Recently we were lucky enough to be invited to catch up with Bayvick Lawrence, the designer behind Bayvick Designs, in his brand new shop in Sydney’s west. We were inspired by what he had to say, from his humble beginnings in Fiji to his dream for the future of his brand.
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
It wasn’t something that I chose; it was something that I came across along my way. I grew up in Fiji and was inspired by the Pacific and the way I saw life. I was always drawing which led to designing, and then I started looking for a break through – a place to showcase my designs.
When I was 16 and in high school, the Agriculture Fashion Show came along and I started from there… Being 16 and knowing I’d be competing with established designers in Fiji – it was a huge challenge.
During my high school years I lived alone (from year 9 to year 13) and so I called my Mum, saying, “Mum I want to do this fashion show, but I have no money!” and she said “oh, don’t waste your time… that will not take you anywhere” and I thought… “Okay… but I still have to try”.
I went ahead anyway and I drew my garments, then I took my sketches with me to the judges… and they accepted my sketches! When the night of the show finally came I thought, “This is it.”
So there were three categories, and I won two of those categories, and was first runner up in the third. I won the fabric print category, the recycle category and was the first runner up for the organic category.
I competed with designers like Robert Kennedy, Aisea Konrote, Michael Mausio, Anton Conway – all these big designers in Fiji, so at 16 – it was such a huge challenge (and achievement) for me. I was so happy.
From there I kept on going, and it came to a point where I wanted to quit, because I came to know that it was such an expensive field to work in. I couldn’t afford my tailor at times, I couldn’t do printing and the material wasn’t good in Fiji at the time.
Also, there was nothing education based in Fiji for fashion and so it was really hard. That means I’m self-taught which has brought me this far, and along with that it was the people around me, encouraging me that kept me going, saying, “you’ll never know what heights you’ll reach”.
What motivates you to keep going?
I never dreamt that I’d be here, starting my business in Sydney. I always thought I’d be doing something in Fiji – I wanted to open a shop and my siblings were going to help me with that.
I’ll keep on going and I’ll continue to push myself because I have a bucket list, and fashion is just one thing on that list. There are many things that I really want to do and there are other things that I want to get going and doing so hopefully I’m successful enough in this field.
What does the future hold for you and for Bayvick Designs?
The future holds a lot of things for me. I have short-term goals and long-term goals – ‘cause you can’t just dream without any goals at all.
My major thing right now is getting an education within the fashion industry, which I’m doing at Whitehouse Institute of Design in Surry Hills. My plan for the future is to have shops everywhere and to see Bayvick Designs everywhere.
What I’d like to do is to get our cultural things out to the world, showing our background, showing what we are made of. I’m not inspired by Paris – I am by the couture but not so much by their prints. My prints are all originally made, and I’m inspired by the way we live – because I’ve lived in the islands and I know the hardships. My fashion is all about paying a tribute to our people.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs or anyone who would like to follow the same path you’re going down?
Never give up, always keep going, push yourself – for example, when I work on new projects, I always challenge myself. Sometimes I amaze myself with the things that I do. At times I couldn’t visualise how far my ability could take me – I pushed myself and didn’t think of what I would end up with.
So you never know when your capability can become your ability, and your ability can turn into your talent. Take every opportunity that comes your way and never stop believing in yourself. There will be people who will put you down – it’s a stigma that people might have towards you. But the more confident you are in your work, the more it’ll show in what you produce.
Being confident, working hard and believing in yourself are some of things you can do to become successful.