Billabong head designer Fleur Boys epitomises the bohemian beach lifestyle celebrated by the beloved Australian surf brand. We caught up with the Burleigh Heads-based designer to talk creativity, perfect fits and love rocks.
What does a typical day like for you?
Typically, they are pretty crazy. I work on up to four ranges at the same time at various stages of development so I can be coming up with the next creative direction or concepting with our team of designers, or shooting our latest ranges, or even releasing the range to our reps and retailers. Quite often all in the same week. I often have to stop and ask in meetings ‘hang on which season is this?’
Tell us something you do in your role that people might not know is a part of your day-to-day?
It’s probably the science behind the design, specifically the swimwear. We look at our range of fits, prints, prices and everything else in so many different ways with our sales team and buyers; it’s quite impressive the thought that goes into building the range. Plus we spend a heap of time looking at boobs and bums and perfecting those details.
How did you get to head up the design department at Billabong?
I have been working in this industry for over twenty years, my first job was on weekends in a surf shop.
I stayed in retail as I studied graphic design and then started as a rep for another surf company before being given the chance to [move into] design.
We heard you used to study geology – are there any learnings that you carry into your current job?
I don’t think I ever got to expertise level in Geology, but I still have a huge love of crystals and ‘love rocks’ as I call them. I quite often take them to meetings to spread the love and keep the peace so to speak. So if there is anything I have brought with me from my studies, it’s probably quite literal – the rocks.
Billabong has such a strong identity; how do you navigate new trends while staying true to the brand?
I think that the surf lifestyle transcends certain trends, the overall relaxed feel of life on or by the beach makes it easy for us to see where we should be heading. We design for a lifestyle, we know our customer. It’s easy to adapt trends to fit and stay true to that. People, including myself, have grown up with the brand; they have a certain expectation and come back to us for our beach bohemian aesthetic.
What’s your proudest moment of creating a collection?
Definitely seeing it worn on the street, I have been known to stop the car and take a cheeky photo in my early days as a designer. A great sample is an accomplishment for sure and seeing a design come to fruition after so much work is rewarding, but there is something that makes you so proud to see that someone has gone and spent money on something you have helped create, that hopefully they love and needed to have. You just can’t beat that.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that I get to create stuff. I love being able to work with colour and print, and am amazed that every day I can still get inspired and tingly from it…. It’s a good feeling to get from your work.