Qiaoran Huang & Joshua Hupper launched the bi-continental brand Babyghost six years ago after getting their feet wet post-design school at Diane von Furstenberg and Nathan Jenden, and Joshua at Thakoon. The duo, who have quickly amassed a cult following, design clothing women want to wear as opposed to what the designer wants them to wear. Because of this their collections, always with a very clear point of view with plenty of specific detailing, are wearable and reasonably priced- attainable for their ideal customer: the girl who loves streetwear with a softer edge. Qiaoran and Joshua travel often, and are constantly inspired by films and museums that later influence a new season’s direction.
How long have you known each other?
How much time do you spend in New York now that one of you is based in Shanghai?
Q: About six months a year for me, we’ve been going in 3 month increments since we started the company.
J: Technically I’m traveling for the next couple of years with an emphasis on training our new hires at the Shanghai studio, but I’ll be back home for NYFW and anything major that I can’t do over the phone.
You’ve often been described as a cult brand. What does this mean to you?
Q: It means that our brand resonates at a certain frequency and for those that are tuning in, the clothing/lifestyle tends to make them feel very close to us.
J: I think it gives girls a sense of belonging and like any cult once they pick up on it they become pretty die hard. Or maybe it’s just a nice way of saying that although we’re cool, we’re also still way under the radar insofar as the global fashion industry is concerned.
Who is the Babyghost customer?
Independent & Confident Women Who Believe In Magic.
What was your initial vision when starting your brand in 2010? Has it changed since then?
Initially we set out to make a label that would be extremely affordable while also having a lot of depth in terms of inspiration and detail.
How did the name Babyghost come about?
Because there are two of us, we didn’t want anything eponymous, and after a few brainstorming sessions BABYGHOST was born. There’s something familiar about it while also being quite unique.
How much does the bi-continental nature of your brand impact your design aesthetic?
Of course the way in which we travel and manage our label has a lot to do with its DNA. Working from our studio in New York for a few months and then flipping to Shanghai is a great way of clearing our palette over and over throughout the year. Both cities offer a tremendous contrast to one another. Qiaoran is originally from China and I’m an American so we are both reacting and finding inspiration to places that we did not grow up in. It makes for a pretty gnarly unified perspective on the way we design and style our collections.
Are there any major differences between American and Chinese customers? If so, how does that impact your brand?
Yes, perhaps the most apparent is the way people shop- or rather the access they have to shopping. China is growing so fast but there is still more available online than what you might have access to at the mall. So online shopping is perhaps a much bigger organism than what you find in the US.
Where did you find the inspiration for your latest collection?
We found it in a museum like we usually do. One thing lead to another and eventually that all boiled down to a focus on deconstructing and reconstructing some of our favorite styles from past seasons.
What are your favorite places to visit?
Q: Italy, Japan, Shanghai, & NYC
J: Koh Tao, Kyoto & Maui
What do you enjoy most about being designers?
Having a vision or dream in your head and watching it turn into real things.
What do you think is the key to a successful partnership?