A Conversation with Bay & Fyfe’s Frith Hucks

06.06.2013

STYLE

Bay & Fyfe is an emerging creative concept label based in Sydney, Australia that was formed by Frith Hucks, a media guru who launched her brand as a way to channel another side to her creativity. Here, she tells us about her artistic collaborations, why she favors screen-printing, and why at the end of the day, it’s all about “wearable” art.

Life+Times: Bay & Fyfe is an emerging creative concept label based in Sydney, where you collaborate with artists around the globe on what you’ve called “pieces of wearable art.” What was the mission in launching Bay & Fyfe?
Frith Hucks:
We collaborate with contemporary artists and creative people from around the world, to create art inspired fashion and homewares. The ambition is to use contemporary art as a foundation for the label to create beautiful things that people will treasure. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to live in many countries around the world, so I’ve built up a great collective of creative people. This has given me a big melting pot to develop ideas from. Each artistic collaboration is a labor of love to create beautifully finished, limited edition collections that are treasured.

L+T: What’s behind the name?
FH
: Hmm…well I’d like to give you some great meaningful, intelligent answer, but unfortunately there isn’t one. Bay and Fyfe where just two names I liked for a long time and I thought they sounded good together. It’s as simple as that really. Everyone tells me the name is that is sounds very established.

L+T: You were the former Head of Media for adidas International before venturing off on your own. How did this help in starting your own label?
FH
: Twelve years in the international marketing and advertising has been invaluable to guide the commercial aspects of the collaborations Bay & Fyfe embarks on with artist. It’s helped hone my skills to develop things that are unique and focus on really innovative ways to market them. This is very important. In today’s current economic climate you need to think and act differently. You need to give your retailers new and interesting ways to tell stories about your products. Luckily with the evolution of digital and social media, there are fantastic ways to build brand recognition and product engagement that didn’t exists five years ago. It’s a super exciting time.

L+T: You collaborate with many different artists – how do you choose them?
FH
: Instinct, creativity and collaborative ability. There it a lot of art I like and many artist I’d like to work with, but I have to be able to visualize their work in a concept that I’d love to wear or have around my home. Some artists I find easier to take on a transformational journey in my mind than others. When that journey starts to happen it’s incredibly exciting and I’ll start to research similar products and work out how I can make them distinctively “Bay & Fyfe.’’ Then I’ll approach the artist with my idea if I think I’m on to something. We regard our artistic collaborations as long-term partnerships. Partnerships that we want to nurture and explore creatively, so we can create products that people truly treasure.

L+T: Where did your love of scarves come from?
FH
: Prior to arriving in Australia I lived in Europe for 12 years and scarves are a fashion staple there. I love the way they can change the whole dynamic of an outfit. I use to spend a lot of weekends in Zurich and on Saturday there is a fabulous antiques market and I would always be on a mission to find another scarf to treasure. My collection is pretty impressive.

L+T: What’s the process like? I know you favor screen-printing. Why is this your preferred method?
FH
: Having trialed a few techniques I knew screen-printing was what I want to do. With the right silk you get a beautiful seepage of color through the fabric when you screen print and the scarf because more vibrant – more like a piece of art that you’re wearing.

L+T: Is there a scarf that you’ve created that is your favorite?
FH
: Oh gosh, that’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. I love them all for different reasons and wear them all differently. The Eagle and Horse print scarves are my favorite to wear as tops. The Puffer Fish and Snake are the ones I love wearing with winter trench coats for a burst of color and I love the Wolf and Snake prints as framed art on my wall

L+T: There’s also a level of philanthropy in your company’s mission statement? Can you tell us a little bit about this?
FH
: Yes, philanthropy is important to us and ‘paying it forward’ is very much part of Bay & Fyfe’s brand ethos. Personally I believe that as a company founder I have a responsibility to give to others. Good fortune should be shared. We don’t align with any particular charity – but like to pick out one or two different recipients each year that we can help through collaborative initiatives.

L+T: I love your collaboration with Daimon Downey. What was this creative process like? What are you currently working on? Are there any upcoming collaborations that you can tell us about?
FH
: Daimon Downey is a fantastic artist to work with and loves collaborating on ideas to develop his art into new area. The creative process starts with his original work and ideas that I have to turn it in to wearable art. Often this involves mood boards and snippets of ideas from all over the place that I’ve been mulling over. Then together we’ll craft and refine my ideas into something bigger, better, stronger and really unique. We have lots of new creative collaborations cooking at the moment. One I’m particularly exited about is our planned collaboration with Swarovski. We’ve found another way to layer more art on to our silk scarves with Swarovski Elements that’s phenomenal. The journey of art never ends which is something I really love. This creative mindset is very unique to Bay & Fyfe and enables us to explore so many interesting avenues of wearable art and more.

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