Abel Honor New York is Where Refinement Meets Rebellion…
Parsons graduate Kate Wasserbach has pursued her lifelong dream of starting her own clothing label with the launch of Abel Honor New York. The brand became available to the public on 12 AM October 31st, 2019: Halloween morning. After sitting down with the designer, and learning more about Kate, the Halloween launch seems very á propos for the young creative. Kate — who always seems to be “game for a good thrill” — thought the chilling holiday would be the perfect time to debut Abel Honor New York, also known as AHNY.
But Abel Honor’s designs are not so “spooky”: in fact, they are a new wave of unassuming luxury; serving quality, construction and contemporary with a sense of valor and dignity.
Abel Honor represents a timeless tone with an innovated twist, making this brand one to follow.
Abel Honor New York
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When asked Kate the Halloween launch, Kate mentions she did have a few concerns with it. The first was wondering if people would stay up until 12 am midweek on a Wednesday; the second was the amount of capital spent around Halloween.
“Nowadays, people spend so much money on Halloween costumes — especially in New York City. I was concerned they wouldn’t want to spend $175 on a tee shirt, but that didn’t seem to be the case! The number of customers that stayed up past 12am for the launch was beyond something I could have ever imagined … a Twilight Zone. In that sense, I guess it was completely fitting for Halloween!”
After assuming that Kate hadn’t got much sleep that night, she simply added “that night I had the best sleep I’ve had in months. I think the concept of officially having it out on the table for people to take or leave was a sense of relief. I did the best I can do … now I can sleep.”
That Halloween morning Kate woke up to find that 75% of the Fall/Winter collection was sold out by 9 am.
75% of the Fall/Winter collection was sold out by 9 am
This success story did not come overnight… Kate has quite the framework that properly prepared her for where she is today. Before Abel Honor, Kate had design experience from three different fashion houses — all with different brand DNAs: Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior Couture, and Michael Kors.
Before Abel Honor, Kate had design experience with Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior Couture, and Michael Kors
Kate adds “all three taught me different brand morals, which are certainly recognizable in Abel Honor. I learned the classic Americana tribute and power of a lifestyle brand from Ralph, I learned refinement and luxury from Dior, and I learned accessibility and business from Kors.”
Her most recent experience was at Michael Kors, where she was on the design team for 5 years.
Kate considered herself “a sponge” for those five years; tirelessly driven to absorb as much information as possible. She knew this was the platform what would leverage her to eventually have her own brand.
“I learned sales, production, customer relations, and design -– of course. I was scared to take the leap when it was time, but I was ready.” Two weeks after she left Kors, she started Abel Honor, a year and a half before it launched.
As for the inspiration for Abel Honor, she effortlessly responds with “strength.”
“I wanted my brand to embody strength more than it did a specific sector in the industry. You can find strength in a lot of things. Everyone has their own type of strength, which is a very relatable concept. I believe my clothing touches all different types of people, while giving the wearer a sense of assurance and self-empowerment. If you look strong on the outside, it may help on the inside.” Kate says she hopes her clothing gives nothing but confidence to the wearer, “and a smile!”
Everyone has their own type of strength
Kate is a total powerhouse filled with talent, charm, and drive. She mentioned her peers at Parsons referred to her as “a machine”, which, to her surprise, she didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
“I guess it’s a good thing. It got me to where I am today!”
Speaking of where Kate is today, she says if she could go back and tell herself one thing before starting Abel Honor, it would be “to trust the process. Keep your head down, keep it moving and keep it real. My father always told me that attitude and effort are the keys to success … he was more than right.”
attitude and effort are the keys to success
Kate attributes her success to her parents, Jane and Bill Wasserbach.
She mentions that their support in her craft has been very prominent since her talent for the arts started at the young age of three.
“They never questioned my vision and did all they could to help build my dream. Neither of my parents have an artistic bone in their body, so the faith and comfort they invested in me — even though they may not relate — is something so honorable, and I am eternally grateful.”
Kate says the proudest moment of her career was the seeing her parents’ faces the day of her launch. Jane and Bill drove from Kate’s hometown in upstate NY to surprise Kate in the city to celebrate Abel Honor’s debut.
“They were so happy and excited. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”
Kate and her brand, Abel Honor New York are a force to be reckoned with. While most of the AHNY debut collection is sold out, some pieces are still available on www.abelhonornewyork.com, including her most recent capsule installment: The Telly Tees.
To maintain exclusivity and sustainability, Abel Honor does not restock product and what you see is what you get, making the garments somewhat of a collector’s item.
Abel Honor releases two mainline collections per year, so look out for the SS20 line hitting the market around May.