Horne at her Humage* launch event showing off some of her designs. Photos by Katerina Anderson.
MEGAN FULLER | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
Members of the Butler community are achieving extraordinary things, both on and off campus. From first-years to alumni to administrators and back, each Bulldog has a story to tell. Read on to discover the next of our Bulldogs of Butler through a Q&A style interview.
Micah Horne, a junior strategic communication major, is known around campus for her style and clothing brand. Formerly called ASYM, Horne decided to rebrand the line, now known as Humage*. The rebrand will focus on connecting fashion and psychology. Horne focuses on designing, embroidering and upcycling thrifted pieces to make them into something entirely different.
Horne held a launch event on April 8, at the Stutz, where she exhibited the brand and held a mini fashion show. Horne spoke to The Butler Collegian about fashion, the rebranding process and her launch event.
THE BUTLER COLLEGIAN: Can you tell us a little bit about your [rebranded] clothing brand, Humage*?
MICAH HORNE: It’s called Humage*. It’s rebranded from my old line, [ASYM], but there haven’t been many things that have been taken [from the old brand], so it’s like starting fresh. It’s mostly based on the lesser-known side of psychology, the more applicable to daily life. Also psychology as it relates to fashion because those are two topics that I really love. I thought it’d be really cool to combine those interests and figure out how I can teach people about psychology but also give them cool clothes to wear.
TBC: What inspired the name Humage*?
MH: The name is a jumble of two words. I was trying to figure out what to rename it because what brought on the whole rebrand process was the fact that I tried to get the old name trademarked, but I couldn’t. Adidas –– of all people –– has a trademark on the word “ASYM.” So, I decided I needed to find a word that nobody uses because everything is trademarked. I knew I wanted the brand to be centered around psychology, so I took Humage* because I love humans and love learning about them. And then the “mage” part is kind of like the word “mirage,” because I feel like everybody who’s a lover of fashion is under a type of mirage.
TBC: How does psychology work into the clothing line?
MH: I plan on having at least the first few releases centered around some sort of psychological concept, like one called “enclothed cognition” which is the psychological effect that clothes have on the person wearing them. What people wear has an actual psychological influence [on them]. I also see a lot of clothing brands move past just the clothing and make sure that they build a community around what they’re doing. That’s where educating people about other [psychological concepts] comes in and dropping in random things I do that relate back to psychology that people can incorporate into their routine.
TBC: Do you make the clothes yourself or just design them?
MH: I either purchase blank garments and use my embroidery machine and other stuff to personalize it, or buy [clothes] from thrift stores and upcycle [them] that way. I’d estimate 80-90% of the things for the brand are [embellished] or upcycled by me. Tote bags or non-clothing items are usually made for me.
TBC: How is this brand different from your original brand, ASYM?
MH: When I first started ASYM, I was a sophomore in high school, and I didn’t really know about brand values or having a vision or mission or message. I just wanted to create clothes that looked cool, and I wanted my friends around high school to wear them. The name came from all of the logos being asymmetrical. That was really the only value or mission that I was [promoting], which is not really anything that creates “noise” in the [fashion] world. I needed something that moved past that and had all of those brand values laid out and a mission and vision. [Humage* is] also more personal to me because before I would never show my face. I wanted it to be more about the clothes and the people wearing them. But now, I’ve incorporated myself into the brand.
TBC: Why did you decide to rebrand, and what was that process like?
MH: It was really difficult because since I’ve had that brand for so long, it was hard to part ways with it. I feel like another thing that was a bit challenging was just coming up with everything; the name debilitated me for so long. I feel like for a while all I had laid out were the values. I knew what direction I wanted it to head in, but I just could not think of any names.
Once I landed on Humage*, I worked with a trademark lawyer to ensure it was not trademarked. Humans, fashion and psychology have been part of my life for a while. I knew that’s what I wanted to do all along, but some of those technical parts were a little difficult.
TBC: Do you have any style influences for the new brand?
