If you come across a woman wearing Binny, you are instantly struck by how effortlessly gorgeous she looks, equal parts comfortable and on trend.
She’s in clothes that could take her from work to the bar or from the school run to a dinner date, with just the smallest change in accessories.
It’s for this reason that the brand has developed a cult following that doesn’t waver, season to season.
I had a lovely chat with the brains behind Binny, Belinda Watson, a little while ago and I wanted to share it with you!
We chatted about lots of things - I hope you enjoy xx
My Friend Alice: You’ve mentioned before that your seasonal collections create a tale. What kind of tale is that and what does it say about the brand?
Belinda Watson: The underlying tale each season is always a little story about something I really like - this can be anything about life between the city, the country and the coast.
MFA: Where does inspiration for Binny's collections come from?
BW: My parents breed racehorses and I spend as much time as I can at the farm with my phone out of range, wearing ancient R.Ms and Dad’s old jumpers - if you look closely there is always a horse snuck into each range somehow. I have spent equal time in Sydney, Melbourne and South Australia over my adult life, so I feel at home in all. I have a Brazilian partner and we go back most years.
All of the above is reflected in my designs. Colour and print from Brazil, classic preppy from the farm, clean Melbourne chic and Sydney sexiness. This all sounds at odds at each other but somehow it works well!
MFA: You seem to have developed a cult following. Can you describe the 'Binny' woman?
BW: She has a love for print and unique design in all corners of her life. She secretly spends too much time online shopping! She is into health and enjoys her green smoothies as much as French champagne. She likes to mix a bit of Binny and other unique Australian designers with a bit of High Street and some luxury accessories thrown in to amp it up.
MFA: What is special about your brand, what differentiates it from other brands?
BW: My range always looks quite different as it isn’t designed specifically from the catwalk trend reports, as much as I do love spending hours looking at all of them. I really enjoy developing a theme that’s personal to me and then finding unique prints that reflect this.
I am particular about who stocks the brand and there are never recuts or large volume, so Binny retains its name as a brand that’s a little hard to find, but worth the hunt.
MFA: Your designs were included in the wardrobe of the TV program, Offspring. Was it a good feeling to have your brand exhibited on such a scale?
BW: It was amazing and the cult followers of the Nina maxi skirts continues through to this day! I developed a wonderful relationship with the stylists from the show, Michael and Zed. They really went out of their way to support small designers. That was incredible exposure for me and I will be eternally grateful. I loved the show as much as I loved them and they nailed the brief so well with how all the characters dressed. I keep hoping it will come back and we can do it all again!
MFA: Have you got any tips for styling Binny outfits?
BW: Don’t be afraid to mix fabrics and prints, but remember to keep the same tones and colours so it doesn’t get too busy. Each year also invest in one seriously cool pair of heels, sneakers, and some fun blingy jewels. