Style Insiders

Designer uncovered: AIM


The new womenswear offering from Huffer designed by former Lonely Hearts co-owner Aimee Mc Farlane is “sophisticated, elegant and feminine, but slightly cheeky, slightly youthful in the way it thinks.”

Aim, the new womenswear offering from Huffer, is grown-up and sophisticated, but still retains the brand’s slightly rebellious essence. The debut collection, launched during New Zealand Fashion Week last August, was designed by former Lonely Hearts co-owner Aimee McFarlane and turned around in just 13 weeks.

McFarlane, 35, is also credited with transforming Huffer’s womenswear brand. She joined the team five years ago and Huffer director Steve Dunstan, 41, describes her design talent as a “game-changer”.
“She really set the path when she came on board. She revolutionised our womenswear and helped us transition into a unique, more feminine individual look.”

Pre-Aim the womenswear had been focused on interpreting menswear. Midway through last year, Dunstan noticed there was a lack of grown-up garments for women.  He knew Huffer had daytime streetwear for women, explains McFarlane, “but what does the Huffer girl or woman wear when she goes out at night? Or if she goes to an event or party, or as a guest to a wedding? And we felt like we weren’t really covering that.”  So Aim was launched in record time and presented as an installation in the Huffer Basement (the workroom, boutique and creative hub) during Fashion Week, with oversized images of Australian model Bambi Northwood-Blyth sporting the range.

The clothes are a step up from Huffer’s womenswear pieces, using more luxurious fabrics such as silk crepe de chine. “It’s sort of sophisticated, elegant and feminine, but then with a very, very subtle undertone of what Huffer has always been – slightly cheeky, slightly youthful in the way it thinks,” says Dunstan.

Huffer has come a long way from its start-up in 1997 when skateboarder Dan Buckley and snowboarder Steve Dunstan started out in menswear, before launching some women’s versions of their  street-cool styles.“Now womenswear is almost half our business, which is amazing because it was originally a boys-orientated brand,” says Dunstan. Looking ahead, Dunstan and McFarlane agree we can expect more rebellion and fun coming through the ladylike pieces. “The future creative work will probably reflect that a little bit more.  It won’t be lah-de-dah, pretty-pretty. I imagine it will have a bit of good grit,” says Dunstan. Aim’s second collection will be available  in selected stores and online this month.

Words: Rosie Kelway
Photography: Heather Liddell