Annabelle Hoy is taking her fashion experience to the next level with her upcoming sustainable silk set brand, Humans of Yesterday. With a passion for design and an eye for style, Annabelle has curated a collection that is both timeless and environmentally friendly. In this interview, we delve into Annabelle's inspiring journey to launching her brand, the inspiration that drives her creativity, and the challenges she encountered along the way. We also explore the power of social media and uncover Annabelle's insider tips for launching a sustainable fashion brand.
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the fashion industry?
Annabelle: I feel really lucky that I knew so young that I wanted to work in fashion. I used to tell everyone I knew that one day I would have my own fashion brand. So naturally I applied for fashion school and ended up studying fashion design at Ravensbourne. It was amazing because it allowed me to move to London and see first hand the world of fashion. I’d done some internships previously, with Dior being my favourite, but being in London, going to every event, talk, and exhibition I could, as well as hanging outside of (and sneaking into) LFW shows was the best way to experience the industry. Around the same time I had started modelling, which showed me the industry from a completely different perspective, and over time allowed me to build up my knowledge and contacts.
What inspired you to create Humans of Yesterday?
Annabelle: I had always known that one day I would create my own brand, and was really waiting for the “right time” when I felt like I had enough experience. I had seeds of ideas, but particularly during the January 2021 lockdown was when I started to develop them. I realised there would never be a perfect time and I would never know everything, and that the best way to learn was to just start. I had a very clear vision of a woman walking down the street in a full Dalmatian print silk look and that was that! I love to be comfortable above all else, but looking chic and put together is also important to me, so essentially that was what I wanted to create, something versatile and sustainable, that is designed to look and feel amazing.
What sets Humans of Yesterday apart ?
Annabelle: I’m not trying to create something completely and utterly brand new. Our product offering is very small, but very refined. The fabric is the highest quality you can buy, absolutely every aspect of the garment and packaging is 100% sustainable, we really have not cut any corners whatsoever. I think what sets us apart is that we are not trying to sell you a product, but a bigger picture. We are building a brand, and within it a community and a lifestyle. The community aspect is very important to me, I want it to feel very safe, inclusive and kind.
What challenges have you faced while building your brand?
Annabelle: There have been many! From shipping issues to Covid delays to being turned down by multiple factories, we have overcome more than I can explain! At the start the biggest challenge was that everything was brand new to me and I was trying to do it all myself. It’s so daunting knowing where to start, and it really felt like I was at he bottom of a huge mountain. Taking it step by step was essential. Understanding my skills and weaknesses was also key. For example there were some things I knew I could figure out, and other things I knew I had no chance, and so outsourcing what I couldn’t do was the best thing I could have done. We are now a team of 5 permanently, as well as working with dozens of freelancers along the way. I think a big challenge I overcame was the fear! It’s so scary putting something that you have poured your entire heart into out into the world (and the internet!) because I knew how much was at stake on a personal level. But you just have to work through that and not listen to that voice in your head for one second.
How has social media helped you build your brand and engage with your audience?
Annabelle: The social media has been one of the most fun and exciting parts of creating the business. I have a social media manager for the brand (who just so happens to be one of my best friends), and together we strategised exactly how to reach our customer whilst keeping up with the ever changing trends of social media. Consistency has been the key, both posting consistently and also keeping the style and mood of the content very in line with the brand. TikTok has been the place we’ve seen the most growth so far, with 18 million total views as of today, however our instagram is also consistently growing, with 2 million views across our reels in the past week.
What advice would you give to others looking to start their own sustainable fashion brand?
Annabelle: Listen to yourself above all else, create something that feels as authentic to yourself as possible. Be patient - it will most likely take more time than you would like, and you may come across bumps in the road. Trust your gut and persist throughout any challenge, nothing is insurmountable. Be prepared to work HARD and be kind to everyone you meet on the way. & most of all, enjoy it! This entire process has truly been the most rewarding and exciting thing I’ve ever done, and its only the beginning!
Lastly, what can we expect to see from your brand in the near future?
Annabelle: Our sustainable silk sets are launching officially on the 27th of February 2023! Beyond that, you will see us growing sustainably, expanding our collection of timeless, versatile pieces for the most perfect capsule wardrobe. Expect to see only the most chic, comfortable and always sustainable pieces that can be worn in endless amounts of ways. I really can’t wait! You’ll also see us expanding our community via exclusive events, giveaways and more, including behind the scenes close friends stories on Instagram for all customers once an order is placed.