Saturday, 10 August 2013

Review of Haenuli's The Little Prince JSK & Bow Reservation


Image heavy, and detailed look at my experience ordering from Haenuli and the items I received! A mixed review.



The Brand: Haenuli ~ on Livejournal and Facebook.
The items I bought: The Little Prince Headbow and JSK (size 1) in Black Rose/Secret Purple (both colour terms are used for the same colour so I'm unsure which is the correct term). Queen bunny mousepad.
Cost: Dress $210 USD, Headbow $45 USD, mousepad $5, EMS shipping $35. Total cost including shipping $295 USD, which was £200.13 at the time of payment through Paypal. (I also paid import VAT and courier clearance fees.) **

The Brand & Reservation Details

Haenuli is a Korea-based indie label specialising in Lolita fashion clothing run by Haenuli Shin. This June, Haenuli put their new design, The Little Prince, up for reservation so people could pre-order the items from June 8th through 28th, with shipping out the finished items estimated to be August 5th through 31st. I decided I had to have the intricate print (it took a long time to decide which colour!) so I placed my first ever Haenuli order and here's what happened!

I originally saw one image on Facebook that a friend had made a comment on, so I had to go through a few pages hunting for the links to the pre-order page, but as it turns out the reservation information is at the top of the photo album on Facebook. (If you're a Facebook user, you'll probably know what I mean!) When I made it to the reservation page on Livejournal, I found it easy to understand and well laid out. There are lots of pictures of pre-made examples of the items for reservation (not just an illustration!) which were the deal-sealer for me. They looked to be well made and the print really appealed to me as I like anything that looks Space-related!

I chickened out on the Golden Apple (yellow and green) and Fantasia (bright purple and blue) colours and opted for the subtle Black Rose/Secret Purple colour scheme, which is a soft, dark, grey-purple on the stock images.

Ordering

The whole ordering process took a few days but it was simple. I copied the order form from the Livejournal page into an email and filled it out properly. I also thought the Queen Bunny mousepad was adorable so I opted to get one of those too. I chose EMS shipping as it's what I usually use. They only take payment via Paypal, which is nice and safe, and the order form is simple to fill out. I sent the email with my order on 27/06/2013.

At this point I'd like to say Haenuli had excellent customer service Monday to Friday, and responded quickly throughout. The response I received on 27/06/2013 (yes, the same day!) was an email asking me if all those details were correct, or if there were any changes that needed to be made. Of course, everything was peachy so I asked for an invoice. The invoice came through Paypal on 30/06/2013. I paid 1/07/2013, and got a confirmation of payment received email from Haenuli that day.

I didn't hear from Haenuli again until 1/08/2013. The email I received had plenty of shipping information and also said that my order had been shipped 2 or 3 days ago and provided me with a tracking number, which I used on Track-Trace. I discovered that my item was indeed shipping on 30/07/2013, and that it had already landed at London Heathrow by 31st July! It was amazingly quick. It cleared customs quickly and was passed on to my country's courier. I received the invoice for VAT and administration/clearance fees from my country's courier on 8/08/2013 which said my package was in my regional depot (York, which is very close to my city!) and I paid the invoice online to make things quicker. I selected the next day (8/7/2013) as my delivery date and went to bed with my fingers crossed that it would arrive the next day! (After buying a box of choccies for whoever would bring me my long-awaited Haenuli items!)

Though I was a little nervous in the intermediary period between ordering and shipping, I didn't worry too much. I figured there would be a lot of activity at Haenuli headquarters!

Receiving the Items (At Long Last!)

Here's what I received after paying up VAT and administration fees:



I got a couple sachets of Korean coffee, a fabric swatch of their new print (I think it's supposed to be a screen wiper or for cleaning spectacles... at least that's what I'll be using it for!), 2 Haenuli postcards, a handwritten note, and of course a Haenuli business card. The purple bag is a strong bag with a sealed gummy flap. It contained my dress and bow. In more bags.



