Fashion is not only a luxury, it is a commodity. Yes, many items that are related to the consumer fashion market fall into the category of ‘must have’, as opposed to a vital necessity, yet where there is a gap in the market, there will always be a clientèle.
Whilst on a trip with friends, during the summer of 2014, Tanya Hayek and her self customised vintage sunglasses made their fashion début. A self proclaimed accessory devotee, Hayek had always been a fan of the art of customisation, specifically of her coveted accessory collection. After spending a considerable amount of time building an admirable vintage sunglasses collection, the next logical step in this young designer’s creative journey, was to create herself a pair of custom vintage sunglasses.
This, an its most intelligible level, was how the BANA brand was born. After much admiration and envious comments from friends, Hayek began to realise that this one pair could be the start of many other styles, and, inevitably, the start of a fashion brand.
Fast forward to 2016, and the week of the BANA debut LFW event, and Hayek has achieved great status within the accessory design market. Accessories will always be part of the lucrative fashion consumerism division. Chose an accessory well, and the piece in question will always be worn; forever current. The call for vintage accessories is high at the moment, with other designer brands, such as Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana, favouring styles that are heavily inspired by pieces from the early nineteenth century.
The factor that sets BANA designs aside from the heavily endorsed sunglasses market? The utterly charming and vibrant marketing campaigns for the pieces, promoted across appropriate social media outlets, and on the BANA website. The entire premise is based on happiness, sense of self, and an overall feeling of the carefree lifestyle we all aim for. Fashion says different things to different people, but it is all about the elusive ‘perfect’ lifestyle. BANA is selling sunshine, and at an affordable price, too.
So, on what is likely to be a typical (cold) day in London, on Sunday afternoon, the fashion crowd will witness these sunny designs make their LFW debut. Through my work with Oxford Fashion Studio, I was given the opportunity to quiz BANA founder/designer, Tanya Hayek, on the conception of her brand, and who she feels would represent her well.
Describe your collection in three words.
Boho Chic Flowers.
Tell me about how your brand came into existence.
I was at the beach with my friends, and I was wearing a pair of vintage sunglasses that I had customised with some beads. Everyone went crazy for them, asking me where they could buy a pair, and so I came up with the idea to start my own brand. A friend of mine was showing at an exhibition eight days after I had made the decision to ‘expand’ my company, and suggested I launch the collection at the exhibition. It involved eight days of sleepless nights, but I did it, and that’s how the BANA brand was born.
If you could choose any celebrity muse to represent your brand, who would it be, and why?
The ultimate girl sqaud; Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevigne and Gigi Hadid.
What has been your most memorable challenge in your career?
Throughout the first few months of starting up the BANA brand, I was still studying for my degree in Architecture, and so juggling these two responsibilities was very difficult.
How did you overcome that challenge?
I didn’t sleep much, and I made a concious effort to be everywhere, at all times.
On the day of a fashion event, such as the OFS show, what does your daily routine look like? What time do you get up? What time restrictions do you have?
I live in France, so I will fly into the UK on Friday, and make sure I have everything that I need for the show. This will be my first organised fashion show event, and so I am extremely nervous (and excited) about it. I just want to make sure that I am as organised as I can be.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
I have always loved fashion, and although I studied architecture, I have always known that fashion and style was a passion of mine. I love reading fashion magazines, and I have done this since a young age.
How crucial to your business is social media?
My target audience is very much a social media user, and so all outlets are very crucial to the success of my business. I would say that Instagram is the most relevant, as it is very visual. I spend about 80% of my day on social media, and I find it instrumental in the exposure of my business.
How do you handle the business side of your brand? Do you hire a business manager? Are you in charge of a team?
When I first started out, it was just me, but now I have a small team to assist me in certain areas. I work with a legal specialist, a financial specialist, and my partner helps me with the general running of the company. I design and manufacture everything myself.
What advice would you give to a young, unestablished designer?
Don’t over-think anything, and be present.
What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Listen to people; you do not know everything! Act on advice.
What qualities do you look for in an associate/employee?
Someone who is creative, yet can understand all aspects of running a fashion company. Someone that knows my brand inside and out, and an individual who acts with pace and enthusiasm.
What was the inspiration for the pieces/collection being shown at the OFS event?
The collections I am showing are called ‘Ocean Feelin’ and ‘Spring So Cute’. They are the most sought after pieces, and really represent the style of my designs.
Which five pieces should every woman own in her wardrobe?
A great pair of denim shorts, plain coloured cropped tops, a high waisted skirt, flip flops and lots of colourful accessories.
What keeps you motivated?
I love to travel, and the thought of being able to see the world through the work that I do is so motivational to me. My worst nightmare is to work in an office, to do the ‘9-5’ thing everyday, so I tell myself to keep going with designing.
What inspires you?
The beach, Summer.
What is the next challenge/event planned for your brand?
I am hoping to build up a rapport with new clients, and hopefully some collaborations. I am hoping that my pieces could be shown in a fashion show somewhere a little more tropical, to best showcase my collections.
Where do you want to be one year from today?
I would like to own my own multi national brand, and be in the position where everyone knows of my BANA sunglasses.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Probably my first trip to London last year; my collection was shown in two exhibitions in two weeks.
If you could choose five people, living or dead, to sit front row at your fashion show, who would they be?
Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevigne, Gigi Hadid and John Lennon.