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!

WebsiteFacebook

Designer Spotlight: Emily + Merrit for Pottery Barn Teen

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m dedicating this designer spotlight to Pottery Barn but I have to tell you guys, I am so enamored with this collection and I think you will be too. It’s inspired by vintage fashion and holds such a wondrous, adventurous sweet-classic vibe- I’m trying hard to not snatch everything up!

lolita room interior decor decoration kawaii
The Emily + Meritt Parisian Petticoat Quilt + Sham
lolita room interior decor decoration kawaii
The Emily + Meritt Bloomer Pillow Covers
lolita room interior decor decoration kawaii
The Emily + Meritt Brass Bunny Table Lamp
lolita room interior decor decoration kawaii
The Emily + Meritt Parisian Heart Cloche Collection
lolita room interior decor decoration kawaii
The Emily + Meritt Wishbox Collection
lolita room interior decor decoration kawaii
The Emily + Meritt Hourglass
lolita room interior decor decoration kawaii
The Emily + Meritt Bunny Alarm Clocks

Click here to view the entire collection

I can’t help but delight in the fact that they named some items after ruffly undergarments, such as the ‘Parisian Petticoat Quilt’ and ‘Bloomer Pillow Covers’. How well do you think this collection would work in a lolita’s room? Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!

Designer Spotlight: inki-Drop Introduces a Frilly Creature of the Sea!

Hey all! This is a feature I’ve been meaning to introduce on here, and what better way to start it off than by supporting a local designer, lolita, and friend?

inki-Drop is a shop that produces all sorts of cute goods based on creatures you’ll find under the sea and they’re currently holding a Kickstarter to start production on a trio of critters, including a little jellyfish with a love for tea and frills!

Already available in t-shirt and tote form, Jellyblub is most certainly going to be made because the project has been fully backed- but there’s only 2 days left to get your order in for this little cutie and her friends! For more info on the project:

Tentatrio Plush Pals is a new project by inki-Drop designer Shelly Rodriguez. It features three kawaii-inspired sea creatures: Sweetoof the octopus, Ika the squid, and Jellyblub the jellyfish. Each plush measures 4″ tall (excluding tentacles) and is made of super soft minky fur with finely embroidered details.

Their original $8500 goal was blown out of the water within 8 days of launching on May 5th. For the remainder of the campaign the project has focused on a bonus plush reward: Starwhal the narwhal. This character has been funded and unlocked, meaning all UBERTRIO reward tiers will include a bonus Starwhal plush & sticker set, and if you are absolutely in love with Starwhal, backers will be able to choose her as a separate tier as well. Plush tiers start at a reasonable $25 pledge. The project ends on June 6th. View the Kickstarter here!

I already have my money in for Jellyblub, and I think she will look perfect next to my gang of Alpacassos. Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!