Often when I am walking down the street near my work in Fitzroy I pass by women who look so damn effortlessly cool.
They are the type of women who wear stylish pieces that somehow manage to look classic yet modern and edgy at the same time. I think it is safe to say that it is likely they are wearing Melbourne Label Búl.
Started in 2010 by designer Virginia Martin, the label has really carved itself a place in the Australian fashion scene, and has recently opened new stores around Australia including, Westfield Doncaster and Pacific Air shopping centres.
Virginia released her first collection at the ripe age of 19, and has had a passion for clothing and design from a young age, which was nurtured by a mother who doubled as sewing teacher. It is this passion for design which saw Virginia intern in the USA for renowned labels such as Proenza Schouler, Cynthia Rowley and Heatherette.
Búl is definitely one of my favourite Melbourne labels, and it is the focus that is placed on fine details, luxurious natural fabrics and unique prints which make it stand out from all the rest.
Timeless, quality and style comes to mind when I think of the Búl aesthetic. The perfect label for the woman searching for relaxed yet quality tailored garments regardless of her age.
For the record, it is pronounced like ‘buhl’ – the hull of a boat or scull. I asked the designer herself, see my interview with Virginia below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Búl came about?
Travel and adventure are a big part of my life. I grew up in the city but taking time out and heading to the beach most weekends is a very important part of who I am.
Búl started in 2010, after I came back to Australia, after spending some time overseas working in the US, I felt like I was ready to launch my own label. I grew up in and around the industry and my parents had their own businesses. So it was just something that knew I wanted to do.
How would you best describe búl’s aesthetic, and customer?
Búl’s aesthetic is a careful balance between sophisticated clean lines, draped volume, pinpoint pops of colour and print each season and playful mix of silhouettes. There is always a focus on creating timeless pieces. I think this is what helps to identify the búl customer – she is someone who looks for classic easy to wear pieces that stay current season-after season. She is also someone who isn’t afraid to take some risks with silhouette, colour, cut or print. There is always a sense of adventure in the búl women.
What inspires your design and creative decisions/and or your new collection?
Travel is a very important aspect of the búl design ethos and also for my personal creative process as a designer. After I travel it always plays a key role in how and what I design. After taking a holiday in Turkey last July it was a natural evolution for spring summer 17 to be inspired by my trip away. Turkey is a very mesmerising country not just because of all the usual bright colours and culture, but also it has these incredible natural rock and geo-thermal formations that are completely unusual and are quite commanding when you are standing in front of them.
What’s a typical day at the Búl office like?
Well there is always music playing which keeps the studio happy and light to work in and be apart of. We spend our days shifting from many tasks; sometimes it is just as straight forward as answering emails, liaising with factories, measuring samples, going to meetings or writing up tech packs. It is always varied each day so it helps to keep things interesting and each day exciting.
How would you describe your personal style?
A lot of people always say my style is effortless. But really it is driven by both comfort and sophistication. I am always on the go and always need to think about both being comfortable but still keeping my look elevated for work or events. So I my style is a careful balance of relaxed-sophistication it’s all about pairing a crisp white collared shirt with a tailored track pant and knitted sweater. This is a great for go-to everyday style and I am almost always in my sneakers so it goes well with those too.
What are 5 essentials in your wardrobe?
My Bakari sneakers in both white and black & white
A great winter coat
A white collared shirt
A comfy knit
My leather backpack – it’s a great everyday piece and holds everything I need.
What is the best place to shop in Melbourne?
I love to head into the city when I am shopping. It has everything you need in one spot and there are so many hidden gems with the all the lane-ways. You are always bound to find the perfect piece.
Tell us about some of the people who inspire you and why?
My stepdad, he has always been my biggest supporter and through watching how he has created his business and developed his brand from nothing to a globally recognised company. It has always been a huge inspiration and goal to create my own label. It is has become a really important aspect of our relationship, and it is great knowing that I have that support and encouragement.
If you could design a product for anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you design? or… What would be your ideal collaboration?
If I could design for anyone or collaborate with anyone in particular it would be a furniture company. I have always wanted to create a chair or great piece for someone’s home. So I think that would be a great goal for the future.
What are the top 3 resources, which you turn to for inspiration?
Travel, nature & culture.
What is next for the label? Where do you see the brand going in the future?
Next we would really like to focus on expanding into overseas markets. We just opened two new Australian stores so it would be great to start focusing on growing our brand footprint out side of Australia.