Tag Archives: eco friendly

Introducing…our two latest HEUCY Gals

Yesterday was one of those days where time flies by, but you’re having so much fun you don’t realize it!  We know, firsthand, that this is not always the case…so if you want to live vicariously, read on about our shoot yesterday and the incredible HEUCY Gals (nee “real life” models), Robin and Asa, we were lucky enough to photograph.  Hopefully they will inspire you too.

Setting: it’s 10:30am, on a Thursday.  Suwha and I are consuming our third (or fourth?) cups of coffee, working.  At that moment, a beautiful, statuesque, cheerful woman appears at the door of HEUCY HQ.  It is Robin Wilson, our first model for that day.  We knew Robin was attractive.  And we knew that she was an entrepreneurial powerhouse; her second book, Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle just came out (she’s currently in the midst of a 12 city tour now to promote it) and she is the CEO of Robin Wilson Home, a line of eco-friendly home products that is sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Wilson.CVR.high-res.RGBRobin1

We wanted to photograph Robin partly because of her advocacy of green living, a natural synergy with HEUCY.  But as we chatted with Robin after she arrived, Suwha and I realized that we had won the model lottery!  Not only would Robin look amazing in a potato sack (I mean, those arms…), but she also had a lot of invaluable business advice for us.  Robin has been incredibly successful in a variety of roles, and she has learned a lot along the way.  And, because Robin had been a model back in the day, she was a natural in front of the camera.  Robin is also a mom, and she successfully juggles her growing empire with being a doting parent.  It was really encouraging to talk with her about motherhood and running a business.

Atelje71

After bidding Robin adieu, and best of luck on her book tour, we trekked to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to photograph our other new lady crush Asa Larsson.  Picture Gwyneth Paltrow with a shorter haircut and a slight Swedish accent.  Asa Larsson had been head of PR at Marc Jacobs for years, and she made the brave choice to leave one of the most coveted jobs on the planet after her adorable son Odin was born.  She decided to pursue a path that was just as creative and challenging, but more flexible than that of high fashion PR.

The Cover Up-Casual

Asa and her husband David recently launched ATELJÉ 71, a line of Swedish-inspired shoes that are featured throughout HEUCY’s Spring 2015 look book.  They are seriously some of the coolest shoes we’ve ever seen.  When our stylist Kristen Ingersoll introduced us to ATELJÉ 71, we said we had to meet the founders because “Nordic Spring” was our inspiration for this season…and because ATELJÉ 71 and HEUCY are brands rooted in the same conventions and aesthetic.  Both are focused on creating beautiful and thoughtful design for strong, dynamic women…who do a lot of sh*t and who move around a lot!  These women need a practical, chic uniform to accommodate a full life.

Asa 2Asa on deck

I don’t exaggerate when I say I wanted to move into Asa’s apartment.  I was really hoping she and David would adopt me, so I could just hang out on their sick terrace (that view!!) all evening and drink wine and laugh and chat about life.

But, alas, we needed to give Asa, David and Odin some space since they had hosted us for a few hours and Asa and David had to get ready for a night out on the town…as cute couples do.  Yesterday was one of those days when you realize how important it is to get out and meet women like Robin and Asa to get inspired, and to feel connected to the world around you.  This is especially true now, when so many people have lives and careers that are more gray than black and white.

More photos to come.  Until then, happy May Day and TGIF!

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Tuesday’s Top Five: Inspired by the South

peel 'n eat shrimpparentsyard

As one half of team HEUCY visits family on the coast of Georgia, we’re reminded of some of the many things that we love about the South. Peel ‘n eat shrimp, people with manners, and – to put it simply – the natural beauty in this area of the world. Even on a cloudy day (and we’ve had a few since our visit started), the marsh and town “square” are gorgeous and remain seemingly untouched by the modern world.

shrimpboatsvernon square

Right now is vacation time for a few of you, and some have a break coming soon…so we wanted to highlight our favorite movies that were filmed and take place on the Southeastern coast. Hopefully you can kick up your heels, reward yourself for surviving the worst winter (ever?), and relax in some eco-friendly HEUCY jersey while you curl up and enjoy some of these flicks. A few are also books, if you’re so inclined.

