at Design a Space’s three outlets (CBD, Chapel Street and now Fitzroy) for four years. Manufactured in South Korea in limited quantities, Gyegi cuts a unique profile with its combination of vibrant colours, graceful feminine charm and ‘urban quirkiness’.
But since developing Gyegi as both designer and retailer, Honie realised most of her customers wanted dresses that made them look slimmer.
“I mean who wouldn’t? A dress that’s easy to wear, comfy, versatile and most of all, slimming!,” she said.
So, she created ‘Honie & J’ – a brand dedicated to doing just that. After searching for some time, Honie has finally found the right partner with the same vision of the Hone & J concept.
“My first collection will only be dresses but who knows where it might be end up? But for now, I want to focus on easy, sexy and slimming dresses only,” she said.
We spoke with Honie before she debuts the collection exclusively to Premiere boutique trade event this weekend from Sunday 26 August at the Royal Exhibition Building.
Where do you source your inspiration? And how do they drive you and influence your design?
My inspiration comes from dealing with actual customers every day. They tell me what they want. They tell me what sort of dress they would like to wear and why they like certain styles. I try to listen to my customers and reinterpret their desires my own way. Then those thoughts ultimately become “Honie & J’.
How do you transfer these inspirations into design? Talk us through your design process from drawing board to in-store/online?
As a trained graphic designer I start to research first. I gather as much relevant information as possible then in the end I base my designs on what I learned from that research. I then draw lots of ideas and then develop them into the final garments with lots of help from my production team. I have found that it’s imperative to listen to my customers but it’s vital to stick with my own concepts.
Can you tell us the story behind the name?
My name is Honie and my other Korean business partner’s name is Kiseok Jang. That’s where the J comes from. We tried to come up with so many names but in the end we both liked ‘Honie & J’. It represents us as who we are. Honie and J! Simple!
You are about to showcase the brand at Premiere, why did you choose this event and what do you hope to gain?
I know Premiere is more for independent labels like mine. I like the venue, the organisers and the timing is right. I knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity even though I am only able to show a small range of Honie & J. I want to increase the public profile of my new label and I want lots and lots of orders!
What’s in store for the future – where do you see the brand heading?
We would love to open a store to only carry Honie & J in Melbourne and in Seoul in the very near future. Selling wholesale is important to us too. Also, we are looking at selling overseas in other countries as well. But – let’s see how my potential customers respond to my first range of Honie & J!
See the new Honie & J range at Premiere boutique trade event for exclusive brands this Sunday August 26 until Tuesday at the iconic Royal Exhibition Building.
For more information or to register, visit premiere.net.au