Meet Your Maker: Bec Nolan of Afends

  • Style
posted by Kate McCart

We caught up with Afends Women’s Designer, Bec Nolan to talk about the office pets (including Dachshund, Pony), her husband and Afends Men’s Designer, Sam, their recent overseas adventures in Japan, and a sneak peek into what is to come out of the Byron Bay brand this summer.

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What is your role at Afends?

I’m the women’s designer. I do everything from research and moodboarding to the technical drawings we send to our factories, then our production manager takes over with the specs (and a lot of other stuff that would take too long to mention!). I also organize and style our womens campaigns and photoshoots, which Sam photographs.

Where is Afends HQ?
Our office/warehouse/café is the Arts & Industry estate in Byron Bay. Close to the beach and good food!

Describe your workspace…
White walls and floor and a big communal desk, with moodboards and ranges pinned up all over the walls.

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Walk us through a typical day at HQ…
Arrive at work, get a hot chocolate from the café downstairs and head up to my desk, usually stopping to chat to my sister in the marketing room. Catch up on Pinterest and then get stuck into whichever stage I’m at in the design process! We’ll either go out to lunch or eat at the café in the sun, or go to the beach when it’s hot.

We hear Afends HQ has a couple of pets roaming the office? Tell us about Pony?
Pony is our little long-haired dachshund. She comes to work everyday and sleeps on our desk on a little cushion and yells at any strangers who are unfortunate enough to wander into the design room. She’s a fiery red head. It’s funny writing that because right now she’s fast asleep with her head next to my keyboard looking like an angel and it’s hard to imagine she’s capable of being your worst nightmare.

Your husband, Sam is the Men’s Designer at Afends… Do you have a pretty smooth working relationship?
Yeah! I always think it’s funny when people are amazed at the fact that we live and work together, and don’t drive each other crazy. I’m speaking for myself here, it’s possible that I do in fact drive Sam crazy. The best part (aside from being chauffeured to and from work every day) is that we get to go on research trips overseas together, so they really don’t feel like work trips at all.

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If you could have any icon wear Afends (past or present), who would it be and why?
Honestly I get excited just seeing someone on the street wearing Afends! I just want to see people who have a cool or interesting style wearing our clothes. I don’t care about status.

What was the inspiration behind the AW15 collection?
It was designed after a research trip to Japan and I feel like it was influenced a lot by what I was seeing on the streets and what I wanted to be wearing but couldn’t find. We also stayed in a snow lodge in the mountains while there and there’s definitely a bit of an Alpine vibe going on with the knitwear.

What will we see you wearing from the AW15 collection?
The Illusionist jacket is my favourite – it’s French terry so it’s super comfortable, but looks like a denim jacket. Some other favourites are the AC II logo tee in rust, Coal knitted shorts and vintage blue Luckies slim jeans.

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Can you give us a sneak peek into what we can expect to come out of Afends next season?
We did a collaboration with Japanese artist Yoko Honda, I really love the yardage that came from it, especially on the swimwear. We also have a new range of Hemp Basics which I love, I’m especially excited about the environmental benefits and the potential of hemp in the clothing industry. We’re always looking at ways we can reduce our impact and have more of a positive influence in what can be quite a destructive industry.

Describe the Afends team in 3 words…
Big, embarrassing family.

Give us a brief rundown on the Bec Nolan story.
I was born and raised on the Gold Coast, and by the time I met Sam I was ready to get as far away as possible. We only made it as far as Byron but it feels like a world away culturally!

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Was the fashion industry always where you thought you’d end up?
Not at all.. I was designing homewares before I started at Afends and never considered that I didn’t have to study fashion to be a clothing designer.

How did you get your foot in the front door?
The previous designer was doing both the mens and womens range, he asked me to do some graphics for tees and when I sent them through I offered to help out with the womens range. It turned into a full time role quickly and I took over as head designer when he left. Then Sam moved into menswear design from the marketing department and so here we are!

Describe your morning routine…
Alarm goes off, snuggle Pony for another 45 minutes and then rush to get dressed, eat some toast and get to work almost-on-time. I’m not what you’d call a morning person…

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What do you get up to outside of Afends? Any hobbies?
We spend a lot of time at the beach and have been travelling 3-4 times a year. Right now we’re renovating the house we just bought in Mullum, so that will take up a bit of my spare time!

What’s playing in your headphones right now?
Ceremony – L shaped man, mostly because Sam won’t stop playing it, and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

The last place you travelled?
Japan earlier this year, with Sam and my little sisters Tia & Sai. We shot our Winter campaign there in Daikanyama and Lake Chuzenji, near Nikko. It was so beautiful!

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Next stop?
I’m not sure! I can’t settle on a location, it’s back and forth between Mexico, India (again) and Turkey..

What’s the next big thing to come out of Afends?
There are a lot of things I’m excited about in the next few ranges.. we’re really starting to focus on Basics and Denim. But for Spring – skorts! I’m all about them.

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