Han* was born in August 2017, the brainchild of Hannah Vail. A 2016 fashion and textiles graduate of Ulster University Belfast and resident designer in the Fashion and Textile Design Centre. Han* currently resides in newly re-opened department store, The Emporium on Shipquay St, Derry, as well as online. Their focus is to create beautiful minimal pieces with embroidery or print developed from original and abstract illustrations, for all sexes.
We chatted to Hannah about relocating her collaboration projects and what it's like living outside of a big city.
What made you decide to get into fashion?
I don’t think it was a conscious decision, I’ve always been creative and enjoyed making things. I grew up surrounded by an extremely creative family so I was encouraged a lot. I’ve always been quite practical so designing or making something functional just made the most sense to me.
You recently launched with Topshop, that’s so exciting! Tell us about it.
My streetwear brand han* is now being stocked in Topshop Victoria Square. It’s been the most exciting and scary thing I’ve worked on. It’s on a temporary basis for now but I’m hoping it’ll lead on to further growth and opportunities. I only launched as a brand in September of last year so to be the first local clothing brand in Belfast’s flagship store (so soon) is a massive deal for me!
What is it like being based in a more rural setting as opposed to a big city?
A big city has it’s advantages but living in Derry has been part of our success so far. Not only has local support been amazing but overheads are low and the internet now makes the world a lot smaller. 60% of our business has been to outside of the UK, so I don’t feel that being based in a rural setting has hindered our chances of success.
Do you have any advice for women looking to start up their own business?
Just go for it, life’s too short. Be practical, be confident and know your customer.