the-big-chill-entire-cast-2

The Big Chill. So much to love about this movie. The setting, an antebellum house in Beaufort, South Carolina (where HEUCY Gal Claire Nitze hails from and where The Great Santini was also filmed), is absolutely gorgeous and the soundtrack is awesome: Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations. The term “big chill dinner” is often used in my household to indicate the best type of cooking – when it’s paired with lots of wine, music and good company. Watching a bunch of baby boomer college friends reunite after their friend has passed away, and forcing themselves to confront their own thirtysomething issues, is pretty poignant. Fun fact: Kevin Costner was cast as the dead character Alex, but all scenes showing his face were cut…he’s made career strides since then, obviously.

midnight3midnight2

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This is one of the best books I’ve read, and it’s a pretty good movie, too. John Kelso, a “Yankee”, travels to Savannah, Georgia to write a feature about Jim Williams’ famous annual Christmas party. What Kelso discovers is much more – a cast of irresistible, hilarious yet incredibly real characters in Savannah and unexpectedly, a murder trial. Kelso’s dry descriptions of his new friends down South, amidst the beautiful architecture and setting of “old” Savannah, are spot-on in the book. The movie features one of Jude Law’s first performances on screen, and Jude demonstrates that he looks good AND he can act. We love seeing Kevin Spacey with a moustache too. Spacey’s southern accent in the film proves he was meant to play Frank Underwood one day.

215px-Princeoftides

The Prince of Tides. I won’t lie. I never pictured Barbra Streisand as Dr. Lowenstein when I read Pat Conroy’s popular novel many years ago. But I have to say, she pulls it off (of course she does…I mean, Babs is a HEUCY Gal) and Nick Nolte is wonderful as Tom. This book is a great beach read – try to read it before you watch the movie.

forrestgump

Forrest Gump. The scene in Forsyth Square in Savannah helped put that great town back on the map. Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise play unforgettable roles in a movie that made me pine for the deep South even while I was living there. (Side note: Robin, if you’re reading this…PLEASE replace Claire Underwood’s wardrobe with some jersey).

glory

Glory. Filmed throughout Georgia and South Carolina and featuring a nearly unrecognizable Matthew Broderick. Denzel Washington is ah-mazing as a young, angry soldier, and Morgan Freeman – per usual – delivers a fabulous performance.

Okay, gals.  You made it through winter.  Throw on some HEUCY, relax and enjoy!  Whether you’re on vacation or not…

xx,

Team HEUCY

Monday’s Musing…on a Tuesday

carrie1

A few months back, we were obsessing over Carrie Mathison’s choice of accessories. A cross-body bag didn’t seem like the smartest choice for a CIA operative in Pakistan, especially when she’s being chased by bad guys. But we’ve let that go, as we’ve noticed how fabulous a cross-body bag would look with our Nordic Spring styles. Once again, Carrie, you were right.

frankandclaire

Alas, we have to wait many months to see how Carrie’s wardrobe choices and love life evolves. Fortunately, House of Cards is now available on Netflix! We can throw down our books and binge watch five episodes at a time, as one is meant to do, regardless of wake-up time and other more serious obligations.

claire1

And as we watch House of Cards, we can’t help but analyze Claire Underwood’s wardrobe. If anyone has a uniform, it’s this first lady. Claire is much more high fashion than Carrie, natch (no pant suits in sight)…but her style also lacks a comfort that could benefit the busy days and nights of WOPOTUS. Maybe Claire wouldn’t be so darn mean and conniving if she weren’t packed into a tight, unforgiving pencil skirt?  Perhaps the scheming would stop, or lessen a bit, if Claire was wearing the Alter Ego jumpsuit and daydreaming about her more innocent days as a Harvard undergrad?

claire3

We can see that Claire loves a very well-tailored garment, and that won’t change. But with all that back-stabbing, manipulation, running around the Capitol and – literally — running…we think Claire should incorporate some HEUCY sustainable jersey into her life. It would accommodate her active lifestyle much better than those stiff dresses and tight blazers. And we think the environmental lobbyists would go crazy over her eco-friendly fashion.

HOUSE OF CARDS

Here are our top 5 picks for Claire, just in time for Spring and the cherry trees abloom.

DateNight

The Date Night in feather print. Lots of allusions to eggs and feathers in episode 2. Again, we won’t go there…but we do think the print would look FAB on Claire and could be perfect if she decides to escape D.C. again to visit an old amour. This dress is so easy to pack and it doesn’t wrinkle. (Remember, last time, she didn’t even change clothes. This could fit into her Celine bag).

