24 Hours With… Timothy Han
You might know Timothy Han not through your eyes, but rather via your nose. After all, the Canadian creative first launched at Browns with his eponymous fragrance offering, a range of unisex scents inspired by the designer’s love of literature. After toying with the idea over lockdown, Han now returns to his original craft, launching his first collection of clothing - timeless pieces for the modern woman, suffused with his elegant eye and knack for fashion without fuss. We caught up with Timothy (in the foothills of the Portugese mountains, no less) to learn more about his practice.
“This is my dog, Balto. He gets me out for walks every morning rain or shine. He’s a bit of a goof, but he’s adorable.”
“When I need a break I like to go to the mountains. There is something very serene about them. In an ideal world I would transplant London to the foot of a mountain range somewhere.”
What time do you wake up and where?
That very much depends on what time I went to bed… it can be anytime between 6am and 1pm…
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Coffee… always coffee.
Where are you usually based?
Between my home in East London and my studio in Somerset House.
What does your average day look like?
I wish I knew… I tend to focus on what needs to be done at that point in time so it’s ever-changing.
Do you have any rituals?
Did I mention coffee? Oh and dog walks… lots of dog walks. I find walking a great way to keep a clear mind and focus.
Where is your studio located and how do you get there?
Somerset House. Walk, Bike, Tube…. Teleport.
“I tend to choose simple fabrics and muted colours. I am more interested in the texture of the material and how it feels. I think that comes from the architect in me.”
“Lunch time… I feel fortunate to be at Somerset House. It’s an amazing place to work.”
How would you describe what you do?
I tend to say I’m a designer in the broadest sense. I’ve worked across fashion, fragrance, beauty, branding, architecture…
How did you get your start in fashion?
In a rather odd way… I was working in the outdoor industry for a guiding company and so I originally wanted to start a company making outdoor clothing. Back then the clothes weren’t very good – terrible cuts and not the best designs. I knew nothing about clothing design at the time and enrolled in a local school in Canada. I kind of thought it would give me the foundations to make technical gear. I hadn’t researched it very well - the school was more about couture techniques!
One day I made this rather throwaway comment about how ridiculous it was to be studying fashion in Canada and that really if one wanted to take it seriously, they ought to move to Paris. A rumour started going around the school that I was moving to Paris… so I thought, why not?
After a year of studying, I got an internship at Dior and then ended up meeting this fledgling English designer who offered me a job. The person at the careers department of our school hadn’t heard of him and thought I should instead be working for one of the bigger names. That designer turned out to be John Galliano.
“This is my space at Somerset House, where I have my studio. It’s normally quite minimalist but we’re quickly outgrowing it. In the corner is some artwork by my friend the artist Cedric Christie.”
“You’re only as good as the people around you. Laura and Xinyu are working on a vest that Angie is wearing. It holds dozens of vials of perfume, much like a bullet sling.”
What are the most important factors for the brand?
I quite like simple silhouettes, but like my fragrances I want something that has an edge and can provoke in a subtle way. Also, details and finishing. You could wear any of my clothes inside out… I love that level of detail.
How do you get into a creative headspace?
Solitude and nature are important to me here.
Whilst working, where do you go and what do you do to take a break?
Paris a lot for obvious reasons. I also love mountains and nature, so I try to escape there when I can.
Do you have a favourite piece from your new collection?
I think the Action Trouser. I love the versatility of it - you can wear it from day to night, park to club, studio to gallery. The same would apply to the Action Dress. I love the way it can come across as totally conservative but then open up to be something more provocative and sexy.
Who would you most like to see wearing it?
I love it when creatives wear my pieces. I like to think that we appeal to people who play by their own rules, rather than those that follow trends.
“I love it when my friends wear my clothes. This is author and art director Jessica Rose in the Action Dress.”
“I always have books next to my bed. The Matryoshka doll is a gift from a Russian friend, and the nail is actually a work by Berlin-based artist Yasmin Mueller.”
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
That alone would take an essay… can we narrow it down to what’s next to my bed? In which case Rulfo, Barthes, Tanizaki, Calvino… and probably something on Muller-Brockman.
What do you usually do for dinner?
Wander through the grocery store and see what ingredients look appetising…
What time do you go to bed?
Usually between 11pm and 3am.
Last thing you do before you sleep?
Make sure my alarm is set and there is water for my dog.
What do you dream about?
I really wish I knew….
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