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FAKBYFAK - Eyes wide shut

FAKBYFAK - Eyes wide shut

FAKBYBAK’s eyewear tells a story, a story that you might have never heard, out of space and time. Their initially naïve approach to the eyewear fashion industry, turned out to be their biggest strength, since the start in 2013 with the FAKOSHIMA project.
Instantly impacting the market, since then FAKBYFAK has been recognized as trend-setters and compared to the revolutionary Alain Mikli, Mykita and Linda Farrow.

The Hugues has met Alex Melnikov co-Founder & CEO of FAKBYFAK and he has shared with us some pictures of their latest collaboration with Walter van Beirendonck.

H. The FAKBAK style is provocative and unpredictable. How did this project start?

It all started with a pretty basic idea and a strong desire to break away from the realm of fantasies create something tangible. In other words there was a little spark that got transformed into a fire. Then I felt the need to share this fire with others and watch my ideas come to life developing new connections. It felt like there were these invisible threads that linked everyone who came close. That was the start and the glasses were simply an instrument to implement the ideas and bring them to the world.
Despite the initial success of our first project, it was clear that we have got to expand further and reinvent the brand over again to stay on the edge and maintain the idea of unexpected. We have broken away from the sterile futuristic stylization and the vision of a single designer. When you take the achievements and your `exceptional` talent too serious - you lose. We built the international team of designers from France, UK and Russia. This way we managed to bring diversity to our ideas and go beyond our own limitations. We realized that the old name does not offer enough space for our visions. It was time to move on.

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H. Tell us out about your most recent collaborations!

In 2016 we presented overwhelming collaboration projects with fashion designer Manish Arora and avant-garde Belgian designer Walter van Beirendonck. It was risky, challenging, almost torturing sometimes but valuable experience. However, beautiful, exciting and inspiring. We are truly grateful to have this opportunity, which I can tell about for hours or even days. Initially, we have received a quite large amount of offers, but finally I managed two of them with Manish and Walter. The level of responsibility in this cooperation was extremely high, but we hit this bar. We have become the first Russian eyewear brand to make such a break through in terms of ideas, concepts developing, production and marketing. Nowadays FAKBYFAK is the first Russian brand of conceptual sunglasses and optical eyewear that truly became an event in the world of fashion.
At this time our motivation is to create more than a brand but a movement or even a subculture. This year 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, took place 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.Finally about the brand name. FAKBYFAK is amusing slandering of ridiculous collaborations' branding just for a namesake. We entirely share the idea that an incredible story realised in the product, and the vibe around it, should always be the forefront of a company, before overindulged branding or marketing tricks just for a namesake.

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H. Your project is one of the most interesting in the eyewear industry. Where does your inspiration come from?

The inspiration comes with the excitement, which can arise during the night I spend one on one with my thoughts or any little thing that turns the chain of events and makes me come up with an idea that can later evolve into the key design for a new collection. I cherish the spontaneous inspiration. I always follow it through and bring others on board.
From the very beginning we eager to represent vivid visual stories, create new aesthetic codes and meanings - everything that makes the product special, establishes a relationship with the owner. We want to embrace people's desire to be visual, to buy a design, not a logo.
t’s important for us to create objects that excite imagination. FAKBYFAK design’ interplays with the classics, yet it sets a new direction.

H. Tell us about the most iconic item of your collection.

I am not used to this trend of thought. When you draw the line you also set a limit. It is too early to make conclusions. But I can draw this line in terms of our previous project, the BARDO UPDATE frame with a triangle shape element on the frame was truly iconic item. The idea of opening the third eye was it the heart of this concept, a metamorphosis and the birth of the new human. We have put all our hopes, energy, time and investments into this shape. This frame was our starting point.
While everyone thought it is absolutely mad to start the business with this kind of design, we carried on. Taking advises was the last thing I wanted to do at that moment and in fact it’s still so.
About a year later we had our first break through. In February 2015 Anna Dello Russo (Vogue Japan) selected sunglasses from the BARDO UPDATE collection for a «Techno Brigade» fashion shoot with the famous Korean super-model Soo Joo Park. However, the most important moment for this frame happened when our paths crossed with british singer and performer Roisin Murphy (ex. Moloko). Lately this and many other designs from our collections became the key accessory in her scenic images during the world tours «Hairless Toys» & “Take her up to Monto”.

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H. How important is too choose the right pair of glasses and what are the tricks?

It is highly important. Perhaps, that is the reason I still haven’t found mine one. For someone it’s an every day accessory, a part of their image, a necessity. I don’t consider glasses in any of these ways. I personally regard the frame as an object and prefer to see the world with no filters. When choosing your glasses all that matters is whether they are comfortable or not. The rest is a matter of taste and season.

H. Materials, quality and design. What else makes a perfect pair of glasses?

There has to be a story, a legend, a deep inspiration behind. During this year’s brand re-launch I came up with these lines for the small booklet that goes with each pair:  “You sample not just the glasses, but our thoughts, aspirations, breathtaking dreams and fantasies”. It is so indeed. It is many sleepless nights that I spend thinking, contemplating, and doubting my own decisions. I watch the raindrops on my window blurring the city lights while listening to music or observe the reflections on the wet pavement disappear under the car wheels in search for a solution or start over. I dance like crazy at my place till I reach a state of unbridled ecstasy and finally break away from the ordinary perception of things to find the extraordinary.

H. Who would you like see wearing your glasses?

I’ll answer briefly - people I love. Right now that is something I’m not going to go into, however, let me say that among them my family members and our FBF family first of all. People who sincerely share our ideas and support by working around the clock with us on making the challenging dreams come true. The rebel Tuscanian princess Elena Lenzi and THE BRO - Emi, bearded Milano Prometheus – Tomasso de Simone, Barbarissima, lord of Italian South – Demetrio Caputo, her Canadian majesty on the wheels – Heather Reilly, handmade frames genius and our God Father at some point – Fabio Stramare, our first and number one French PR – Kuki de Salvertes, Russian photographers Kati Turkina and Dmitry Zhuravlev – who did numerous of fantastically eye catching shoots for us, and our first and the last permanent model Elena Sudak - her endlessly memorable, iconic images are beloved and still touch deeply. Some of them are not on the board but still in my thoughts.

H. The corner (bar or restaurant) of your city you like most, your favorite holiday destination, the book that everyone must read. 

I travel really a lot developing the brand and presenting it on the markets. But I vitally need this weird energy of Moscow. This place disrupts my calm and make my heart beat faster. I feel an exposed nerve here and a fierce desire to do incredible, reckless things. For me it’s the ideal place for working or to be exact for foolish inspirations. Holidays it’s about mountains and tectonic plates of Iceland. Also Italy is a very special place for just being there – Tuscany is my place, for sure. Before starting to invest into our first project I was looking for a property to buy there, but then drained everything to what we have now. It’s kind of a mystery, but now our strongest market is Italy and invisible threads, I was talking about at the beginning, are linked with this place the most.
If I have to choose one story of many - it has to be the novel by John Fowles - The Magus.

All pictures are courtesy of FAKBYFAK
To find more about FAKBYFAK world, visit www.fakbyfak.com

Melanie, over the rainbow

Melanie, over the rainbow

Patrick, Zurich

Patrick, Zurich