If you haven’t heard of BY FAR, chances are you’ve already spotted it on your Instagram feed. In four short years since its inception, the Bulgarian accessory label has made its way into the closets of cool fashion girls, earning a cult following with its sought-after array of quirky bags and shoes that nod to to ’90s minimalism—think: low-heeled mules and lace-up sandals, mini caryalls and shoulder bags.
Founded by a female trio—twins Valentina Bezuhanova and Sabina Gyosheva, together with their best friend and sister-in-law Denitsa Bumbarova—BY FAR was dreamed up when they couldn’t find shoes they loved: vintage, versatile styles with a contemporary aesthetic at an affordable price point. The brand subsequently expanded to offer carryalls that mirror the same sensibilities.
With increased sentiments on the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry, the brand has worked with Vestiaire Collective on a circular fashion collaboration, Future Collectibles, that “places importance on reducing wasteful consumption, and embraces circularity.”
Future Collectibles comprises an upcycling edit which sees 6 new bags handcrafted by BY FAR’s design team, using deadstock fabrics from the brand’s factory and pre-loved pieces from Vestiaire Collective’s community, as well as an archive sale showcasing the label’s most coveted and rare pieces, each with a backstory.
We chatted with the BY FAR founders, who tell us more their partnership with Vestiaire Collective, why circularity is important, what inspires them, and more.
How did this collaboration with Vestiaire Collective come about? What do you hope to achieve with this partnership?
At BY FAR, all our pieces are designed with quality and longevity in mind; we believe a circular approach to fashion lies at the heart of achieving a more sustainable future for all! When the Vestiaire Collective team approached us with the idea of this circular collaboration, we embraced it immediately.
When you buy into this collaboration, you are fighting back against fashion over-consumption, reducing your negative impact on the environment by up to 91%, and refreshing your style. There’s actually an even better cause—all proceeds of your purchase will go to Women for Women International, supporting women survivors of war to help rebuild their lives! And last but not least, we hope we will lead by example and continue to see the change towards a more sustainable fashion future.
Tell us more about the upcycling edit and the processes involved. What inspired the rose patchwork design?
Our design team created six upcycle Mini Rachel bags, made entirely out of pre-loved BY FAR bags bought from the Vestiaire Collective website, as well as our old stock of damaged products. The fact that each material is unique, with a story and soul, makes the whole process of creating upcycled pieces so inspiring to us. You have to put in a lot of creativity and be really precise as well, to reduce waste and limit the use of natural resources. But in the end, it’s so satisfying to see how something that no one wants any more can be transformed into a desirable one-of-a-kind piece.
Being a Bulgarian brand, the idea of the rose patchwork came absolutely naturally. As you might know, Bulgaria is famous for its rose-growing industry and has been closely related to the beautiful flower for centuries. In the end, it turned out so beautifully—we are crazy in love with every piece.
The archival sale comprises some rare, limited edition By Far pieces that originate from your own closets. What is one quintessential By Far item out of this edit, and why is that?
Each piece from the archive collection is selected as an integral part of our history and they are all collector’s pieces. There’s a pair of Niki boots from the first set of boots we ever did back in 2016, and it was a piece we custom-made several times for Michelle Obama, even after the style was discontinued. There’s also the first pair of mules Elsa Hosk picked, making her our very own BY FAR girl. Not to mention the shoes we designed for Valentina’s garden wedding, which was the moment we decided to launch our accessories brand.
But if we had to pick one item, it should be our signature style—the Rachel baguette spotted on just about every It-girl including Bella, Kendall, Kylie and Kaia. It is available in five different versions including the very first Rachel bag in Nutella croco embossed leather which remains one of our best-selling styles today.
By Far has been spotted on the likes of the Hadid sisters, Kendall Jenner, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and more. How would you describe the By Far woman?
The BY FAR woman stands out from the crowd—redefining the phrase ‘socially distanced’ with her endless passion for experiencing life. The BY FAR tribe is represented by the coolest and cutest international fashion It girls, that are curious about the now, but feel romantic and nostalgic about the past.
It’s very surreal to see all those phenomenal women truly loving their BY FAR pieces and carrying them day-in and day-out, even though these girls have all the options in the world! We’re really blessed to have the Jenner and Hadid sisters, Priyanka Chopra, Irina Shayk wear their BY FAR bag religiously!
What is it about the ‘90s and early 2000s that you love? What else inspires you?
We grew up in the 90’s and 00’s and this is always the era that we go back for inspiration. Nostalgia, but in a cool and fresh way, is in the DNA of BY FAR. We’re binge-watching iconic TV series constantly, which is how the Rachel bag was born (inspired by FRIENDS). There was something very authentic, empowering and emotional about fashion and we truly want to bring these feelings back. We’re constantly re-watching music videos and old advertisements. And we’re in love with how creativity was flowing in everything but in a very subtle and relatable way.
What do you consider when designing and creating your shoes and bags? How do ethical practices come into play?
We founded BY FAR, because we felt like the industry needed accessories that are desirable, yet not overpowering, without sacrificing quality and we still think there’s a niche to explore in that direction. We always take a step back to consider how you want to feel with it and wear it. The sweet spot is where coolness and comfort meet, it’s where the magic of BY FAR happens!
Our brand has a history working with deadstock leather, it’s how the first collections were started back in 2016. Although that’s no longer the case, we still try to integrate it whenever possible, like in our collaboration with Vestiaire Collective. It was so exciting and inspiring to turn fashion’s ‘waste’ back into something beautiful and desirable.
Why is sustainability + circularity important to By Far?
Sustainability has always been of huge importance to BY FAR; it has never been a question of rather we should do it or not. We are continually reviewing our supply chain and manufacturing processes to implement environmentally and socially responsible practices in all aspects of the business. We are also optimising our website to make all the information and production and design processes easily available for the customers, as transparency and honesty are really key for us.
Why do you think more people are turning to sustainable fashion?
The world can no longer continue with the old ways of thinking in the short term, and fashion-forward people are slowly starting to realise it. We think that some are turning to sustainable brands because it’s trendy right now, and others really believe in sustainability. No matter the case, the most important thing is that the message is spreading, and the change is in the air.
What is your top sustainable fashion tip?
Our greatest advice is ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’ and always do the ‘cost per wear’ math. Instead of buying clothes based on impulses and trends, spend money on timeless pieces with a contemporary twist that you will cherish, love, and wear for many seasons.
What’s next for By Far?
We’ve prepared so many surprises, including the introduction of new product categories and much bigger ones, but you’ll have to wait and see. Stay tuned!
The full ‘Future Collectibles’ edit is available till November 23, 2020 on the Vestiaire Collective app and online. All proceeds will go to Women for Women International, a charity helping marginalised women in countries affected by war and conflict to rebuild their lives.
Photos courtesy of BY FAR and Vestiaire Collective.