Alter EgoClaire-Underwood

The Alter Ego in gray bamboo microstripe. Gray is such a House of Cards color…and this jumpsuit is perfect for lounging on the White House couch, lobbying senators for that coveted UN appointment.

Weekender

The Weekender in Indigo. We can’t wait to release this style very soon (stay tuned). Once campaigning starts, Claire will need this dress. She’s obviously very disciplined about what she eats…but chicken wings and donuts are part of the job when want red state votes. (I come from one, so I’m not judging). A little looser fabric around the middle can’t hurt when the photo-op snacking starts. Sorry, Claire. But it must be done for the sake of the country.

ProblemSolver

The Problem Solver. This dress is great for women like Claire, who love to run and who always have problems that need solving. She could throw this on after a jog around the Mall, and quickly pop into Hector Mendoza’s office to tell him what she really thinks.   A “hothead”, Mr. Mendoza, would not wear a cool dress like this.

Burnout

The Burnout. We haven’t finished Season 3 yet (don’t tell us the ending!), so we’re still placing bets on what happens. I’m thinking Claire finally has a crisis of conscience and she decides to run off to the Greek Isles with her ex-amour, the cute photographer.  A Mediterranean diet and lots of sunshine could do her a world of good.

Which leads to a spin-off…the photog is actually a CIA Operative who has had a fling with Carrie Mathison. A Claire/Carrie face-off would be phenomenal, don’t you think?  In jersey, of course.

xx,

The HEUCY Team

Choosing the Signature Fabric

114 days until launch

Fabric choice is the most important and elementary choice in developing a garment (well, besides good taste). It literally is the thing that makes up the garment. The choice of fabric also defines the garment development process. It will determine the style lines and cut of the pattern. It determines which factory one chooses to make the garment.

So the HEUCY signature fabric is – drumroll please – Jersey! There are so many different types of fabric, but jersey is a natural choice for HEUCY after going through the following analysis.

Designers usually consider the following in choosing fabric:

  1. Does it look/feel good?
  2. Is it priced right?
  3. Can the minimum requirements for production be met?
  4. Is it on-trend?

So we considered all those factors, but in staying true to the HEUCY ideal of simplifying life with a versatile garment produced with fewer pollutants, we needed to also consider:

  1. Can it be handled and produced into garments at a reasonable price point in the US?
  2. Is it versatile in wear?
  3. Can it be washed as opposed to dry-cleaned?
  4. Is it made of eco-friendly fibers?

The fabric that checked all these boxes was Jersey.  So we sourced swatches from mills across the country and as well as from Canada.

fabric swatches
fabric swatches

Then we narrowed the choices down and requested test yardage from a handful of mills.

test fabrics
test fabrics

The test fabrics above all look the same you say? Well, they kind of do on-screen here, but they all have a different weight, different content, different stretch, different drape, different method of dye, different country of origin, different wholesalers.

So on to testing, testing, testing to determine the best jersey for the styles sketched and in development. Good thing I am Asian – I am good at tests.

Simplification Goal #1: Made in America

118 days until launch – 4th of July edition

made in korea
made in korea

(not these people – they were Made in Korea – like all good fashion items from the 70s and 80s)

I am an import (pictured above with my sister, I am on the left rocking out an outfit that would make a male Brooklyn hipster jealous) – landed in JFK in 1983. It’s not that I don’t appreciate products (or people) made in other countries.

But here are some things I have learned along the way. Hauling fabric and trim from one continent to another to test/sample and then to another to manufacture and then back to another to sell is 1) expensive and 2) involves lots and lots of fuel.

Places from which I have sourced fabrics and trim in my previous jobs: Italy, China, UK, France, Korea, USA

Places where I manufactured garments and accessories with these fabrics and trim: London, UK, Luton, UK, Zhejiang, China, Hong Kong, Portugal

Countries where these garments and accessories were sold: UK, USA, Spain, Italy, Japan

scientific map
scientific map

This my very scientific accounting of all the air travel the fabrics, trim, garments and accessories went through. But seriously, all this transport drives up the cost of these items sold to the customers (that’s you!) and it is killing a family of whales as we speak.

I am no expert on exactly how much damage all this moving things back and forth around the globe is doing (despite my four years of Patagonia wearing, recycled college issue insulated mug carrying days at Middlebury College, the hotbed of all things environmentally responsible) but I do believe that well-made chic garments can be made without doing so much harm.