Amazing fashion can often be thought of as art, Frith Hucks has taken this concept to a new level with her label Bay & Fyfe. Taking her love for art and combining it with her love for fashion, Hucks created a unique concept label which promotes the talented work of some of the world’s most exciting artists and designers. Couturing interviewed Hucks to find out about her latest collaboration with The Grand Social and all the exciting projects she has planned.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you came to start your own label?
My background is in marketing and advertising. I spent 11 years living in Europe working for some fantastic international brands in sport and entertainment. When people hear my background they’re a little perplexed as to how I ended up with a concept label, but I’ve always been a creative soul. I always had projects on the side, making things and coming up with ideas on more things to make. Really, it was just a matter of time before one of my ideas was big enough to stand on its own and be commercial.
2. Bay & Fyfe is a unique label that collaborates with artists from around the world to turn their art into fashion. How did this concept come about?
It all came about due to a ‘sliding door’ moment, with Daimon Downey, the labels founding artist, having an exhibition on my street. It’s not your a typical street for an exhibition, but fate put him there. One day I went up checked out his work. For a long time now I’ve treated myself to a piece of art every year and it was Daimon’s lucky day. I bought a piece then and there and it got me thinking there was so much more opportunity with his work. I also have a huge network of creative folks that I’ve worked with around the world and I’ve always thought if I could find a way to harness all the creativity I could be on to something.
I’m a scarf fiend from way back and I could just imagine how beautiful his work would look adored on right fabric. So I approached him with an idea, told him I knew what I was doing, he believed me (we laugh now) and that’s how the concept started… it was clearly the best painting I’ve ever bought!
3. You have teamed up with 5 designers from e-retailer The Grand Social on a special project. Can you tell us more about this exciting collaboration?
There is so much scope for art and fashion to come together and I was really keen to explore it. It also became very apparent when I started out with the label that it’s bloody tough getting noticed – not just with customers, but with retailers too. No one’s taking a risk, everyone is buying safe, so as a label you have to always be creating new ways to appeal to both your customers and your retailers.
The Grand Social was one of the first e-retailers to believe in what I was doing. They support emerging Australian talent, so I took the idea of an artistic collaboration to them and they backed it 100%. The caliber of the designers involved with the collaboration is incredible. You have one-of-a-kind pieces from Emma Mulholland, ToniMay, Wonders Cease, The Eleventh Hour and Kyla Crozier. These talented designers have taken Bay & Fyfe’s first silk scarf collection, featuring art from Daimon Donwey and re-invented these canvases yet again. One lucky person can win the piece of their choice and then the remaining pieces are up for sale. All the money raised is being donated to the Ted Noffs Foundation. Check out www.thegrandsocial.com.au for more details.
4. For your first collection, you worked with artist Daimon Downey. Can you tell us about this collaboration and why you think Daimon’s work translate so well into fashion?
Prints are a big part of fashion right now, so it wasn’t a huge leap to think of Daimon’s art in a fashion context. I was drawn to his use of mixed media and off-beat colour palettes. Daimon also works in sculpture and painting so there is a huge amount of work to draw from. For our latest unisex fine wool collection we’ve actually used one of his giant sculptures as a motif across the scarf. You just need to be able to visualize well and have a great production team who can make that a reality.
5. You have made a point of contributing a portion of your profits to the Ted Noffs Foundation. Why is this integration of a charity aspect important for you?
I personally think everyone has a responsibility to give back if they can. What we create isn’t a product created out of necessity – it’s a luxury , so it’s good to off set that with the knowledge that others who are less fortunate are benefiting from what you do.
6. Your label is currently focused on scarves. Why do you think everyone should own a beautiful scarf, and how do you chose to style your Bay & Fyfe scarves?
For people who are looking for a piece of individual style that really makes a statement our scarves are perfect. They’re limited edition pieces that we hope their owners will treasure. I wear my Bay & Fyfe scarves all year round. In the summer I wear them as tops and in the winter you’ll always see me draping them in and around my coats.
7. The fashion industry is very competitive. What sort of challenges have you faced starting up Bay & Fyfe and how have you made sure your label stands out in the market?
I’ve mentioned some of that above. It’s very important to be coming up with new and interesting ways to tell your brands story. You also need to find retailers who want long-term partnerships and together you can come up with the kind ideas like our current art collaboration. I’ve been fortunate to find a handful of retail partners like this, so I’m working hard to give them exclusive collaborations, access to artists, etc because I know it will pay dividends for the brand in the long term. I’ve also got to say online retailing is 101 of any brand or store. I was staggered at how far behind Australia was when I arrived here from Europe – and so much whinging about it rather that embracing it! Madness. There are a number of retailers who’ve been caught with their pants down and it serves then right.
8. What exciting things do you have planned for Bay & Fyfe over the next few months?
There are so many exciting things in the pipeline I don’t where to start.
We have another Pastel Zoo collection from Daimon launching in September. We’re also working very closely with new e-retailer Velvet Lane who is commissioning art from Daimon exclusively for their customers and shooting their SS look book in Daimon’s studio at the end of the month.
We are also teaming up again with jewellery designer ToniMay to do and a limited edition series of necklaces and cuffs featuring the new silk scarves that will be available exclusively through e-retailer Haus of Hinton.
There will also be an extensive push into the US market over the next few months. We’ve teamed up with one of the best PR’s in the business – Linlee Allen – and she’s working her magic. We’re actually about to score the Oscar of editorial coverage – the Zebra print scarf from our first silk scarf collection will be appearing in The Wall Street Journal magazine in a few weeks. That will be a very proud moment.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Frith! We wish you all the best for the future! Make sure you check out the Bay & Fyfe collaboration with The Grand Socialhere.