5 Minutes With Creative Director Bike Bayer
May 21, 2021
Introduction & Interview by Caroline Skou
I opened my closet this morning, and was overwhelmed by 2019 trends and the daunting experience of spending hours in dressing rooms. 2020 paused my shopping addiction, while my personal aversion to online shopping was maintained. But now with post-pandemic fashion flooding the street & my instagram feed, I have a renewed desire to expand my wardrobe -- but with a new sustainable point of view this time around.
I’m not the only one who turned to a more sustainable point of view during my time inside. For this installment of The Class of Now series, I talked to Bike Bayer, a Brooklyn-based creative, has cultivated a sustainable accessory brand, about how the pandemic has forced her to pause her process and reevaluate her sustainability methods, ultimately allowing her brand to become more personal in a time of separation.
Could you describe what 324 New York is?
324 New York is a A seasonless collection of handmade-to-order handbags. It was launched with the goal of creating bags that work with and enhance a capsule wardrobe, have longevity and will, hopefully, be borrowed by someone else’s daughter years later.
You moved from Turkey to the United states for school at Pratt in NYC. What led you to make this decision? What was the transition like?
I’ve always been very interested in art and design - both my mother and my grandfather are architects. They definitely hoped I would carry on the legacy, but I never got into that too much. I can't draw at all.
I was interested in photography and film though when I came across the communication and design program at Pratt. It combined a bunch of different practices, so it would be a good starting point so that I wouldn't box yourself into one thing. The transition itself was relatively easy. I’m from Istanbul, so I’m used to the chaos and the speed and the scale of the city. I jumped right into things.
This allowed me to form a deeper relationship with the consumer while eliminating waste making my company much more sustainable, in the sense of a more thoughtful production.
A lot of people in fashion have been calling this past fashion season, the lost season due to Covid. How has Covid affected your 324 New York?
Prior to Covid, I was following a standard model: show at marketing week after fashion week, do shipping, and make a new collection at the same time. I was doing this 2 to 4 times a year. Covid destroyed this calendar; people decided not to show because they couldn't produce, and the factory I work closely with in Turkey closed. So, I took a pause to figure out what to do; I completely abandoned social media, and took a minute to think of where the company is going to go.
It was around June that I came up with the plan to stop producing on a traditional calendar. Instead I would make an order and only produce what is ordered directly by customers. This allowed me to form a deeper relationship with the consumer while eliminating waste making my company much more sustainable, in the sense of a more thoughtful production.
How has your time at university influenced you and your career in the long run?
It was the classes I didn't want to take that gave me the most personal growth. At the time all the foundational classes - color theory, drawing, etc - pushed me into situations that I wasn't the best at, and forced me to figure it out and learn. I would also say that I learn more from doing rather than being told. Pratt’s professors were great, they came from the field, and brought their day to day into class. It wasn't just textbook, instead I would be working from real experiences and real projects.
People fall into the trap of thinking they don't have resources to create, when in reality you can create with very little.
Do you have any advice for students in trying to work in this creative world?
Reach out to people you admire, a cold email can go really far. Even connecting with people you like on social media is a more personal way of getting a hold of someone. But most importantly, keep creating. Even if it's something very small. Even if something doesn't work the way you wanted it to work. A lot of learning comes from finishing your work. People fall into the trap of thinking they don't have resources to create, when in reality you can create with very little.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to or excited for?
I’m excited to finally go home to Turkey. I was supposed to go back in March, but had to keep pushing it back until I felt more comfortable going. I’m still nervous about the plane, but really want to go. I’m very excited to go home and see family, and have a change of scenery.
Thanks Bike for taking the time to interview! Check out 324 New York here!
And don't forget to shop The MMXXI Collection!