The dress itself was packed with moisture-absorbing silica gel to keep it fresh in transit. It was sealed in a plastic bag, like the gifts and the bow, and was surprisingly crease-free!

Overall Aesthetic



It's pretty hard to photograph it laid down because of the box pleats but I've tried to show you where the print placement is. Because of the shirring at the back itmakes it hard to photograph the back but hopefully this gives you and idea!


(Derptastic photos ahoy! Not a proper co-ordinate or anything, just trying it on for size and thus, looking absolutely ridiculous! It was a little windy outside.)

Overall it looks similar to the stock image. The lace is a bit bluer than I thought it would be, and the greens tones are a lot more prominent than I thought they looked too. Even with the subtle Secret Purple galaxy print background (which is absolutely gorgeous), the print itself is very bold and colourful. The fit isn't great on me, so I'm going to do a little section on the sizing later on. The overall aesthetic is quite similar to what I imagined, but it's a lot more lurid.



Some of the details of the print are stunning, especially the background of the stars in that galaxy style!



I also feel like the fabric is a lot flimsier than I expected so it doesn't seem to hold its shape as well as I'd imagined. I thought it would provide quite a smooth silhouette but it doesn't do that with me. The fabric is't made from is very lightweight and comfortable to wear. It is sort of 'silky' feeling and it is synthetic but it isn't stretchy. It has a diagonal grain similar to cotton drill. It's not an unpleasant texture, it's just a little different to what I think people expect from pieces like this! I think it may be wrinkle-free stuff because the dress wasn't wrinkled at all when I took it out of the packaging!


I don't feel like the little detachable bows on the straps really add anything extra to the JSK although they are quite nicely made and the pin backs are sturdy.

(More derpage)

The wired headbow is pretty much the same as in the stock images. It got quite squished/bent in transit I think so it needs a bit of a tweak I think it looks a bit smaller when worn on a real human head compared to Haenuli's display head. The bottom tier isn't wired, it's loose, but it's just the tail of the bow so I don't think it needs wire.


I wouldn't recommend it for a particularly large head as it's a metal band. The band is covered with more of the fabric. The only thing I'd add as constructive criticism is that the stitching might have looked less conspicuous if it was closer to the edges.

Quality and Construction

There are some faults with the dress that I'm not satisfied with. I make a lot of garments myself so I have a keen eye for imperfections. While I do agree that minor imperfections can happen in any garment, I'm not entirely keen on the following things...



The way the lace is finished is quite roughshod. I don't mind the stray threads so much as you can just trim those down but the lace isn't really sewn on to my taste. It's sewn around the skirt after the skirt was sewn together, so it only joins together on one side of the garment. In my opinion it hasn't been joined properly at all. It's basically been layered so that one side overlaps the other and then been sewn over down the middle to hold it together. Both edges of the lace, inside and outside, have been left raw and susceptible to fraying. I found some weird curly bits, which I think are unraveled lace as the edges of the lace looks like they've started to unravel. It could use some stitches to keep it flush or to be undone and re-joined so that the edges are on the inside and can be at least zig-zagged over to prevent fraying just in case I emailed Haenuli asking if these raw edges were an accidental mistake in their manufacturing process (so, a slightly faulty garment). Here is the response I received: "Lace is made with rayon and strongly knitted if we finish with heat it jusy burn and leaves tough edge. Usually it's not fray a loy like regular lace even after wash. However we will consider your opinion".



This is the inside of the lace join. The inside has white thread instead of dark thread. I know it's only visible from the inside, but I added it to the email I sent Haenuli asking about the raw edges of the lace, simply stating that I thought that the wrong colour thread was used on the inside of the lace. The response I received was: "Bottom thread is white because inner side fabric is white. Also lining is white. So naturally they were finished as white thread."



It doesn't show so well here, but one of the other niggles I have is that the ribbon really doesn't match any of the tones in the garment itself. It's a double-sided satin ribbon which is of a fair quality (it's soft and pliable) however the tone is very purple, brighter than my image shows, and the rest of the dress is grey-violet, indigo, and muted purple. I asked if I'd been sent the correct ribbon and was told that I had been. They use this ribbon for all their garments because the ribbon that matched closer in colour was not high enough quality. Fair enough! It's something I'd replace, though.

