Designer Spotlight: Interview with Automatic Honey

If you’ve been active in the alt J-fashion world for the last few years, chances are you’ve heard of Los Angeles based indie brand Automatic Honey. Lead by two incredibly talented and charming individuals, their mission reads: We aim to bring cute culture to the world around us through cute accessories and clothing. Automatic Honey is dedicated to bringing our community closer together and have a ton of fun doing it!

This week I was given the wonderful opportunity of speaking to Alex and David about their brand.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! I’ve been a big fan of Automatic Honey since its inception and I look forward to learning more about the brand. To start off, would you mind sharing a little about yourselves?

Hello, I’m Alex! Please bear with me as I try to explain a little bit about myself (I’m not good at interviews). I’m a dorky guy from Southern California with a passion for cute things. I’ve worked in the fashion industry for around 7 years now but not necessarily in the things I loved. I think working within that industry really helped me understand things I use on a daily basis at Automatic Honey as well as finding my own voice. I’ve also been a part of the lolita community since 2008 but I’ve known about the fashion since around 2002. It’s crazy to think how much time has gone by since I first saw pictures in a Gothic Lolita Bible and not to mention how styles have changed drastically. Aside from fashion and all that good stuff I’m really into music, cute animal videos, and traveling when I have the chance.

Hello, I’m David! I’m the other half of Automatic Honey and I love spooky and royal things. For the most part whenever we release something spooky I’ve had a say in it. As for my fashion style I really love Ouji fashion and alternative Japanese fashion. I have been in the lolita community about the same time as Alex and have had an interest in Japanese fashion for a very long time.

Could you describe what each of your roles are within the brand?

A: I’m the lead designer for Automatic Honey. Even though I generally just call myself the designer I’m also the production manager, customer support, website manager, and coffee provider on those long work filled weekends.

D: I’m also a designer for Automatic Honey. On top of helping create new ideas I do assembly, and shipping as well. I also try to keep Alex calm during release days.

That’s a lot of hats to wear! What inspired you to launch an accessory brand?

A: Well to be honest it started off just being a thing I did for my friends. I think I’ve been making accessories for friends since 2009. Nothing really elaborate just bows, cute necklaces and the like. I tried a lot of different styles back then trying to find something that was truly me. I think one of my biggest influences was definitely Angelic Pretty because their views on cute culture really spoke to me. I think a lot of us wanted to be like AP back then because AP was so new and exciting. Aside from Angelic Pretty I think one of my biggest influences to start something was Sebastian Masuda from 6% Dokidoki. Sebastian held a really interesting Q&A in Los Angeles talking about the decline of Harajuku street fashion and how we (everyone outside of Japan) are the new Harajuku. Needless to say the spark to start something for our community was imminent.

Your designs have certainly become sought-after for the international alt J-fashion community, with even Kimura-U being a big fan! Do you have a favorite line?

A: I think my favorite line has been the Under the Sea of Jewels collection. I really loved the look of the collection as a whole and the pastel colors really made that collection dreamy. It’s really hard to pick a piece since every collection we release is sometime I really love. I think each collection really evokes what I’m personally into at the moment or what I see trending in fashion.

D: Personally my favorite collection is Royal Heart. I think I probably wear those pieces once a week since we released it.

Automatic Honey Spring 2015 Release “Royal Heart” modeled by Miss Angela

I have to say I’m a huge fan of both. I was in a plane when Royal Heart was released but that didn’t stop me from logging on to snatch something! How do you decide what to create next?

A&D: That is a very good question! For the most part we just make what we love but on the other hand I think a lot of our influences come from what is trending in our community. We pay attention to magazines like KERA, GLB, and high fashion as well. For example, Royal Heart was influenced by Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2015 along with all the religious trends we saw in Lolita fashion. Ultimately we wanted to take our own spin on the trend and make something we would like to wear ourselves.

I love how your pieces are always on trend yet genuine to your style. What is your design process?

A&D: We’re constantly thinking of new idea for collections but for the most part we settle on one general idea. Once we have an idea Alex takes the concept and creates sketches of possible accessories and we look at them together. After we both agree on a design Alex cleans up the sketches and creates a technical flat. We pick metal finishes, pantone colors, Swarovski crystals, pearls, and etc that correspond to the design we’re going for. The pendant or ring is sent out to our manufacturer (US based) who creates the pieces for us. Once the pieces are done we’re in charge of assembling everything together. Each necklace and ring is assembled by us and then packaged up. After all the production is done we photograph the product and do all the marketing ourselves. The overall process takes around two~three months from start to finish.

Where do you hope to take Automatic Honey?

A&D: We hope that Automatic Honey can keep growing as a brand, here in the states and abroad. We would love to keep spreading our view of cute culture to everyone around us.

Now here’s the big question- are you working on anything at the moment?

A&D: We are! As you know Halloween is almost here so we’re very busy putting the last finishing touches on those designs.

Automatic Honey Fall 2015 Release “Witching Hour”

I’m so very excited, you can bet I’ll be visiting your store for this! Is there a dream product you’d absolutely love to put out?

A&D: CLOTHING!!!!!!! Real true to life clothing would be amazing to finally do.

That sounds incredibly exciting, it would be a dream to wear Automatic Honey clothing someday. I’m about to wrap up but I have just one last question. What are you doing when you’re not creating?

A: Well outside of Automatic Honey I’m a graphic designer. I’ve done designs for apparel, advertising, packaging, and home decor. I guess in general my life revolves around creating so it’s never a dull moment. Outside of work though I love watching fashion shows, scary movies, cheesy 80s/90s movies, Disneyland, and of course MAGICAL GIRL ANIMES!

D: Does sweets enthusiast count as a job? Just kidding, I’m a hair stylist but I do love desserts. Besides those two things I love Visual Kei music, Donald Duck, and alternative J-fashion.

Preview of the postcard artwork by Yuki Yoshida for the “Witching Hour” release, available to the first 100 orders.

I’d like to thank Alex and David again for sharing about their brand with me. Their Halloween-inspired series “Witching Hour” will be released later today ,September 18th, at 8pm PDT. Follow the links below to look at their shop and get updates. They tend to sell out fast, so keep your eyes peeled!

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