The story behind the HATTER x Studio Wavelength candle collaboration
Smells can transport you back in time and trigger strong emotional responses. From catching a whiff of perfume or aftershave and immediately picturing your first crush, to walking into a cloud of smokey BBQ scent and feeling a strong urge to eat everything you see. This is all down to the olfactory bulb, a part of the brain that directs odours to the amygdala and hippocampus which manage emotions and memories. It’s also why smell is regularly used by artists, institutions and creative agencies (hello!) to curate experiences and responses (an interesting recent real-world example being governmental agencies pumping ‘clean scents’ into public spaces to make people feel safer during Covid-19).
HATTER is an experience agency with an ethos of Positive Recklessness: celebrating people’s desire and need to play through the creation of spaces that provoke all the senses. It’s our job to provide moments of magic in the everyday – and scent obviously plays a huge role in that. Smells can stop you in your tracks; they can motivate, inspire and challenge. Therefore, when thinking of how we could best capture that spirit in a product, a scented candle was a no-brainer.
In summer 2022, HATTER teamed up with Studio Wavelength, an Amsterdam-based scentualist design studio, to start creating Fresh Take, ready for release over the New Year.
Studio Wavelength shares HATTER’s belief that true experiences can alter perceptions and move people: “Experience is the best dinner party you ever went to: the people, the scent, the food, the music – everything,” Gabe Jaffe, Wavelength founder, said. “In this collaboration, we talked a lot about play and what that multi-experience means to HATTER.”
Keen to ‘play’ with how scents can blur the lines between past and future – how memories and strong emotions can inspire future action, making you want to channel or relive positive moments – Gabe presented a laboratory of scents to experiment with. After two ‘smelling parties’, HATTER founder Simon decided on a mix that “felt like the first day of spring, when you fling open the windows and take a deep breath and it smells like promise.”
Wavelength thinks of ingredients as the mind, body and soul of its candles. This is the scent combination that makes up Fresh Take:
Mind: green tea; bergamot tea.
Body: cut grass.
Soul: teak wood; tonka wood.
The perfume is created from essential oils – all chemical and phthalate-free – and the wax is 100% natural vegan rapeseed. The sustainability aspect was a big draw for us. We believe creating something that is not throwaway and that is ethically made contributes to its positive reception and the positive experience in using it.
All of the candles are hand-poured and the vessels designed as standalone pieces of art that can be kept forever. The glass artwork is a one-off mixed-media mash-up of the HATTER smile, paint, and shredded paper. Once empty, the vessel can be repurposed as a cocktail glass, pen pot or an eavesdropping device (just put it against your neighbour’s wall and have a listen). We’d rather you didn’t use it as a bug prison, hat, or last minute re-gift for that relative you always forget exists though (it’s too good for them).
This is just the first step in the partnership between HATTER and Studio Wavelength. This collaboration has enabled us not only to share a creative journey with Wavelength, but also with everyone who receives a candle. The best bit about Fresh Take is that everyone’s response to it – both to the scent and to the candle itself – will be entirely personal, which is the foundation of a ‘true’ experience. It will play a role in future moments with you – whether it’s lighting up a dinner party, bath or seance – and HATTER is delighted to be along for the ride.
Lose yourself in the moment. Say, “F*** it, let’s see what happens”. Channel your inner desire to play. Stop caring about what anyone else thinks.
Fully embracing joyful impulsiveness – that’s Positive Recklessness HATTER-style. It’s about creating spaces where boundaries can be pushed, limits can be tested, and worries can be forgotten. It’s about finding moments of magic in the everyday and building experiences that can change lives.