An Interview with House of Sunny for Noctis Magazine Issue XV
Based in Hackney - the melting pot of many great fashion ventures - The House of Sunny studio offers all you'd expect from the headquarters of brand with such a clean, minimalistic aesthetic. As the natural light seeps onto the latest AW15 collection and into the open space, emphasising the bold HoS logo on the white wash walls, you can't help but get the feeling that this label has succeeded to establish itself as a brand in it's own right. Meeting Sunny himself, the man behind the growingly popular House of Sunny label, he explains his organic journey of creating a product, a concept, an ethos and finally a brand. Now as a team of 12 (all of whom originally joined the house as interns), House of sunny is growing and is undeniably on it's way to a big scale of recognition. We chatted to Sunny some more about what makes his staples stand out, where House of Sunny is headed for the future and to explain his huge Vogue magazine collection, tucked away in the corner of his studio.
How did House of Sunny all start?
It started with just a natural interest - not even necessarily in fashion - just in style. Something that stands out, whether it be an item of clothing or a hair cut. Quite humbly, I was just interested in it and it progressed me on to fashion universities and on to work experience. I then moved on to Savile Row doing small internships working with tailoring. It kind of evolved from there into opinions and values I had that I wanted to express with the product. It could have been within another industry, but this was where I was focused. It was kind of like me being a product maker and learning what goes with that.
Where did you intern?
Work experience wise, I worked with about four or five independent brands, most of them were menswear. A couple of brands in East London and then at the Row. I jotted around and did lots of placements really quickly. It was predominantly all small internships that led me on to say “right, now is my time, I’m going to start my brand”, and that was about 8 years ago. I’ll be honest, the past has always been House of Sunny. I’ve got a really unusual path of how I created my brand. It was all about me building a product before House of Sunny, to then become House of Sunny. We started this brand with just £30, and an organic, natural product based brand grew. It was kind of always going to happen and we built it from the beginning.
How do you gather all your influences and put them into the clothes; are there things outside of fashion that inspire you?
A lot of the team create ideas and mood boards. We use Pinterest a lot, we use Instagram a lot and we use Snapchat a lot. We have followers; lists of people that we look at to see how they evolve within their style journey. Everyone would come together with mood boards at the beginning of a season and pitch ideas, and we’d get a concept. We have such a cult customer. When we look at our orders, we see the same names frequently. Worldwide we sell to 50 countries but they are all intwined, everyone is within this niche of a clean, minimal aesthetic. That’s enough to see they that were really minimal and black and white last season but now they are throwing in raw edges and it’s becoming more relaxed, or torn, or oversized. Whatever direction people tend to go in, you can monitor that. It’s like a heartbeat.
What type of woman is a House of Sunny woman and how does HoS cater to her lifestyle?
One word: selective. What I love about a House of Sunny girl more than anything else is that she’s really refined. She’s got her edit in mind. She knows what watch she wants that season, she knows what bag to wear it with, she knows her colour palette to a T. You won’t see a House of Sunny garment that you haven’t seen before - we’re not doing completely off-the-wall designs, but our customer has handpicked it. The tan coat - that is the perfect coat for winter - so we have to have it in and we know she will select that because thats a must on her wish list.
Have you planned your next collection and what does it look like?
Yeah, we’ve actually finished it. We’ve done three collections in 12 weeks, which for me is nuts. What’s really nice is we’ve seen the story of our brand evolve from one season to another. For this season, we’re doing army. It’s not a heavy influence, it’s just a hint. We’ve got those musty pinks with those army greens and the tans. We’ve gone very earthy and natural.
I’ve seen the heaps of Vogue magazines downstairs - is there any reason why you have so many?
I’ve just got the most nuts Vogue collection in the world. I just started buying them. We counted them last year - I think I’ve got 3 or 4 thousand Vogues. There's Vogues in there from 1984 from the year I was born - it’s really good for inspiration! It’s nice to look at Vogue when they were advertising Volkswagen and have Marlboro cigarettes on the back.
Where do you see House of Sunny in 5 years time?
I just really want to improve our website and our contemporary edge. In some ways we’re new wave in the fact that we don’t advertise in magazines, we don’t do campaigns. In the way street brands of the 80’s and 90’s advertised, we advertise by it advertising itself. I’d love to create a tribe; just a following of people who are really interested in the product. We like the idea of different collections with a more premium range where you can order within three clicks an you’re done with next day delivery. The perfect system. We would like to become store based and have our own store, but just generally speaking, online would be a really good platform for us to just build. An online empire.