Niggles aside, the good things are that is it fully lined in soft fabric (cream, soft stuff) and it does appear to be sturdily constructed structurally. The pleats are all the same size and it seems quite symmetrical in shape. The metal eyelets are sturdy and the sewing is quite neat! Oh! And it is machine washable after the first dry-cleaning according to the label:





It's not really anything to do with the quality of the garment itself, but the brand tags are a nice touch and make the indie brand have a more professional image. The spare button is great too!

Size & Measurements

They do state on their LJ that there may be some flaws including +/- half an inch. Whilst the measurement for the strap length is an exactly match to the stock measurements for this size, some of them don't match up too well. Here's how I make:

Bust: Haenuli says 87-98cm. My tape measure says 78-88cm (88cm is stretched as much as my arm muscles can physically stretch it, so I don't think it would be comfortable at that!)

Waist: Haenuli says 63-80cm. My tape measure says 66-80cm (the 80cm is stretched as much as my arm muscles can physically make it stretch so it likely wouldn't be comfortable!)

Shoulder strap: Haenuli says 34-39cm. My tape measure says yep, that's where the middle of the button holes are in terms of length!

Bodice length: Haenuli says 34cm. My tape measure says 30cm.

Skirt length: Haenuli says 63cm including lace. My tape measure says 60cm

As you can see, it's way smaller than Haenuli have estimated in many aspects! There is no way someone of 38" could comfortably fit into this JSK or someone with a 30" waist. 



The straps have 2 different buttonholes that you can use for adjustable length. They are exactly the same as the shoulder strap measurement given on Haenuli, and they're quite nicely done too!

Mousepad



It's quite cute! The print is quite nicely done, even though the colour is quite off compared to the stock image. The stock image is much warmer, this one is turquoise in the background instead of blue and the bunny is quite yellow. The mousepad is very flexible and floppy but that's alright. It's a reasonable thickness and works well with a mouse. It's actually 1cm smaller in both width and length than stated on the Haenuli page, and it does have some manufacturing/moulding flaws on the back. Not sure it was worth $5, but it's adorable anyway!


TL/DR

Ease of ordering 4/5
Timely shipping 5/5
Garment matching to stock measurements 2/5
(they match the lower end but nowhere near the higher)
Garment Quality 3/5
Items matching aesthetically to stock image 3/5
It took a while, but I got a full refund plus the cost of shipping it back to Haenuli.

Conclusion

I would not order from Haenuli again, and I would not recommend ordering directly from them I have read a few positive reviews of Haenuli's previous series releases, and other items from The Little Prince series, but for the price I think I'd rather deign a piece myself next time or put it towards getting a higher quality garment.

Because I was unhappy with the garment I received, I sent detailed images back to Haenuli and initially I asked if it was a second, or had mistakes on it that would not have been on all other garments. She was very gracious about it and though it's how all the garments are made (which isn't to a standard that I like), she apologised that the garment made me unhappy and offered me a full refund plus my shipping costs if I sent it back to her. I did (via a trackable service), and though it took a long time for my refund to come through with very little communication, on 04/10/2013 I finally received the full refund in my Paypal account. I do believe that the company is trustworthy and doing their best, it's just not suitable for me.

I think if I bought any further Haenuli items, I'd rather have preowned ones so I can discuss their true nature with the previous owners to help me decide whether the garment is right for me.

If you have any questions about my experience, the JSK and hair bow, or just fancy a little chinwag, you're quite welcome to contact me through:

Facebook (I tend to announce new blog posts there)
Youtube (I don't post videos often but I'm intending to post more! I still check YT's messages)
email missytetra.nlt@gmail.com

I hope you've found this review useful!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! :D Very informative! And I absolutely looove the print :)

    ReplyDelete