Couturing were lucky enough to interview the talented duo behind Bec & Bridge, Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston in the lead up to their much anticipated MBFWA runway show. Since creating their label in 2003, the pair have seen it go from strength to strength, quickly gaining a loyal following in Australia and overseas.
Find out what we can expect from their Spring/Summer 2012/13 Collection, some of the challenges they’ve faced getting their label where it is today, and what they are looking forward to in the future.
1. You’ve been working together on Bec & Bridge since 2003. What do you think makes your partnership so successful?
Our communication has always been very open and honest with one another and we share a deep respect for one another’s opinions, which is key to any partnership working.
2. Your latest AW12 collection ‘Jardin Exotica’ was inspired by French artist Henri Rosseau. What about Rosseau’s work caught your attention, and how do you take ideas and inspirations and turn it into a full collection?
We were drawn to Rosseau’s interpretation of exotic jungles, places he longed to visit but never had. His use of bold colour as well as the exotic scenes were enough to set off our collection.
3. Without giving too much away, what we can expect from your Spring/Summer 12/13 collection, and what has inspired this new range?
We’ve been inspired by the Amalfi Coast and the Island of Capri. Bec holidayed there last year and her photos and descriptions of the place, rich in history, set our imaginations alight. The vivid colours, landscapes, architecture, wild bougainvillea and pure white light with a constant sea breeze have all inspired us in one way or another.
We really just wanted to develop a collection that is super easy to wear. Effortless and elegant without being too casual. It’s a slightly more sophisticated direction for us and one we think the Bec & Bridge girl will really identify with.
4. What is the most exciting thing about showing at Australian Fashion Week, and what are some of the challenges you face putting a runway show together?
Of course the most exciting part is seeing the girls walking down the runway. Seeing everything come together from sketches to samples, with the music and production, is the best feeling. The challenge is sticking with it until that moment! It’s a real high-pressure environment in the lead-up to the show, and the days feel so much shorter. But it is all more than worth it in the end.
5. You have been in the fashion industry for almost 10 years. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way?
We have learnt to stay true to ourselves, and our business model. We believe in designing for real women, designing fashion forward quality clothing at an achievable price point. We feel the most important thing is to keep pushing ourselves to achieve more, while never compromising that key ideal.
6. With the fashion world becoming increasingly digital (e.g. on-line shopping, social media), this means there is increased competition from overseas labels however, on the flipside, it opens your brand up to a much wider audience. How has the digital revolution affect how you have marketed Bec & Bridge?
We think we have a very solid fan-base here in Australia, and even a growing one overseas, which means that we will always have support in-stores and online. International brands have an increased presence here, but we do not feel threatened by that. We are launching our own website and e-boutique as we speak (previously run by a third party), and our recent success and our larger presence in the online market has allowed us to do so. We owe a lot to our social media; it creates a more personal link with our customers, and has an immediate effect sales-wise too.
7. You have successfully collaborated with Akubra to create the Bianca Adventurer for your RAFW 11 collection. How did this project come about, and why do you think as a label, it is important to collaborated with other brands?
We were really influenced by the 70s for S/S last year, and for our first lookbook shoot, we wanted to use the fedora as our major accessory. What better brand to borrow from than Akubra, who are also Australian owned and made. The collaboration was a natural progression, and such a great branding exercise for us as an Australian label, and the RAFW timing was perfect! Collaborations can be an amazing opportunity, but we feel it’s very important to work with a brand that builds on your own vision without compromising it.
8. How do you keep developing and challenging yourselves as designers with each collection, while still maintaining the Bec & Bridge aesthetic?
The great thing about our aesthetic is that it is always evolving; we are known for sleek silhouettes and a feminine yet slightly edgy look, but we always try and push those boundaries. Recently we have been working towards a more sophisticated and fashion forward aesthetic, and the response from our customer is very positive. It also means that we are attracting new customers, which is always exciting, while encouraging our customers to grow with the brand naturally.
9. You’ve expanded to incorporate jewellery and accessories into your label, and you are quickly gaining a following for your brand overseas. What do you have planned for Bec & Bridge over the next few years?
We definitely feel that our expansion in the overseas market will continue based on the strength of the new collections. International response is a great indicator of what works and doesn’t work, as there is so much more choice overseas. That factor alone is invaluable when we design. That being said, we are Australian designers, and we will continue to grow the brand and evolve our image with the local market as our focus. We will take everything as it comes!