ONE OF MY FAVORITE throwbacks from the '90s is the camisole dress with a tee underneath, so I was so happy to connect with formerly New Zealand-based designer and fellow-NBA fan Han Starnes and style this updated combo right here, the Jersey Top and Rain Tank Dress. I love wearing them together, but also wear them separately pairing the top with denim or the dress on its own now that it's getting warm. Read on to find out about Han, her beautiful designs, photography and more.
How did you get started in design?
I first worked in textile design as a consultant while living in New Zealand. I was connected to a few key people in the New Zealand fashion industry who I developed knitwear collaborations with. When we moved back to the States, I was interested in designing my own line. We wrestled with this concept for a while, and then took the leap to launch the label in 2013.
What are your design inspirations?
It’s really hard to say-- ideas for pieces come at unexpected times and from different inspiration. My design process can be really long, or really short. Lately I’ve been inspired by painter Helen Frankenlather, especially her work in the early 1960s. So art is typically an important inspiration for me. I’m also really inspired by other creative industries, most notably architecture.
How does the place you live in influence your design aesthetic?
Good question! Honestly, I think I’m more influenced by things I observe and experience away from home. Having a safe and comfortable place to work definitely allows me to be creative, but there are other places and experiences that drive my aesthetic. However, I will say that I like my garden, I enjoy cooking, and hosting friends for dinners and other events. These are some of the most encouraging and even influential experiences in life.
What is your mission statement for your line, Han Starnes?
At the core, we are focused on exploring the space between raw beauty and a clean silhouette.
What other creative outlets do you have?
I like taking photos with my old 35mm camera. I’ve actually photographed the past couple of collections, which has been a really nice outlet. I also really like cooking. We just started getting into making a few indian recipes - Baingan Bharta is currently my favorite thing to cook.
Describe a typical day at work and also a day off.
Everyday is a bit different. A typical work day for me usually starts after my morning yoga class. I try to get to emails in the morning, and then onto my main task for the day after that. We are working on our SS17 collection right now, so I’ve been sketching and planning quite a bit. Very excited about this collection.
On days that I’m not working, I tend to try and spend as much time with close friends, more time cooking, going on walks or reading. Lately, I’ve been working a lot in our yard - getting our garden up and running. I am also a secret major NBA fan, so watching basketball is something I’ve recently started loving :)
What's next for your line?
Good question! We are hoping to introduce a few special pieces this fall (2016). Our FW16 collection is my favorite collection yet, and am excited to share this in August. We’re scheming a a few other things as well, so more on that soon.