Interview with Sam Hickey, Huffer's new Menswear Designer
Sam Hickey, Huffer’s new menswear designer, is either the best young fashion designer around, or one of the luckiest. Now two months in to his role as Huffer’s new menswear designer straight out of university, he’s landed feet first across two seasons, and is getting stuck in to adding a new feel to the Huffer wares.
I caught up with Sam for a quick chat about how he landed the dream role, what he’s been working on, and what to expect next from one of the hottest labels in NZ.
So how did it all come about? Straight off the bat into Huffer is a pretty amazing jump...
Well I’d always had an interest in fashion – I could never really afford or get the clothes I wanted, or something was wrong. From there, I wanted to make my own clothes. After doing business and events management, I applied for fashion the day before enrolments were due – looking back, my portfolio was pretty sparse!
We spent the degree working towards the AUT Rookie Show in the third year and Steve [Steve Dunstan, Huffer] was there. We’d met a few times before and I approached him to see if he had any work experience available. I sent him a few emails, and then a couple of weeks later Aaron resigned and Steve called me and said, “This crazy thing has happened”.
They interviewed a few other people, and I came in for some really long interviews, then two weeks later I was here. I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been getting a head designer role – it’s still sinking in.
Tell us about the collection that Steve saw that landed you the role?
It was quite a commercial collection – but I wanted to make clothes I could wear the whole time. It was wearable, sellable and practical street wear. I based it off post - World War II and World War I military garments – going back to what we were and getting that heritage feel that’s so big overseas. My big thing is detail – I like to refine it as much as possible.
And what have you been working on at the moment?
I’ve been here for about two months and it’s been full on. I had designed the winter collection in about two and a half weeks which was pretty quick, plus we’ve had the store open so we’re out there all the time. We’re also working on the look book and approving materials for summer – there’s so much happening.
Any sneak peeks on the next season?
For the next season I’ve been working on existing Huffer garments because I came into the process quite late – but I always enjoy working on and improving what’s already around but adding my own twist. I want to bring a functional feel to the clothes, which is something Huffer started in the industry really well.
The next season could almost be seen to have a Russian theme, not in that it heavily influences the clothing, but in elements like the print, the knits and the show. It’s a theme that people haven’t seen before and I’m really excited – obviously we’re going to take it beyond grey, black, red and maroon!
Steve also jumped in to give us some words on the newest recruit...
The thing about Sam is that while he’s a rookie out of school, he’s also the best. In the short time he’s been working here I’ve been truly impressed at his confidence, attention to detail and ability in constructing garments. We’re really excited for the brand now – the key for our products is attention to detail, that’s where we want to take it.
He might lack a bit of experience, but at the same time his achievements show just how good he is. It’ll probably take him a couple of seasons to get really across it, but I think he’ll bring real feel of innovation to Huffer – all I can say is I’m excited.
And that’s a wrap – expect to see big things at New Zealand Fashion Week as you get a Sam inspired collection, with even bigger things on the horizon as he moves to assert a new face and feel to this well established brand.
You can check out some of Sam’s AUT Rookie Show collection pieces below.
- Interview by Will Seal