Abel Honor New York is a Two-Label Couture Brand Defying the Odds

Two Labels. One Brand. Same Owner

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Abel Honor New York

Abel Honor New York is here to change the game. A two-in-one label established by Kate Wasserbach in 2019 after years of working for world-renowned brands such as Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, and Michael Kors, Abel Honor is a fashion label with designs for the now and tomorrow by reestablishing the definition of classy glamour with an edge. Originating in New York City, Abel Honor embodies the current downtown culture in a sophisticated manner, with the brand being split into two labels, Black Label and Recwear. Black Label is the top end AHNY label including couture-influenced designs, whereas Recwear offers men’s and women’s casuals and is the most popular amongst the ‘Abel Gang’.

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Abel Honor New York

AHNY believes that there is a unique identifier that is defined with an understated sex appeal, and its goal is to make women and men exhale a different image than that of the current environment. Celebs such as Bella Hadid, A$AP Rocky, Ashley Benson, and Kehlani have been spotted in the brand’s effortless, laid back look.

We caught with Wasserbach to talk all things Abel Honor. You can check out the interview below.

ONE37pm: Thanks for chatting with us Kate! You have such a storied background in fashion having worked for many legendary brands. What made you decide to jump out on your own with Abel Honor?

Wasserbach: I have always wanted to have my own business. Both of my parents are entrepreneurs; and seeing them grow within their own industry, and accomplish career dreams, has inspired me to follow in their footsteps. My parents are my biggest inspiration in both personal and professional manners!

ONE37pm: Your brand is actually split into two different labels Black Label and Recwear which are different from one another. How did you come up with that unique concept?

Wasserbach: I wanted a brand that was high end, but accessible as well. The Black Label collection is at a different caliber in aesthetic, price point, and relevance than RecWear. Because Black Label is more adverse, I created the RecWear to allow my customers to hedge in product that is more price conscious, but that is also approachable and composed in trend.

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Abel Honor New York

ONE37pm: With Abel Honor having launched in 2019, you guys were a new brand operating in the midst of the pandemic. How did you navigate that difficult experience?

Wasserbach: When the pandemic hit, AHNY was only 4 months old. We really did not know life before the pandemic. With that being said, during this time we were amid production for season 2. I felt that ‘pushing’ a product and marketing our brand at a time when the world is in such distress felt very tawdry, and in poor taste. So, we paused all production immediately and created a charity called Abel’s Honor. We supplied over four thousand PPE to organizations, businesses, households, and even just the average person in need. 

We connected through our social platforms, email, and client services. Our main stream of PPE requests came from the Direct Message mode on our Instagram. Some users would put in a mask request for their elderly grandparents, themselves, friends in need, even bulk requests for hospitals, fire departments, and other first responder teams. There was no request too large or small. From the front line to the front door, we were happy to help all those in need.

Once we saw that the consumer world was leaning toward buying products out of want -and less out of need - we decided to pick up where we left off and released our second season collection, The Avant Contention, in June of 2021. Although COVID has been tough for all mediums of business, especially emerging businesses, I am glad we waited for a time when it felt right in my heart to proceed with BAU.

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Abel Honor New York

Our second season drove more success than our first. It showed us that our clientele was willing to give our product a try - and invest in AHNY throughout all the personal, and global heartache we have all gone through. I will never forget that support, it was ever changing in the growth of this brand.

ONE37pm: What are some of the signature styles of both Black Label and Recwear?

Wasserbach: Black label plays with mixed media pieces and structure in silhouette; while our RecWear specializes in luxury leisure available in our unisex division. Both share inventive and show-stopping prints and graphics that are designed and made by me. I love both labels equally, and they bring competing requirements to the brand.

ONE37pm: What is your favorite part about what you do?

Wasserbach: That is such a tough question! While every part of the design process is challenging, the rewarding aspect of it trumps all. I am a part of every step - from sketch to sale. So, I am physically, emotionally, and mentally invested in all ways possible. I like to celebrate the small wins along with the big ones. But I think the most fulfilling and favorite part is the photoshoot for the look book and campaign book

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Abel Honor New York

Seeing the line in full cohesiveness- on the model – styled from head to toe is the absolute best feeling. It’s another reassurance of ‘wow, I did it… and it actually worked!’ There is no higher high in the world than seeing your hard work presented so beautifully in entirety.

ONE37pm: What do you have planned for 2023?

Wasserbach: This year, we went ahead and tried a new business model. Instead of releasing a large collection of around 70 pieces – like we did for S1/S2 – we are dividing this collection into separate deliveries. We will have around 5 ‘drops’ this year. All the drops are entirely new product ventures for AHNY. We will start our series-collection in March kicking it off with our first ever footwear line… pun intended. The reason for this change in market is because our previous season premiere’s come with a lot of theatrics, excitement, and theme.

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Abel Honor New York

With that being said, the customer is eagerly anticipating the debut. Understanding that our products are investment pieces—meaning that they are of the highest design construction, and we do not restock the product, or go on sale—we see a trend in our customers buying their products right away upon season release. After they make their purchases, the return rate of coming back to the site to purchase additional products are slim. The customer purchased what (they think) needed to get! The first 8 hours upon launch is when we make most of our profits for the whole entirety of the season availability.

There has been plenty of times our customers think already-released product is new to market simply because they overlooked it when they made their initial purchases during the premiere day. Due to the large quantity of styles in the collection, a lot of wonderful pieces get overlooked. So, we are trying make the shopping process more attainable by transitioning to deliveries. This delivery process is how I designed on my team at Kors, so it is very familiar to me.

We are so excited of what is to come, and to see if this new market policy will be a beneficial transition for the company. Stay tuned, we have some really amazing goods coming down the pipe.

You can keep up with all of Abel Honor's latest announcements via their official website.

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