FREY. is a clothing brand that offers comfortable, timeless wardrobe pieces for women with dynamic lifestyles. Their focus on high-quality, exquisite fabrics and sharp tailoring pays homage to quintessential styles that will always be fashionable. The brand’s ready-to-wear and customizable collections feature versatile, feminine styles with playful details that cater to every mood and schedule.
In their effort to transform the industry, FREY. feels a strong sense of responsibility to prioritize sustainability in everything they do. Their commitment to conducting business responsibly and making a positive impact is reflected in their gradual journey towards becoming a completely sustainable brand.
Hi Frederieke and Yulia! Could you tell us more about how you started in fashion, and what inspired you to start your own fashion brand?
Frey: I grew up loving fashion. As a child I would put on fashion shows for my parents and their friends. I then studied fashion in the Netherlands and have been in the industry ever since. I spent 12 years living and working in China, and have been in Hong Kong for the last 3 years. It was always a dream of mine to have my own store. After spending many years working in men’s tailoring, I quickly realised that women simply did not have the same high-quality formal wear options available to them. When moving to Hong Kong from China, I did my research and asked many women where they shop for work wear or formal tailored pieces and there was no clear answer. There are so many women, who are required to dress formally in their place of work, however, there have been very limited choices available. We wear our work clothes sometimes 70 hours per week, that is why it is so important to me that women feel comfortable and confident in their formal wear, rather than feeling bored and restricted in stiff pieces that don’t last long. I decided to create a female brand that answers to the needs and wants of women’s tailoring. A brand that provided women with clothing that feels comfortable to wear every day of the week. The garments are also stylish and flattering so a woman can go from the office out to an after-work dinner., or style a piece up for a weekend event with friends.
Yulia: I come from a family of artists and seamstresses. At the age of 14 I made my own uniform for school, and at 17 I started to work in retail where I fell in love with fabrics and luxury. I am a Masters’s graduate from the Royal College of Art, London, specialising in fashion design, womenswear. Throughout my education, both BA and MA, I have developed a strong fascination with fashion aesthetics and creative draping/ pattern making, where concept and vision come as one through shape. My (back then conceptual) graduate collections were shot by Nick Night for Show Studios for London Fashion Week, Vogue Japan and Italy. My work was published in ‘Fast Forward Fashion’ designer’s book, NY. I had a fantastic opportunity to become a finalist in a few design competitions, such as Swarovski & Sophie Hallette Lace, as well as International Flavors & Fragrances. I worked directly with creative directors on some of the most exciting visions and realized collections and special projects for creative heads like Gareth Pugh, Roksanda, as well as a Hussain Chalayan. My diverse career has led me to teach in some of the renowned fashion schools in Hong Kong, such as SCAD and Raffles, which allowed me to develop a further appreciation for design and craftsmanship. When I met Frederieke and she shared her very special project, FREY., I fell in love with the idea and concept of empowering women through clothing. It’s a great pleasure to be part of this journey, to help build FREY. as a brand and inspire women around the world. The rest is history.
What is the inspiration behind the name, FREY.?
Frey: My full name is Frederieke and when I lived in China nobody could pronounce this difficult name so they shortened it, but it sounded more like Fley. So when I had to think of a name for the brand I wanted it to be personal because it is a very personal mission where I wanted women to feel connected and comfortable, so I took the shorter version of my name: Frey.
Who is your role model in the fashion industry and how are they influencing your work with FREY.?
Frey: I don’t have a specific role model, I get inspired by a lot of people. I lived in China for 12 years and have drawn a lof of my inspiration from the people I met and worked with on this journey. The Chinese culture is fascinating. I love the approach to life – always live in the moment and know that tomorrow will be better. Draw happiness from the simple things in life – that inspires me.
Yulia: I am highly inspired by strong women, from Anita Mui to Tilda Swinton and Daphne Guinness. I love absorbing everything around me, from strangers in the street to art, music, pop stars, and of course, nature. I truly believe the right colours have the power to enhance a woman’s natural beauty and I often turn to nature to inspire collections. The African Tulip tree and the exotic beauty of the bright red poppy flowers have inspired the recent summer collection.
Give us a sneak peek into your typical design process as you start a new collection!
Yulia: I usually start with research, if you have good research you are halfway there. All design elements such as concept, colour, texture, shape/ form, and design I try to withdraw from the research to stay authentic, so it’s a very important initial stage. Simultaneously I’ll be sourcing materials and fabrics, and work on overall concept and design development. I spend time looking into line, silhouette, and texture. The development stage is then follwoed by sampling and its evaluation – fit to purpose/design, fittings, balance, construction and execution until I’m satisfied with the garment on its own as well as part of a cohesive collection.
FREY. has managed to hit a gap in women’s fashion by creating a flattering yet comfortable staple power wear. What’s your next move for FREY.?
Frey: We have recently opened up our second store in Hong Kong in K11 Musea. This is really exciting for us as a brand. We are also focusing our attention on Singapore, the US and Australia market. We also hope to open in Shanghai in the future. We do ship worldwide, so are able to provide women with our clothing in most countries.
If you could describe the aesthetic of FREY.’s pieces with 3 adjectives, what would they be?
Frey: Flattering, comfortable, timeless
What is one piece in your collections that you hold closest to your heart? Is there a story behind it?
Frey: The jacket. At FREY., we pride ourselves on our jackets. Construction plays a huge part in the creation process. The jackets incorporate an element of traditional tailoring with canvas lining. This construction allows the jacket to shape perfectly to a woman’s body. The combination of carefully selected sustainable materials and exceptional craftsmanship results in a tailored jacket that can be enjoyed for many years.
We’re proud to partner with FREY. through our Sustainability Alliance. What does sustainability mean to you and your brand?
Frey: Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do from sustainable designs, to materials, packaging and the partners we choose to work with. We take our contribution to transforming the global fashion industry very seriously. FREY is all about designing and creating high-quality pieces that will be long-lasting essentials that can be worn season after season. FREY. utilizes a combination of repurposed fabric, natural and semi-natural materials, buttons repurposed from shells and nuts, and deadstock to create our pieces. Our deadstock fabrics such as the pure wool, cotton, silk, linen, and cashmere, come from the most reputable Italian mills.
Yulia: Apart from sourcing sustainable fabrics and delivering in eco-packaging, when designing I ensure every piece is designed sustainably. What does this mean? A sustainable design is a piece that can be mixed and matched with many other items in your wardrobe. It is timeless and can be worn season after season. A lot of the pieces can also be styled up or down, and worn day or night. We are passionate about educating women on building a capsule wardrobe rather than throwing away clothing every season that ends up in landfills and destroying our planet.
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