I've been a fan of Be&D for a while now, and they've been featured on SheBreathes before. So, it's my pleasure to add them to the DreamCatcher Series, as I find their collection of beautifully made handbags, shoes, and accessories lust worthy. While, I'm a bit late with adding this interview, I hope you enjoy getting to know the creative souls behind this awesome brand. So without further ado, I present the designers behind Be&D, Be and Steve.
L: Steve Dumain, R: Be Inthavong.
Be and Steve, could
you please tell us a little about your background?
Be: I was born
in Laos. Then I moved to the States with my family and grew up in Dallas/Fort
Worth area of Texas. Now, I am currently living in New York City.
Steve: I grew up on a horse farm about 2 hours outside of NYC. Spent the majority of my childhood in the woods alone of with friends or just hugging some trees. I was drawing from the time I was 3 and was very good at portraits for years, and later transformed that into sculpture. Although I lived in the country, I had a natural affinity for NYC even though it scared me to death — because when I visited in the 80's as a kid, we would see some seriously scary things in Times Square. That's all gone now, but if you're really quiet, you can still hear this memory of New York hidden inside what now seems like a Disney version of New York.
Since there are two of you, what is your design process?
Be: Our design process is always evolving. We’ve done everything from mood boards, to reviewing our business on what’s selling, to just simply being inspired by the material and each other.
Steve: It depends on our mood. Sometimes Be comes to me with an idea and I expand on it or sometimes I begin the process and he helps me finish it. Even though we often find it difficult to agree in the early stages, we always agree on the end result, which is when our whole team knows we've hit something people will respond to.
You're relaunching the "Garbo" bag, which is one of your signature bags, how does it feel to have so many clamor for something you've created?
Steve: It's been constantly exciting to see something we make cause so much excitement in women’s eyes. The craziest thing for us was to watch, was how much that design affected what was happening in fashion with hardware, and the look we started at a time when hardware had recently been evacuated from the business. It was like a computer virus for fashion. I'll never forget almost every day of our first 2 years of business as long as I live — and I'm pretty forgetful.
What inspires you both?
Be: Being alive and being able to do something that I love. And of course my environment and dream inspires me too.
Steve: Live music.
The women we love. My friends, great art, and my friends who make great art.
The mountains, ocean, all beings in nature, an amazing meal, and people
doing what they believe in — what is good not just for themselves
but for others.
Do you have any favourite designers?
Steve: Right now
Be and I are huge fans of our good friend Doo.Ri. We just did a collaboration
together of special handbags and belts for her A/W 09 show. I've also
always had great respect for a jewelry designer by the name of JAR — Joel Arthur Rosenthal. We met him in Paris on one of our first business
trips there about 4 years ago. The first time he brought me into his
studio to see his many masterpiece works, I honestly felt like I was
watching an opera just looking at what he made. He is originally from
the Bronx and moved to Paris at a very young age.
Be: As Steve mentioned, I’m really moved by Doo.Ri’s work. I also love the beautiful fantasy of John Galliano.
What is your advice for those who wish to become luxury handbag/shoe designers?
Be: Just focus on making special things that you believe in and never ever loose the detail of that.
Steve: Hold tight and follow your dreams with great strength.
What can we expect
from Be & D in the future?
Steve: More draping, pinching, tucking, and showing leathers that we love. There should be a flagship store in the near future — when all the stars align.
Be: I’m very open to what the future holds. Perhaps travel bags
Besides your beautiful handbags and shoes, what else are you passionate about?
Be: I am passionate about my native country Laos, and I am passionate about staying true to myself.
Steve: My best friend! A great artist named Joséphine Faure. I enjoy reading — I’m into a Murakami book right now. Live music, I saw Helloïse and the Savoir Faire 2 weeks ago, and traveling. Because of work, I'm spoiled and get to do a lot of it, even if it's tiring. I'm off to Paris for fashion week in a few days, and need to get to Spain and Italy soon. I miss them a lot and all the great food!
What's your definition of a "Dream Catcher"?
Be: My definition of a dream catcher is someone who realizes anything is possible.
Steve: People’s eyes when they see and feel something beautiful, it's as if they are seeing the world for the first time. There's almost a layer of shiny liquid over them that seems like they are crying.
I really enjoyed this interview with Be and Steve, and I thank them and their awesome PR person! Below is a glimpse into their A/W 09 collection, and it has me drooling!
Please visit Be & D for more information on their stockist, and to see more from all their collections.