I first discovered sensational Russian eyewear brand FAKBYFAK, at a show in Paris where all seven of their amazing styles were being presented. The thing about shows is that you can wonder around for hours really taking in the looks and designs; and at this particular show, being face to face with all these incredible glasses, I got really excited – I have to say, it was totally love at first sight.
I think my favourite pair of the collection were a rather oversized pair of sculptural looking sunglasses, with a vintage looking feel. At the time, I didn’t realise that they had been designed by one of my favourite designers Manish Arora, and were inspired by his Hells Bells collection, which has an amalgamation of different creative influencers from Twin Peaks to Haribo, with a sprinkling of Americana,African and the extravagance style of Burning Man!
The brand have also collaborated with avant-garde Belgian designer Walter van Beirendonck on another pair of glasses and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have planned next.
Alex even your optic FAKBYFAK glasses are covetable - each style carrying a different story and maybe persona to transform into.. I've seen and tried them on and they're impeccably made - but where ?
We succeed to produce eyeglass frames of exceptional quality thanks to my partner Roman, who sees through all the production stages and is responsible for quality control. We produced in different locations in Japan, Italy and Hong Kong. I must say, that those you tried on were made at our main production facility in Hong Kong. The technology experts we work with at the production house confessed that our strict quality control policy had helped them improve their work dramatically. In fact, thanks to our expertise, innovations and attention to every small detail that got passed on to their staff, they now produce more high quality brand frames. We truly give the items a lot of attention before approving. And yes, we are picky and do not give it the green light unless there is even a hint of doubt, which may drive the production staff mad more often than we’d want to. At one point this fall in Paris we came up with an experiment. We presented a highly reputable eyewear expert from one of the Italian production houses with two frames: one Hong Kong made one Italian and asked him to tell which one is which. Well, as you may guess, he pointed wrong. So, the production location does not make the difference as long as there is passion and love, as well as extra financial investment and your personal knowledge.
How do you choose what designers you collaborate with - Manish Arora is just a passion but so is Walter van Beirendonck because you can play with the attachments a bit like lego .. so much fun!!!
It was a hard but valuable experience. However beautiful, exciting and inspiring.It did leave us with fewer nerve cells and money. Our brand is quite young and comes from Russia. Yet we are truly proud to get a chance to influence people’s perception of our country through what we do. That collaboration came at the right time and boosted our development. We are thriving with new ideas and desire to go against a concept of trend and create pioneer images. We have called the attention of these two unique persons,designers and that means that we can offer something truly special. We are truly grateful to have this experience, which I can go on about for hours or even days. Though we have received a quite large amount of offers we managed to initiate two projects with Manish and Walter. We have become the first Russian eyewear brand to make such a break through in terms of ideas, concepts developing, production and marketing. We are open to collaborate with those who are not afraid to be adventurous even a bit rebellious to change the world. I suppose that is our main doctrine, for I simply cannot stand mediocrity - it makes me sick. Our goal now is to go beyond an idea of FAKBYFAK as a brand and transform it into an event, a subculture or a movement. That is the new challenge we have faced ourselves with.
Your New design Mantis is slick and feels dangerously wicked but also incredibly mesmerizing and has its own individual number engraved on the back side of left temple a secret code designed by your own inHouse team?
Almost each collection is a limited edition. Each of our clients get a frame with a unique number. Having this number encourages a sense of human vanity and a false originality. That is what apparently gives the product a sense of additional value. But to be honest, we are not so thrilled about doing this anymore. It’s time to stop playing this silly game. Our upcoming collections are going to feature emoji symbols - that should be truly more fun.
Can you give me an insight into your story for 2017 what can we expect in the FAKBYFAK world?
We would like to give a new meaning to the existence, starting with our own. We are looking for ways to help the new aspiring desires to bring their ideas to life as well as find new forms to express our own ideas. The world has already changed and has no place for the old codes of conduct, laws and paradigms. Do you feel that? I have mentioned earlier that we are starting to work on turning FAKBYFAK into a movement, a story, a vibe. This year we made our first step to support this idea. We came up with a series of events that introduce a number of talented artists in the field of electronic music and masters of visual art. These events will take place in Madrid, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, Bucharest and Bilbao. The first one - Orbital Madrid Decompression 2016, has already hosted at NuBel - Museo Reina Sofía inspired by the work of Jean Nouvel who designed an extension of the Reina Sofia Art Center in 2005, installing his notorious red dome over the space. In 2017 we are planning to shoot a short film, conduct exhibitions with art curators and professionals from the art and fashion community as well as organise different events in unexpected ways and formats. I am looking forward to a possibility of performance collaborating with Marina Abramovich. And this is the point I pretend it just slipped out by accident and send Marina #LOVBYLOV.