MH: Usually when I look at style, I either look at artists that I have listened to or different genres of style that I am interested in. I really like hiking gear and outdoor gear, so that has a bit of an influence on the brand featuring functional clothing with lots of pockets and things like that. Tyler the Creator has a brand called le FLEUR*, which is really cool. I liked the way that he kind of created a world with it, so I definitely took a little bit of inspiration from that.
TBC: You debuted Humage* at the Sensitive Fashion Show earlier this month. What was it like to show off the rebrand?
MH: It was nice but also interesting because the fashion show was at Ball State [University]. I know maybe three people that go to Ball State. One of them came to the fashion show, so it was nice because if people don’t like it, it’s just the crowd at Ball State; I’m not really gonna see these people ever again. It was well received, which was great.
TBC: Do you hope to enter more fashion shows with the new brand?
MH: I feel like that’d be a cool idea. I am still working on getting better at sewing so I can actually cut and sew the garments. I definitely do hope to tackle more [fashion shows] in the future. That will be a really cool opportunity if any come my way.
TBC: Your launch event [was] this Saturday. How has the planning process been for this event?
MH: It’s been really interesting. This launch party [was] technically an assignment for a class that I’m in; it’s a music industry class called Experimental Application. So, the entire semester you are just doing a passion project, so I decided to do the rebrand and launch event. I had never planned an event before, so I was really nervous because all I knew was that you need food and drink and stuff like that. But how do you get people to show up?
It’s nice because my internship with Pattern last summer exposed me to a lot of people, and they hire event planners, so I asked one to help me out for free. I’ve been handling the decor and promoting the event, while she locked down the food and drink. It definitely was really nerve-wracking at the beginning, but the event planner helped, and I just kind of took it one day at a time. I have a decent eye for aesthetics and decor, so it was really fun to come up with that.
TBC: Can you describe a few pieces in the new collection?
MH: For the Sensitive Fashion Show, each designer was assigned one of the five stages of grief, and I was “denial.” I was kind of thinking about things that I have been in denial about in my life up until this point. One of the main ones was my sexuality, but another one was coming to terms with realizing that I wanted a creative job. When I was younger, I was all about making money; I had to get a job that made a lot of money. Obviously, I grew out of that now that I see myself definitely having creative jobs in the future, but that was definitely something that I didn’t want to expose.
The first and last [models] are dressed as artists because it started in elementary school when I was asked what I wanted to be [when I grew up], I would say an artist. Some of the pieces in between include themes of sexuality; there are a couple of men in skirts. There are a lot of upcycled pieces because I’m not super well-versed in sewing yet. A lot of the pieces show my journey of sexuality and just figuring out that creative stuff is kind of my thing.
TBC: What made you decide to start designing clothes?
MH: Back in high school when I first wanted to start the brand, the main influence was my dad. He has a corporate job, so he’s always dressing in suits and ties, but he takes it to the next level. He’s always dressing in super nice suits and good ties that match really well. Back then I had no style whatsoever in high school, and I looked up to his sense of style. We also were just kind of looking at some of the brands that are popular these days, and my dad said, “You can do that.” So, I decided to try it.
TBC: Has your experience at Butler influenced your brand?
MH: Honestly, I think strategic communication was the best major I could have picked for what I want to do later in life and also for having the brand, especially for going through the rebranding process. I’m in a social media marketing class, and that has helped out a lot because the entirety of the brand really takes place online. Other communications classes have taught me so much about the strategies and tactics of advertising. Research methods in strategic communications was a big help in figuring out [my] target audience and how I want to speak to them.
TBC: Do you have any words of advice for fellow Bulldog fashion designers out there?
MH: Tyler the Creator said this in a video once, and it always stuck with me. He basically said, if you want to make something, just make it. Don’t worry about how other people are going to perceive it. As long as you enjoy it and feel like you’re putting your best foot forward, just go for it. It doesn’t matter if people like your brand. If you like it, if you would wear it, that’s literally all that matters.
The next drop from Humage* will be available for purchase soon. Humage* can be found on Instagram @humage_, and a website is in the works.