Experimental Barcelona based designers HUNCH try to strike the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics.
Who are you and what do you do?
HUNCH is a design and experimentation office set in Barcelona and working worldwide that combines the creation of capsule collections with material investigation and wearable technology work, as well as projects in Design, Art Direction, Research and Consulting services.
Describe your design philosophy and what your brand is all about:
Our design philosophy is pretty clear; we aim to find the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics. We never sacrifice one for the other and that makes us explore our limits to achieve the best result in both areas.
When did you know that this was what you wanted to do with your life? How did you get started?
We never thought about working in Fashion; we didn’t dress dolls when we were kids, neither did we observe our grandmas sewing. We didn’t hear that sort of “call” that usually happens amongst fashion designers. We are Industrial Designers by education. We met up at University and we started to work together until, during our final project of the degree, based in textile investigation, we invented a new material made by sheep wool fibres. Slowly but steadily we started to feel more comfortable in that crossover path between Industrial Design and Fashion and we decided that this could be a good choice in which to learn every day and develop different projects that would challenge us constantly.
What effect (if any) do you think your childhood has had on the creativity you display as an adult? What are your earliest memories involving fashion?
This is a thing we question ourselves about many times, not only to a personal level, but also in general, in society. We’re not that aware if there really is a connection between your education or childhood and the creativity you can develop. Surely, the most creative people we know do not do any sort of “creative” work. They’re not designers, artists nor architects. I think the concept of creativity is overrated and not really defined, but moreover, I think that creativity is not heritage of the Arts. Our first memories in the world of Fashion are trying to create volumes and clothing pieces without knowing how to sew, using a stapler as our universal tool. Without the shadow of a doubt, discovering the universe of Fashion without having any previous knowledge on it and making mistakes every day has been the best thing that could’ve ever happen to us and what has made us grow up!
What inspires you?
Functionality, aesthetics, innovation, tradition, materials, architecture and people.
What is your design process?
Our design process varies depending on the project, if it’s our own collections or products or if we’re working for a client or company. Regarding the collections, we always set a goal, either functional or material related, and we develop the pieces to achieve it. For example, in our first collection “Alpine Basics”, we wanted all the elements that formed the collection, that is clothing, objects and even the book that came along, to be waterproof. Once we had that challenge set, we investigated with materials and textiles until we found and produced what we wanted to get. In our last collection “People At Work”, the starting point was the functionality of workwear. To study it, we conducted an investigation that lasted for two months on every existing workwear piece to be able to understand them and re-interpret them.
When we work for other studios or companies, we’re limited by a briefing and not as free as in personal projects, but our process is kind of similar. As a rule, we don’t like to draw by computer and neither to work with virtually generated volumes ‘till it’s not necessary to do so. We like to work with our hands and prototype everything to sense the feeling that the project emanates directly.
What’s the most difficult aspect of what you do?
Surely, the most complicated thing is to manage a Fashion brand that produces two unisex collections per year alongside a Industrial Design and textile experimentation studio. Being able to work in different projects and learn from each and every one of them is very enriching, but it demands a lot of dedication and perseverance.
Do you design with a specific client in mind? If so, who is that person?
When we design our clothing collections, we think about a client that is interested in functionality, comfortability, someone that values materials and finishing and that shares our vision of design and of how to do things. This has nothing to do with sex or age; our clients range from 18 to 50 years old and they’re both men and women. We’re not interested in a certain economic profile; we’ve got clients that buy a piece a year and others get one a month, and we’re equally grateful for their trust.
Is there a piece or a collection you are most proud of?
Probably that’s the rope bag we did for our first HUNCH collection called “Alpine Basics”. It’s a bag made out of a single piece of climbing rope with a structure that can stretch or compact depending on the weight it has to transport. It was a difficult product to make; we visited more than 18 different manufacturers and they all rejected us due to the difficulty of the production. Finally, a company made a bet on it and together, we made it happen.
Nowadays, the piece is nominated for the DELTA awards of Industrial Design, this bag being the first Fashion item to enter the final selection of this award.
Have commercialism and/or the media had any impact on your work? Is this good or bad?
Press always helps to put your name in places and opens some doors, but that doesn’t necessarily mean selling more. We’re interested in press as a public communication channel; editorials and magazines make us closer to the people from a different point of view.
Regarding the commercialisation, up to this day we’ve been lucky enough to take any decision we didn’t like and that’s very important to us.
Who/what is something or someone fabulous that you think is underrated or overlooked?
Any person that is trying to make things and get going in this world deserves more attention.
There’s many people making amazing stuff with little resources and that’s brilliant.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
Architect Enric Miralles, one of our bigger references, said: “Moving forward happens by successive beginnings”.
We couldn’t agree more.