Child's play: Ha.Mu S/S 2018

Child's play: Ha.Mu S/S 2018

Mags Ocampo (The Philippine Star) - February 23, 2018 - 12:00am

Are you ready to wear Ha.Mu? Young designers Abraham Guardian and Mamuro Oki strike a balance between wearability and an avant-garde sensibility for their first RTW release. YStyle takes a closer look. 

MANILA, Philippines — From a college-level thesis proposal to a living, breathing ready-to-wear line, Ha.Mu has grown at an incredibly fast pace. Behind the avant-garde brand are Abraham Guardian — a Filipino born and raised in Singapore —and Mamuro Oki — half-Japanese, half-Filipino, living in Manila all of his life. The duo became friends in college, at a time when both of their styles and tastes were still constantly evolving and developing. Their friendship carried on throughout the years and when it was time to put on a graduation show, they decided to do it together. “We received a lot of good feedback on it and some were even asking if we have RTW pieces on hand,” Guardian shares. “We decided to pursue our brand from there.”

Since then, the young designers — both 21 years old — have come out with playful one-off pieces that you might have seen on the pages of Mega, Preview, L’Officiel Manila, and even Vogue Italia. “One of our photographer friends, MJ Suayan, contacted us on doing a collaboration on this particular project that he is working on. He did not reveal to us what or who the project was for, but, having seen his previous work, we did not hesitate to say yes,” Guardian tells us about the brand’s international exposure. “We only found out on the shoot day itself that it was going to be for Vogue Italia. That was one of the exciting projects that we had last year because it was so unexpected!”

Just this month, Ha.Mu officially launched its first RTW collection filled with frilly confections, patchwork pieces, oddball shapes and mixed prints.

YSTYLE: What made you decide to start an RTW line?

HA.MU: What made us do an RTW line is the business move of penetrating a bigger market where people can actually wear our pieces out without feeling so much weight pulling them down (literally!) since our Avant Garde pieces are really heavy. 

What are the greatest challenges of doing RTW versus bespoke clothing?

HM: One of the greatest challenges we had doing RTW now is doing wearable pieces while retaining our actual branding in the pieces. It was easy going crazy and wild for our Avant Garde pieces but for the RTW pieces, we had to tame down certain aspects of what we’d usually do. We had to tame down the materials we used, the silhouettes that we would do and, most importantly, the layering for some pieces. The greatest rewards that we felt like we achieved is getting recognition for the pieces we do. It feels really heartwarming when people buy our pieces and feel so happy to wear them. It feels like they are taking a part of us whenever they wear our stuff. 

Generally speaking, who are the Ha.Mu man and woman? What aspect of their lives does this collection fit in? 

HM:  A Ha.Mu man or woman is a free spirit, wearing what they want and not conforming to society’s norms. I think our first RTW collection fits in with their playful inner child.

Can you take us through the design process of the pillowcase tote? It’s such a unique but easy-to-wear piece.

HM:  The Egg pillowcase tote is a piece we’ve been working on for quite some time since the egg yolk is one of our trademarks. Our idea from that bag started when we were observing candy wrappers and from there we started experimenting with different fabrics to get different kinds of results.

Your clothing designs have always featured a lot of layering — this is evident in the current collection as well. Why is that?

HM:  We’ve always like playing around with layers and we believe that playing around with layers actually helps to give our look a different kind of finish to it. Our layering philosophy is to always play around with different lengths and also hem lines. They often help to create different kind of illusions on your body. Be it looking taller or having an odd but unique silhouette body structure!

A lot of patterns come into play for this collection. What’s your selection process for patterns and colors?

HM:  We stuck to our childhood ideas of what we would be wearing as a child. Hence, the use of polka dots, ginghams, stripes and even stars are about. We were not too picky with colors because we mainly focused on the prints first before the colors. 

There’s a lot of patchwork featured in this collection, too. How does this fit into the collection’s thesis? What made you decide to go for this technique?

HM:  We’ve always loved the idea of doing patchwork. It is one of the fabric manipulations that we learned during our stay in school. We like doing it because it makes a piece of fabric less boring and more detailed. We also thought about how some children’s clothes have patchwork on them because they have been ripped already. Hence, we decided to apply it so some of our pieces. Besides patchwork, we also experimented with thread-works on plain fabrics. It also helps to make the plain fabric look more detailed but this detail is much more subtle than the patchwork.

What was the main inspiration behind this collection? 

HM: Our inspiration behind this collection was mainly the concept of childhood. We wanted to go back to our roots as children where we do not consider restriction or boundaries as part of our lifestyle. We wanted to bring out the inner child in us again, which this collection does, but reflecting it on the silhouettes and fabrics used. 

Who are your influences and references?

HM:  Contemporary art in general! We apply this art style to our designs, usually. We are also currently influenced by the “ugly is the new beauty” trend that has been spotted on the runways in the past years. 

Is there anything special about the materials and textiles you used for this collection? What about techniques?

HM:  We used certain fabrics that are limited and also thread-works for this collection. On top of that, we also did some up-cycling for this collection. We deconstructed some old garments to use them as patchworks and also for other parts of the new garments. Speaking of up-cycling, our furniture in our showroom is 90 percent made out of recycled wood! 

What’s your overall vision for the brand?

HM:  Our vision is to be one of the local artisan contemporary labels that has a peculiar kind of branding and style that will leave an impact on the local and international market.

Where can we find your RTW pieces?

HM:  On our IG page (@_ha.mu_) and also our website hamustudios.wixsite.com/hamustudios/shop) and soon on mizandmoxie.com!

What’s next for Ha.Mu?

HM:  We will be focusing and working on our RTW line and also some competitions in the future for now. Once everything is smooth sailing, we will try to move forward by contacting international stock lists and having some of our pieces sold abroad.

ABRAHAM GUARDIAN HA.MU MAMURO OKI MEGA VOGUE ITALIA
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