Having made a splash touring with Grimes, LA pop-star-in-waiting HANA reveals the roots of her singular style
In Scene Stealers, creative individuals setting the trends in music, art and nightlife break down their three key style inspirations
If some of music’s most influential ladies have your back, then the chances are that you have the rights to start making something big. And with big hitters like Grimes and Lorde backing her, Los Angeleno HANA is definitely ready to make her mark.
Having just cut her teeth touring with Grimes, as well as co-producing her debut track “Clay” with Grimes collaborator Blood Diamonds, Hana has already forged herself a serious fan base for her delicate, melodic pop with echoes of Cyndi Lauper.
Channeling the sassy-girl vibe of the 90s – think manga pink hair, “clod hopper” boots, skin-tight trousers and facial gems – Hana stands apart from her peers by somehow being both unique and in line with various trends. Communications with her are peppered with exclamation marks!!!! because, well, it IS exciting touring with a properly massive pop star when you’re so new that you still only have a sprinkling of glacially paced pop songs on your Soundcloud page: “Clay” and the equally terrestrially named “Avalanche.”
Her debut video for “Clay” is a low-budget, DIY take on the ins and outs of touring – standing in front of an empty stadium sound-checking, standing side of stage – and then of course, the huge payoff of singing in front of a truly MASSIVE crowd… Here, she talks us through her three style heroes.
Gwen Stefani: “I could not have thought she was any cooler!”
Arwen from Lord of the Rings: “I would attempt – and fail – to braid my long hair in the ways Arwen and Galadriel did.”
Mel B: “I really worshipped the Spice Girls when I was in elementary school. Scary Spice was my favourite because she looked like she was having so much fun. She wore incredible, outrageous outfits but also always looked the most comfortable of any of the girls. I love a look that is fierce but not forced – she always looked effortless.
“Both she and Gwen Stefani inspired me so much as a girl that I would pride myself on how outrageous my outfit for school was, I’d walk to school in platforms, checkered tights, tie- dye skirts with a plaid shirt and pigtails. Her best outfit, and general vibe in the “2 Become 1” video is so good – crop top, cargo pants and floor length fuzzy lime green fuzzy jacket? Yes please.”
Gwen Stefani: “The first time I saw Gwen Stefani performing “Just A Girl” was when she played David Letterman. I was 7 years old. I remember she would bring her hand to her forehead every time she sang, “I’ve had it up to here,” and I could not have thought she was any cooler.
“I was struck immediately by how much she seemed like she didn’t care what anyone thought. She looked like a pin-up girl who could also kick your ass. To this day, almost 20 years later, she is still an insanely entertaining performer and always looks flawless. She’s really taught me to have fun with fashion and makeup, and to wear what I want so that I am comfortable and it feels exactly like me.”
Arwen from Lord of the Rings: “I read the LOTR trilogy and was highly influenced by the descriptions of the elves. When the movies came out I was obsessed and had LOTR posters covering the walls of my room. I would attempt (and usually fail) to braid my long hair in the ways Arwen and Galadriel did. Getting into fantasy and Tolkien calmed my style a bit. I let my hair grow insanely long and opted for flowy tops and dresses and softer makeup (that I usually paired with combat boots).”
Is comfort important to you?
HANA: “It’s key because if I’m uncomfortable, I won’t be able to perform or be 100% myself. I’d describe my style as a mix of fun, edgy and ethereal. Lately I’ve been happiest in drapey shirts, fun leggings, wedge sneakers and a leather jacket. I soften the outfit with braids in my hair. I never like to feel too feminine so I’ll usually pair a dress with a pair of boots or sneakers. Thankfully I don’t feel pressure to have a specific look.”
Do you experiment with your makeup?
HANA: “Always! I’ve been playing with a little bit of white face-paint and loose glitter. I’ve also been trying out different braiding and parting techniques with my hair. It’s always fun to experiment and try new things, even if sometimes they don’t work out! I don’t have a daily ritual but I wash my face every morning and night. I’m usually running out the door [when I put my makeup on], so a bit of concealer, powder and mascara are usually on my face on any given day. When I go out or play a show, I like to have more fun and play around with eyeliner and usually M·A·C lipstick in Media – it’s my favourite colour and matches my hair almost exactly.”