Interviews/Opinions

Q&A With Kate Wasserbach, Founder of Abel Honor New York

We are delighted to introduce you to Abel Honor New York, a new fashion label which embodies the current downtown scene of New York City. The brand is inspired by a rebellious streetwear culture while still maintaining its sartorial elegance. The label’s collections boast quality, style, and uniqueness which transition seamlessly season after season.

Kate Wasserbach, founder of Abel Honor New York shares her journey and talks more about the collections in our latest Q&A. Read on to find out more.

Please tell us more about Abel Honor New York, where the idea came from and the journey you’ve been on to make it a success.

I wanted to make a brand that empowered both men and women. I didn’t want a masculine brand; I didn’t want a feminine brand… I wanted a strong brand. Over anything, I wanted my customers to feel strong when wearing AHNY. I wanted them to feel confident. So, when I was thinking of the name Abel Honor New York, I made a mind map to enable me to think outside the box. I started to think of strong characteristics that were instilled in me… or strong qualities I find in others.

The first strength that came to mind was someone who is a “can do person” (as my mom would say…) A person who is not afraid of hard work, or offering a helping hand—someone willing and able. The next trait of strength I came to was a loyal person— an honorable person. It takes strength to be loyal and honorable. So, I pieced out ‘ABLE’, and ‘HONOR’ in my mind map and got ABLE HONOR. I loved the name, it sounded strong. I ended up switching out the ABLE to the name ABEL, to make it a little less literal.

Before my grandfather died – the year I quit Michael Kors, to start AHNY- he told me that I have to add New York to the end of Abel Honor. He was and still is my day to day muse, so that was a no brainer. I am so happy I did that too. I am a New Yorker, born and raised – it is a huge part of me!

You’ve been working in the luxury sector for many years, once as a womenswear designer for Micheal Kors – how have the demands of your clients evolved over this time?

I could never put a price on my time at Michael Kors, it emphasised my appreciation for high quality fabric and also deepened my belief in the value of client relationships. Before Kors, my style has always revolved around comfort but with luxury materials. I’ve always felt no matter what your style, you deserved to wear that.

Abel Honor’s mission is to empower an evolving, fun, and fast paced group of people that appreciate high quality clothing, with a rebellious twist. I believe we are in the middle of a shift in what is deemed luxury, and I hope Abel Honor can help lead the charge.

Luxury means different things to different people, what do you think it means to your clients?

I believe my customer defines luxury with exclusivity; which is why they love AHNY. We keep it very exclusive. We do not restock any items, and we only release 2 major season a year. Because there is so much craft and technicality that goes into each garment, we consider them as collectables. Collectables are valued.

And what does it mean to you?

To me, luxury means the understanding of quality and investment. Luxury does not mean having the means… You do not need to be rich to enjoy the nice things in life. Luxury is family. Luxury is celebration. Celebrate quality.

What trends do you foresee in upcoming seasons, especially since we’re now just getting out of a global pandemic?

I think the industry is feigning to dress up. I would love to see the dress relate to the early 20th century.

How will Abel Honor New York plan to meet client needs post pandemic?

Because we started on a DTC platform, we were familiar with a bit of a disconnect to our customers. So, gratefully, we were actively prepared for the uncertainty and precariousness of the pandemic. I am very indebted to my network and the relationships I have made in this industry over the past 11 years because a lot of our business is by word of mouth and credibility. Which I also would define a luxury!

What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt from this year?

Since I was little, I have always been wired to be a go getter; this was an innate quality that was always in me, but only exemplified during my time a Parsons. I love the phrase “There is no rest for the wicked”. Having said that, it goes without saying this pandemic has changed all of our lives across the world, and we’ve all learned something that will change us forever. For me, I’ve learned to stop, and appreciate that sometimes the wicked needs rest. I can’t control the inevitable.

What is your own personal achievement you are most proud of?

Seeing my parents the day of my launch. They came into the city to surprise me. WE did it!

Finally, what is your own life motto?

Always be humble and kind!

www.abelhonornewyork.com