Bakeries & Barbershops & Billie Jacobina & Han Wen


Bakeries & Barbershops & Billie Jacobina & Han Wen


Photography: Katie Holt

While everyone else is busy flipping out about the new Maria Grazia Chiuri Dior collection she showed in Paris yesterday, I’m still stuck on Billie Jacobina and Han Wen. Two of our favorite London designers, both Jacobina and Wen debuted seriously colorful collections this season, inspired by a stranger who owns a barbershop, and the former’s old bakery gig. One thing about the two distinct ranges we loved most: they both distracted from the clusterfuck that is the world right now. Hurricanes, earthquakes, Trump—every piece of news is a serious bummer and I’d be happy to stay in Billie Jacobina or Han Wen-land forever.

View behind-the-scenes images from the Billie Jacobina and Han Wen S/S ’18 presentations above, and read our backstage interviews with the designers, below.

Tell me about the Han Wen collection. What inspired it?

This collection is inspired by a girl that I met—she runs a barbershop, so she has authority in a male-dominated space. I found that very empowering. When I went to talk to her, she told me that when she was born, her parents had expected her to be a guy. So they raised her as a tomboy, and as she grew up, she started to find her femininity through makeup and fashion. You can see that kind of back-and-forth in the clothes—there’s femininity there, but there are unique elements, as well. And as for the prints, there are some misshapen body prints that I did, like the clutch—the history of barbershops inspired that. The girl also mentioned her love of travel. The baggage tag design symbolizes that, but it’s also a metaphor for the way she carries her emotional and family baggage.

What was on your moodboard this season?

A lot of ‘80s elements. The girl from the shop has a lot of tattoos, and she loves shiny clothes and fabrics. That kind of glamor always makes me think of the ‘80s. Also, because I was researching barbershops, I added in some history elements to create a vintage feel. So, the moodboard, and even the music I was listening to, was all ‘80s.

How do you compare this collection to your previous work?

This collection is more wearable than last season—last season was really the transition stage between my college thesis collection and my work now. There were a lot of pieces that were very complicated and had a lot of crafted work. This season I kept my signature, but I also brought things down to a more commercial, easy to produce collection.

Who do you see as the Han Wen woman this season?

I’d say, Tilda Swinton—she is one of my favorite muses of all time. I also like girls like Cara DeLevingne. She can dress very femininely, and then she can wear a unisex thing, and she always rocks it.

Describe your brand in three words.

Rebellion. Detail. Innovation.

Do you think fashion should be political?

Yes. The barbershop girl told me that she had a girlfriend. To support that, I mixed quotes like ‘Love is love’ into the prints throughout the collection. Fashion is a kind of art that you can use to express yourself, so it is political.

Tell me about the Billie Jacobina collection. What inspired it?

This collection is based on my old job as a baker. I hated it—the early mornings and everything. So, I took something negative and made it positive, and used all of the sweet treats and colors as my inspiration.

What was on your moodboard?

I love pinning stuff on Pinterest. One thing was a puffer jacket, and some prints and paintings.

How do you compare this season to your previous collections?

Last season was very, very pink. So we’ve toned it down and put some orange in there. It’s also probably more playful and accessible for people—they can actually wear it. That’s what I’m trying to go for now.

Describe your brand in three words.

Vibrant. Sassy. Fun.

Do you think fashion should be political?

That’s a hard one. For me, I’m trying to make my clothes an escape from the real world. You come into Jacobina’s world, and you forget about all of the stress and just go with it.