Obey delivers quality, variety, and sharp interpretations of each season’s trends — all while remaining loyal to the brand’s core aesthetic and Shepard Fairey’s vision. We linked up with their amazing women’s wear designer, Erin Wignall Han, and discussed her favorite season, what she has learned from working in the fashion industry, and her favorite shopping destinations.
When did you begin your design career?
I’ve been working as the women’s designer of OBEY for 8 years which is so long that it seems like my entire career. Before that I worked for a domestic knit company and I also worked at a local Venice Beach bikini shop that made all of their own suits in the back of the store.
How did you land your job at Obey?
I was introduced to Shepard through a roommate at the time and I loved Shep’s art and the idea and lifestyle surrounding the clothing brand. I was ready to do anything to become a part of the brand. I almost offered to do an unpaid intern position before I talked myself out of it because I needed to make money. A few months later I heard they were looking for a women’s designer and I think I emailed within an hour of finding out. I was so psyched — I knew it was going to be the perfect opportunity for me. I’m not sure how I actually got the job, but I think my little bit of experience, an intership for Vivienne Westwood, and my determination and attitude didn’t hurt.
What is your favorite season to design for? And what current trend inspirations do you look to when designing each collection?
Fall has always been my favorite season because I LOOOVE jackets and heavy layering pieces. I remember wishing that the summer would end so that I could get out my cozy sweaters, sweatshirts and fall jackets. You can make up such awesome looks with layering. Lately spring and summer have crept up and almost overtaken fall though… because they are so fun! Designing summer is like designing for a big outdoor party. Our Spring ’13 and Summer ’13 lines are SOO great — I’m so excited for people to see them. So much exciting stuff!!
How is Shepard’s influence incorporated into your designs?
Shepard’s art and lifestyle and the attitude that surrounds them are the cornerstone for the brand. We don’t listen the “rules” that a lot of clothing brands set up. We do our thing and do what we want, take it or leave it. We hope our girl has the same attitude.
What life lessons have you learned from this industry, both the good and the bad?
Working in the apparel industry has made me appreciate quality fits, fabrics, and details. Unfortunately it’s both a blessing and a curse — we put so much energy into our brand — but it makes it impossible to shop for myself because I always notice what’s wrong.
Obviously all garments are made by hand so there will always be inconsistencies but it has taught me to buy quality, not quantity.
What are your favorite brands outside of Obey?
Acne, Alexander Wang, Vivienne Westwood, Isabel Marant, Repetto, Rachel Comey, and I really love wearing vintage clothes!
What are your favorite cities or destinations for visiting and shopping?
In L.A. I love to shop at Opening Ceremony (well I mostly just go there and drool), Mohawk General Store (our friends Kevin and Bo always have a really interesting selection of goods) and the Rose Bowl — however it’s starting to get a little too crazy now so I’m hunting for a new favorite flea market.
My favorite cities for shopping and people watching are definitely Copenhagen, Stockholm, and New York. I also love the feeling and mood of Berlin — there are some amazing outdoor flea markets in the summertime there. I’ve heard that Amsterdam is also good for vintage and would love to check that out one day.
Any new projects coming up that we can look forward to? And any “dream” collabs you’d wish to work on?
We have a collaboration with Keith Haring that’s about to come out. That is a pretty big thing for me — Keith Haring was such an amazing artist and such a well known figure in pop art. I feel very privileged to be able to work with his artwork.
I have always dreamed of one day doing a collaboration with Vivienne Westwood. I am obviously a huge fan, having interned there while I was going to school in London, but also because Shepard is also a huge fan. He named his daughter Vivienne. Enough said.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be doing instead?
I would love to do something to give back to the community and the environment. I would love to teach kids how to sew and repair clothes so that they can make, repair, or modify their own clothes the way I did when I was a kid. I intend to teach my son Ozzy how to sew when he’s old enough. It’s such an easy way to create useful things.
Want to see what Obey has in store for this season? See the lookbook below and shop some of the collection that is already up on Miss KL!