In the second instalment of our SPOTLIGHT series, we chat to fashion designer Belinda Watson, owner and creative mastermind of Australian cult label BINNY.
As long time lovers of pattern, colour and eye-catching prints, fashion label Binny is right at the top of our favourites list! Fabulous, fresh new styles, that are completely different to anything else on the market, are the hallmarks of this Aussie label. We wanted to find out more about the inspiration behind the brand and Binny herself, the wonder woman juggling a booming business with a growing family.
[click on the links under each image to find out more about each look]
TPL: When did you start designing? What lead you to this career?
BW: I've always had a creative streak, ever since I was a child. I laugh at some of my creative endeavours in the past. From photography, selling bizarre handmade accessories, collecting driftwood for months, putting them into enormous piles to have made into frames that never eventuated! I never imagined I would end up where I am today, but I am so happy to be here. It lets me be creative in so many ways as well as enjoying the business side. After falling into a series of roles in fashion - first sales and then design - this led me to see an opportunity in occasion-dressing for my friends, plus what we like to wear on weekends. So the brand has grown around that initial idea.
TPL: Describe your label in three sentences or less
BW: I hope people see it as unique, fun and special. I try to put as much into the finish and attention to the little details as I can. It's a little bit unexpected and I love to keep my loyal customers guessing at what might be next. Fashion, to me, is supposed to be fun, chic, but without trying too hard. So I strive to deliver this through the collections each season.
TPL: How do you find inspiration for each new collection?
BW: I can't start designing until I have a theme. I obsess and agonise over it and am often thinking about it for years in advance. I hoard ideas and fabrics and funny things I like in old baskets that I dig through each time I start a new collection. I love to design around a theme and can sometimes get too carried away with my theme rather than thinking about how it will be hanging in a shop with 800 other brands. It always comes from something - travel, a book, my childhood, something that is special and meaningful to me. I then tie back all the prints, trims, details and follow it right down to the model, location and styling. Selecting and coming up with prints for my theme is my favourite thing to do.
TPL: What is a typical day for Binny?
BW: Uncertainty is typical! I never know what each day will hold and each is completely different to the last. The only constant is coffee! I might be on a shoot two hours from home one day, working on my website the next, unpacking and dispatching mountains of boxes and then wrangling fits with our international manufacturing partners in between. There is always a flow of communication with my team on a million different things, which keeps it all exciting/exhausting. The pace can be so fast and then suddenly it's all over for the season. And then I am in the best part of the year when I really only have to think about designing and playing with Ollie, spending as much time as I can at the farm.
TPL: How do you manage to fit everything in - especially now that a mini-Binny has joined the team?
BW: It is a constant and huge juggling act! Plus a lot of feeling guilty for being on my phone/computer too much or having meetings with Ollie there. If people don't know me, they would either think I'm mad or very rude as my emails are written one handed, very quickly before Ollie sees my phone and starts screaming to play on it, or gets into a rage because he doesn't have my full attention. Every day is totally different. I dream of a properly organised month, being the sort of person who uses calendar apps and books things months in advance. It will never happen! This industry doesn't allow it. I have a nanny that helps out one day per week, or more when I need it, plus I'm so thankful for my Mum being a back up in times of extreme chaos. I also have a local team to support me in growing the brand. I have found following routines for Ollie and those precious daytime sleeps save my burning bacon!
TPL: What is the one fashion item you would splurge on if you could?
BW: I have been dreaming about buying a mens 1970's Rolex since I was about 18. They are so rare and really hard to find, as that was the decade watches turned digital, so not many were made. They are also eye-wateringly expensive! I bought about 1800 fakes when I was younger, and I still keep buying cheap watches that break within a minute, thinking that it's helping to save up for the day I finally have this unicorn. But if I added up all the money I have spent over the years on watches, I could have bought ten of them plus a set of vintage Hermés luggage trunks + a miniature pony for Ollie.
Thanks to Belinda for her time and sharing the background to her unique fashion label. Select pieces from the 'I Go To Rio' range are available via The Punch List website, with free express delivery on all items worldwide!