Alice Isles (left) and Kiki Judd (right) from hej hej. Image supplied.
Alice Isles and Kiki Judd launched contemporary womenswear hej hej earlier this year and recently debuted the brand at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018. Their showing made quite the splash with media and buyers invited onto a yacht to view their new spring collection up close. They followed it up with a successful four day pop-up shop with customers now able to shop their range online.
We caught up with Alice and Kiki to find out more about their brand, what inspires them and what you would never catch them wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
Our Spring range is called The Cruise Control Collection. Linen is just one of those fabrics that makes you feel like you’re on holiday. This collection will inspire our customers to kick back and take on their summer holiday personality – no matter where they are – even in an over-air-conditioned office, with a 5pm deadline, sipping on lukewarm instant coffee.
What made you become a designer?
Alice: I have has always loved sewing and creating. I have some graphic design experience and also studied pattern making. I find the entire process so satisfying, from sketch to sample to final production, it’s the best moment when a customer puts something on and looks incredible.
Kiki: I have always loved all things fabric and fashion so it’s a dream come true to be able to work with Alice and contribute some of my ideas and style into the design process.
What inspires you?
Everything around us, from culture to people to places where we like hanging out, whether that’s in Shanghai or Auckland. We’re obsessed with colours and fabrics. We both love being surrounded by piles of swatches and picking apart every colour and tone. Being in the heart of China means we can access exotic fabrics – linens, silks and cashmeres – which we love.
Looks from hej hej’s Cruise Control collection presented at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
We both love styles that are distinctive, colourful and easy-to-wear. Our favourite pieces are those that can fit into “normal” everyday life, but are not average or boring. We want to feel good, look good and be comfortable so we try to design versatile pieces that you can wear to work, but also on the weekend with a cute pair of sneakers.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
Alice: I treated myself to a pair of Raffier sneakers when I was working in Paris and they are definitely one of my favourite purchases!
Kiki: A long tailored cashmere coat I got tailored in Shanghai…makes me think we should make some hej hej coats!
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
A cashmere jumper – the most luxurious yet practical thing you will ever buy!
Do you have a style rule that you always obey?
Wear colour! Colour inspires our collections and it is always the thing we decide on first – even before we start sketching. And don’t follow too many rules. Let your style evolve with your life and have fun with what you wear.
Looks from hej hej’s Cruise Control collection.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Fashion Week! Participating in NZFW only six months after we launched has been our biggest highlight…so far.
What can’t you live without?
Alice: My babies…oh and my husband.
Kiki: I have to agree on this one. Family are #1.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Kiki: A tight black catsuit. Actually any catsuit (even if it is pink and baggy).
Alice: Speak for yourself Kiks! Haha! I would never wear crocs. But never say never…about 10 years ago I would’ve said I would never wear tevas…I probably would wear them now.