Tell us about you...
I grew up in North Carolina and spent summers in Egypt. My family has a strong background in textile engineering so naturally I rebelled and went into fashion- still textile related, but I did it my way. I was a minority where I grew up so I was used to sticking out and not fitting in. I figured if people were going to stare I'd give them something to look at, so I always loved wearing things that were a little out there. My mom made a lot of my clothes when I was little and she's known around town for having her own over-the-top style. I definitely got that from her.
What led you to found Heurueh, and why was it important for you to use vegan materials in your designs?
I've never been a huge meat eater which is kind of a big deal growing up Arab and my brother is really passionate about being vegan for the past few years. The way the farming industry tries to keep up with demand is out of control, dangerous, and cruel. At the same time I've been working at a company to help brands source and design with faux fur. A lot of brands are committing to only using faux material, which is great. Ive been designing faux fur for so many years and had access and ability to make custom designs so it felt natural to start this brand with a positive message.
Do you find that using vegan materials allows you more creative freedoms in designing, like with color and texture of your pieces? (If so, did this play a part in your decision to use only vegan materials?)
The sky is the limit when you work with synthetics. I don't only try to mimic genuine fur in my designs so that definitely allows for more freedom and control. I love texture so we experiment with other types of materials as well.
How do sustainability and environmental consciousness play a role in your brand?
The factories we work with abide by environmental laws and regulations. Our team / investors / factory is vertically integrated and we all have a very close relationship that allows us to discuss ways to improve processes on a regular basis. We're very fortunate to be able to work so closely and monitor the process.
Why should vegan materials replace real fur in the fashion industry? (In terms of: affordability, environmental impact, style, etc)
The Heurueh team does its part and takes responsibilities for our actions. There are sustainable and non-cruel ways to use real fur but unfortunately thats not the universal practice.
I don't necessarily think vegan materials should replace all non-vegan materials in fashion. The argument can be made that synthetic materials harm the environment more than natural or animal products, we are conscious of that and follow the rules and regulations.
No matter if you use real or faux materials there is still a lot of responsibility to take when it comes to manufacturing. Heurueh was created to give an option to people who want beautiful clothes that are made responsibly. It is much more affordable than real fur which is a huge advantage, but more importantly, everyone should know the backstory of how their garment was created and the impact each piece has. Many consumers are so disconnected from the process they don't realize the effect of their purchases. I think its more important that all brands, not just fashion, are more transparent about what goes into a product before it gets to the final consumer.
In what ways is vegan fur, and your line, a sustainable alternative for real fur available on the market?
Vegan fur can look very realistic, it can feel super buttery and soft, and is much less difficult to take care of than real fur. The great thing is that if there is a higher demand its much easier to control the amount of a fabric we make. The process is more precise, less wasteful. When you deal with real animals you have to consider the quality of the skin, if there is some kind of imperfection or defect certain parts aren't used.
What influences can you cite for your collections, the brand in general?
I look a lot at the 70s and 80s for inspiration and Japanese street style. I've always had love for punk/rock, anime, and superheroes. I start out with the wackiest idea and then I tone it down because I want the brand to be something people can look at and feel excited about but also keep it approachable and versatile.
What is your mission with Heurueh?
The mission is to spread positivity with a little rebel flavor. We want to empower the consumer and provide statement fashion that is affordable, high quality, and transparent.
By Bailey Calfee