There are certain brands that, either because of the concept, why they started, because of the style or because of the marvelous people behind them, that have really come close to my heart. HAI is definitely one of them. Relatively unknown, this Austin based brand is as pure and raw as the materials they use, but as chic and cosmopolitan as the minds behind it.
I, Marta, had the pleasure to meet with Karen and Chrissy and hear in their own words how Hai started.
Marta – Hello ladies, we finally meet each other! I can't believe it's been two seasons with the brand at the shop already and it is the first time we meet face to face. As you can see I am wearing the Car Coat and I seriously have not stopped wearing it since I got it at the shops almost a year ago!
Karen – Hii! I know... It feels like we definitely have known each other for so long, it's incredible all of it has been through email and skype! Amazing to see you wearing the coat, I have to say, I noticed as soon as you came in haha, It makes us super happy to know that you not only like the line to have it at the shop but that you also wear it and love as much as we do!
M – I sure do! I feel it defines pretty great what I do, or try to do at the shops, but wait, let's start from the beginning. Did you ladies always knew that this was what you wanted to do?
K - I think I more or less fell into it! Although I did spend almost every week of my younger years awaiting the next issue of The Face!
C - I was always a little obsessed with clothing and the stories you could tell with it. It wasn’t until I took a textiles class in college that I realized it was my passion.
M - It's so funny I feel the exact same way! Like I was always into it, and I always knew in the back of my mind that it was something I wanted to be involved with but it took me a while to realize that this world was the one I belonged to! I think I was also really inspired by textiles to make the big step, like you Chrissy. Are textiles a big part of your inspiration when designing a new collection? What are the first steps? Do you start by a color palette, or a textile, or a pattern? What is the first inspiration that sets all in motion?
K - Over the course of a few months we gather images, fabrics, even tactile objects and bring them to our first production meeting of the season. Then we take it from there. It’s funny but most of the time we end up presenting similar ideas. I guess that’s a way of knowing when you’re meant to work together!
M - Sounds very familiar, all great collaborations I feel are the same way. More than you trying to make it work it is just it working by itself when you get together and share ideas! Was it the same when you started thinking about what the brand would be? How would you describe in a few words what your brand is? What are the fundaments of it? What keeps you motivated to continue doing what you do?
K - Wearable, accessible and simple. We wanted to make clothes that we would want to wear, that jacket or dress that becomes your wearable staple of the season. I think we will continue you to do it for just that very reason! So we can keep making clothes for our friends and ourselves!
C - Definitely. We also have a passion for beautiful fabrics, natural fibers and making things in the US.
M - Hah, I think you described exactly what our motto is here at Revolver and Voyager, I guess that is why it was such love at first sight with me and you ladies! That is how I felt when I first saw the linen collection you made, I was looking for those perfect summer pieces that one could wear all year long, that were comfortable and wearable and definitely amazing quality but that also would make you feel gorgeous when you had them on, and there they were in a perfect tiny box coming all the way from Austin... Was that connection also important for you guys when deciding to approach us to carry the line? What was about Revolver & Voyager that you like?
C - A lot of designers we love are at Revolver. We love the aesthetic of Voyager and Revolver and we love the way it’s curated. We are proud to have our clothes there.
M - And we are so proud to have you guys there! Really, one of my favorite brands and one of the ones I am most proud on carrying! Ok, and to finish the classic question of how do you see the line in 10 years … terrible, I know.. but i want to know more about where would you like to see it? What would you like the future of the brand to be??
K- Having our own flagship store in Austin would be nice, I think we would also like to try to expand into accessories and home-wares, maybe!? Chrissy?!
C - Ha! Yes, accessories and home wares! I think we would like to see the line find its way into stores in all of the major US markets and some over seas. And a flagship here at home would be fantastic!
M - Oh yes! Please do! That sounds amazing! Can not wait for all of it to happen! Thanks so much Karen & Chrissy, it is such a pleasure working with you!
Shop HAI here