Humans Uniquely Expressed boasts vintage know-how that could only come from a fashion buff and professional thrifter, infusing iconic branding and vintage staples with reimagined interpretations. Hunter Huelle, the 22-year old Colorado native behind HUE’s cut and sew pieces, reflects his love for ‘90s hip hop within both his upcycled brand and personal style. Below, Huelle talks thrifting, Cross Colours, and using his medium as the message.
Where are you from, and where are you now?
I am from Fort Collins, Colorado, and currently still reside there.
What is your first memory with streetwear?
I was first properly introduced to fashion in high school, when I started heavily shopping at thrift stores and became enthralled with vintage clothing. I studied the clothes rocked by my favorite ‘90s hip hop artists, in music videos and interviews, and I was inspired to emulate certain aspects of their wardrobe.
If you had to compress your personal style into one outfit, what would it be?
This is a tough question, because styles can vary drastically day to day. If I had to break down what a quintessential Hunter Huelle outfit is, I’d say it’s almost always an ode to hip hop. Either in the form of a hoodie with my favorite groups’ logos on them, or staple pieces referencing the golden age of hip hop—’90s-centric pieces, like my vintage Tommy Hilfiger snow overalls. As far as footwear is concerned, I’m likely to complete my outfit with one of my many pairs of 6-inch premium Timberlands. My favorite color is orange, so you will more often than not see me wearing something with orange in it!
When did you first feel inspired to create your own designs?
I first felt inspired around two years ago, as I was newly graduated and able to spend more time thrifting and buying clothes. When I’d get home I’d lay all my purchases out on my bed, from sleeping bags to jackets, and notice how well their colors and materials played off of each other. To get a better understanding of how things would look fully put-together, I started taking pictures and making mock-ups in Photoshop. I was eager to create garments that were unique and that no one else had. It wasn’t until 2019 when I finally decided to take action and make these designs come to life. Earlier in 2019, I had an amazing opportunity to work with the legendary 90’s brand Cross Colours through an academy called Pensole in Portland. I was one of 30 young designers to be selected, and was given the task to create a new modern look for the brand while still encompassing its infamous slogans. Working with TJ Walker—who started one of the first ever streetwear brands and outfitted icons like Tupac, Snoop, and Dre—certainly lit a fire under me to pursue my passion just as they did. So in October 2019, I launched my first collection.
Describe your design aesthetic in one sentence, if you can.
My design aesthetic is essentially vintage-infused bespoke streetwear—however, as time progresses, some pieces I make could fall into that high-fashion aesthetic.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
I feel most inspired wherever inspiration lies, and inspiration lies everywhere. I take note of how it makes me feel, I jot it down in my sketchbook or phone, and I begin designing something based on that inspiration.
Which living designer do you most admire?
I’d have to say Dapper Dan is my favorite living designer. He’s one of the few truly legendary fashion figures, and he is a huge inspiration.
What’s your biggest creative or career milestone so far?
My experience designing for Cross Colours was definitely a reaffirming experience, but I feel like I can’t speak on any milestones yet because I’m only just getting started.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?
I want them to feel like a “human uniquely expressed,” just as my brand name states. I want their piece to feel as unique as they are. Nobody’s genetic makeup is ever exactly the same as anybody else's, so why should their clothes be?
What would you most like to change about the current fashion industry?
I would like to set a standard, by making clothes with a message. Everything I make always has a reason behind it. I always want there to be significance in why a piece was created, not just because it “looked cool.” We are living in very emotional times, and I see it as an artistic disservice to make clothes that lack a message and representation. I’m not saying all my clothes will be extremely profound in their meaning, but it’s going to be connected to some sort of subject matter. Along with that, I want to keep pushing sustainability and make as many pieces as possible with second-hand/vintage clothing to eliminate waste with overseas production.