We met up with HEX cofounder Trent Valladares to learn more about the company’s origins, their use of technology and material, and more.
Seated in Valladares’ living room, we took a look at some of HEX‘s latest products before learning more about the thought and care that goes into each one. Read our interview with HEX’s cofounder below.
Where did the idea for HEX originate?
My business partner, Dan and I, have had years of experience working in various capacities with other brands. Sometimes it was as designer, sometimes as manufacturers or licensees. This allowed us to see what we felt was being done well and what was not being done so well. So we always felt that we would like to create a consumer brand of our own one day. The question was how to separate any new brand from all the others that are always emerging and to identify a need that would make our brand unique. With HEX, we felt that there was a huge disconnect between great looking, quality fashion bags and accessories and how we all live our lives with technology in the modern world. The great looking stuff was not designed to protect laptops, phones, or tablets and the bags that were designed for that did not look good. So, HEX was born to be a bridge at the DNA level of the brand to make great looking gear that was designed to not only accommodate, but protect and enhance the way we live today with our multitude of digital devices.
What were you doing before starting HEX?
Way back I was a musician. But for many years I have worked in my family’s accessories company.
How did your experience in the accessory industry help when starting HEX?
I think the connection to years in the accessory business is pretty straightforward. It gave me a solid background and understanding of design, merchandising, marketing and production. But in reality, the experience in music has been super applicable as well. Building a premium brand is no different in many ways than building a name and a following for your band. I was heavily involved in marketing and talks with record labels, but equally involved in writing the music. We also did visual art installations and booked and promoted our own shows. So it was a great experience in creating something you believed in and then executing and building on that idea.
Why did you decide to focus on accessories?
When my parent’s first started their business, we did clothing and accessories. We just seemed to gravitate towards accessories and that is the natural direction the company’s growth took as well. So, when it came time for HEX to come along, we stayed true to what we know – which is accessories.
“Details are important to us and we strive to accentuate and elevate what others may consider less-important details of the designs.”
HEX products are known for their use of innovative technologies and materials, how do you decide which technologies and materials to use?
We really try to ask ourselves a couple simple questions like, “How would I personally like this product to work/look/perform?” or, “How can we make a better experience for our customers with this product?” These types of questions are very good in leading our direction. We try not to worry too much about current trends, but focus more on being true to what HEX stands for and what we personally like and believe in. This is how, for example, we ended up really incorporating a large amount of storage and protection features for tech devices into our bags, yet prioritizing that the bags remain slim and minimalistic in design and profile.
How does HEX stand out in the overcrowded world of accessories?
I think it’s a design play. It has a true identity of it’s own – a recognizable look. The products work really well and they look great. Details are important to us and we strive to accentuate and elevate what others may consider less-important details of the designs. I think our background in fashion design steers us towards textiles and materials that provide a different experience than other brands. I also believe that our focus on fusing design aesthetics with technology as a core value of our development process yields appealing and useful results.
We really enjoy and focus on our textiles. We are always developing new weaves and patterns and looking for ways to bring rich materials like wool and leather into the space, where before anything that dealt with tech really only used synthetics like ballistics and nylon.
What is the focus of the Spring/Summer 2014 collection?
We have a collaboration with artist Cole Gerst of Option-G that gives us a unique printed collection which is new. From there we have added some new shapes and silhouettes keeping consistent with our brand ethos as well as continuing to progress as far as weaves, patterns and materials, but of course I can’t say too much yet about those upcoming collections since only the Option-G collection has been officially released – the rest of the collections will roll out over the next month or two.
What was the collection’s inspiration?
We definitely wanted to play with a new print and work with someone like Cole, who we respect. So we tied back the print to our roots in music and modernism and came out with something that looks really great. As a whole, the Spring/Summer 2014 collection was developed to play with lighter tones and unique colorations that suit the time of year while still bringing a timeless look and appeal to the collection. That was the challenge – to be both classic and fresh at the same time.
What materials are present in the new collection?
We are using some of our signature premium washed and waxed canvases, coated canvas, leather and nylons.
What can we expect from HEX in the future?
At HEX we want to continue to innovate, so you can expect that. Whether through colorways, fabrics or new shapes and products, we are always trying to make something new and useful. We will remain true to our roots and core values as we design new products to bring to market that will still be distinctly HEX. And you will probably be seeing more of The HEX Bus turning up!
Shop HEX’s current offerings now straight from their online shop.