BryanBoy Talks Fashion Regrets, Life In the Front Row and "Using Fur as a Personal Punctuation Mark"
Senior Digital Editor
When BryanBoy strolls into the Lucky offices for our interview, he's not wearing a set of Mickey Mouse ears, a waist-length fur headdress or floral pajama pants—all items, by the way, in which the internationally-recognized fashion blogger's been photographed. Shockingly, he's dressed in a sensible pair of loafers, crisp shorts and a blazer. "I'm going through a minimalist phase!" he laughs, by way of explanation.
Considering the incredible digital following he's amassed over the past few years, BryanBoy—née Bryan Grey Yambao—has every right to want to scale things back a bit, both sartorially and professionally. Still, the super-blogger is showing no signs of resting on his laurels; this fall, he's launching his first-ever designer collaboration, a line of unisex, colorful fur accessories he created with Adrienne Landau. Supremely (almost surreally) luxe, instantly eye-catching and seemingly tailor-made to catch a street style photographer's eye, the collection is perfectly in line with Bryan's over-the-top personality and aesthetic of choice. Read on for my chat with the blogger, in which we discuss his new project, his entrée into the fashion world and his life in the front row. Then, click through above to shop our favorite pieces from the BryanBoy x Adrienne Landau collab!
How old were you when you were first bitten by the fashion bug, so to speak?
I was probably about 10. I remember going through my mom's magazines—she wasn't into fashion, really, but she loved to shop. I was like 10 or 11, in the third grade, and I'd bring my mom's magazines to lunch and read them by myself while all of my classmates were reading Nancy Drew. Magazines provided me with an escape from reality. I went to a Catholic school, and we had uniforms...and I just wanted to be different, to look different from everybody else. I didn't want to conform to this cookie-cutter image. I would buy glitter glue and cover my shoes with it—I'd push it as far as I could, really!
And I assume it only escalated from there...
Yeah! Since then, I've always been obsessed with clothes. When I was 15, I decided that I really wanted a Prada backpack, like one of those nylon ones. At first, my mom just wasn't having it—but then she finally got it for me when I graduated from seventh grade, as a present. But then, when I graduated from high school, I wanted a Vuitton bag—an upgrade. And later, I decided I needed a Chanel...and then a Birkin. I once met this really chic 65-year-old woman in Hong Kong who told me she'd gotten tired of shopping, even though she loved fashion, and had started collecting artifacts instead. I guess that's the next step...?
The digital landscape has changed so much since you launched your blog; now, everyone's got a social media presence of some kind. Now that the online space is so saturated, how have bloggers like yourself changed their methods of coverage to adapt?
One of the biggest changes I've noticed is that now, bloggers are expanding into complete lifestyle coverage—it's not just about show coverage during fashion week. I mean, nowadays, a lot of personal style bloggers and even street style bloggers—they don't actually cover the shows. They pick what they like. When I first starting going to fashion week, I would literally post every runway photo I could get. But then I thought, why should I try to compete with Style.com? I actually don't go to that many shows anymore—I'd rather develop a relationship with a designer and get a preview, and write about it before the show. These days, it's more about having exclusive content.
Besides having Marc Jacobs name a handbag in your honor—which I think we can both agree was a major turning point in your blogging career—what other moments have been really special for you?
The Dolce & Gabbana show, for sure. I mean, sitting one seat away from Anna...I mean, it was me, Sally Singer, Hamish Bowles and then me and Tommy Ton. I wanted the ground to just open up and swallow me alive! But no, it goes beyond sitting in the front row and having bags named after you. I love doing projects with brands like H&M and Prada, working to morph myself into whatever a brand wants. I mean, I'd never worn suits before—and then suddenly, I'm working with Hugo Boss! Through fashion, I've been able to use the power of clothes to step into different characters, different personalities.
You're famous for wearing some pretty crazy things–clashing colors, insane visor sunglasses, etc. Have you ever regretted an outfit decision?
I mean, I wouldn't call it regret, but I've definitely had those "What the hell was I thinking?!" moments. But the thing is, I love fashion, and why not try something new if you can? I don't believe in trends or in following the flock—so when I look at outfits I've worn in the past, I know that they were reflections of what I was feeling at the time.
Say your home caught on fire, God forbid. What three items would you take before fleeing?
Let's see...my passport...
Ha—I meant what fashion items would you grab?
Oh, I was trying to be practical! As long as you've got your passport, credit card and cell phone, you're good. OK, fashion-wise, I'd grab the custom Armani suit—Armani made it for me!—my Hermès Birkin and my Stubbs & Wootton black velvet slippers.
You've been blogging for nearly a decade now—and this Adrienne Landau collection marks your first design collaboration ever. Nowadays, most bloggers launch collabs a year or less out of the gate! Why did you wait so long to jump on the bandwagon?
I usually prefer to stay on the sidelines—I've seen so many collaborations that didn't feel authentic, and I've turned down so many offers before. If you're going to work with someone, you have to believe in the product, and it has to be a reflection of you and your style. So when Adrienne Landau came up with a proposal, it just felt organic. It actually started because I asked Adrienne whether this brown mink scarf she made came in orange. It started as a joke, and became an actual collaboration! I love fur, I love color and I love accessories. I didn't want to design a $5,000 Chewbacca coat that nobody was going to buy—I wanted the collaboration to be something accessible, something that anybody could wear, guys or girls.
What are your absolute favorite pieces from the collection?
I'm obsessed with the pull-through scarf. It's so classic–you can wear it with a dress or a suit. Anything, really! It's about using fur and color as a personal punctuation mark.
Tell me a bit about what the design process was like.
It was really easy! I sketched a few samples, added dimensions and measurements and that was about it. It was effortless, and there was surprisingly little back-and-forth. I had a vision in my head, and they translated it perfectly on the first try.
What's the response to the collab been like thus far?
Well, what's fascinating is that when I had my editor presentation in New York, people weren't drawn to the black and white pieces, the classics—they wanted the ones that really popped! Colette wound up buying the brights, too.
If you could collaborate with another designer or brand in the future, which would you choose?
Zara. Fast fashion is a no-brainer—I mean, I'm a businessman! And I'm really impressed by the quality of Zara's clothes. They have incredible resources and worldwide distribution. I think it would be fascinating to work with them.
Want to meet BryanBoy? The blogger will be appearing at Bloomingdale's on Thursday, September 12 at 6 pm (at the 59th Street store) and on Saturday, September 14 at 1 pm (at the Soho store) to meet fans and introduce his Adrienne Landau collab. We'll see you there!