Dan Buckley, founder of Huffer, has transferred his streetwear knowledge into two separate labels, Thing Thing and now the newest ethical line HIH. We spoke to Buckley about his thoughts on the new business.
Buckley's career in fashion took off to positive reviews. After a period off, Buckley said to Idealog back in 2012, that he still had a lot to give the streetwear game - shortly after Thing Thing was created.
Now, almost five years after the transition the streetwear mogul has launched his newest collection, HIH.
HIH, as stated by its site, is a line of ethically produced clothing, made in minimal quantity with quality of fabrication and thoughtful garment construction in mind.
Buckley has placed a lot of importance around the ethical manufacturing of this newest line - choosing to be transparent with the entire process of creating his items.
The collection, which you can scroll through below, includes high quality materials paired with simple yet comfortable designs - amongst the clothing available is also a "sitting down device", (read: chair) called The Wobbler.
What inspired you to create HIH?
“In regards to working on clothing, it seems so natural to me, it’s just who I am I think. I am drawn to the simple nature of clothing design and production. It’s a product that is ‘right there’.
I love to be comfortable, at ease, and what I am wearing or not wearing is a major part of that, so the creation of HIH was just some kind of natural happening.”
What was the initial idea behind the new brand? Do you find that there is a demand for it?
“I just want to make super good clothing and deliver well. That’s it! HIH definitely has a small but growing customer base, - hopefully with some work we can grow this.”
A strong part of HIH is its ethical qualities, why is creating clothing that is 'ethical' important to you?
“It’s a common idea within businesses today, across all kinds of products and industries, and I really relate to this. I’m excited to work with a range of people, and I get excited to go and visit with my team in China, I am excited to develop a long and friendly relationship there, along with right across the business as it grows.
Having an ethical point of view, thinking about things long range, is just an easy way to be, and a good way to live.”
How do you ensure that you maintain good manufacturing relationships over in South China, where the clothes are created?
“Constant communication. We talk daily about so many aspects of the business, product design, development, and delivery, all the communication around that. We pay fairly which inspires our China team to do the work well, I think.
I am helping my guys in China grow their business which will, in turn, help their personal lives get better. We are working on moving the factory, so the team can be closer to their families. Currently, it’s a pretty big commute to work for the team, and we are pretty focused on family life as well as producing. Happy team equals better work and a better product, and it feels good, and gives our day purpose – to have good goals like this.”
How do you make sure there is a visibility around your ethical production?
“We run audits which are a double-edged sword, Audits like WRAP, are kind of good to get the certification that the factory is adhering to all elements – to provide great working conditions for their workers, the certification really helps, but this can be pretty expensive for the factory owners, and time-consuming for the staff.
The biggest thing I find to get a piece of mind around the ethics within the supply chain is to be intimately involved. Getting to know your maker on a personal level, getting into the factory, working in the factory. Getting personal with just seeing how everything is going, and being a part of it. I have worked with the same team for years across a handful of projects, but with HIH I have further cemented these long-term relationships.
I visit with my factory as much as I can, at least a couple times a year, as the business builds, this will happen even more.”
How do you target your demographic? What do you find works to most for your brand?
“With HIH word of mouth is the biggest one, so just talking about it – getting your buddies wearing it, is a great start point.
We run a little bit of advertising, Instagram, and Facebook along with a bit of Google ad word. Having a great product is what works best which leads to word of mouth which in turn leads to sales, this is what we are finding.”
How do you feel about working primarily in an ecommerce market?
“Particularly in the early days of a start-up, (HIH has been in the market for less than a year) you have to really work it, pick your battles and go for it. I am excited about being ecommerce only as it has unlimited potential - the planet is my market.
I have a pretty big vision for how we grow it. Ecommerce is great, but I am pretty sure ecommerce will not be the only avenue explored with HIH.”
Where are you hoping to see HIH in the near future? Tell us about your further plans for the business.
“More product and category experimentation, and refinement, and getting more people in HIH are our simple goals right now!”
The HIH factory is based in Guangzhou, South China. Have a look at the images below to see the inner workings of the manufacturing process.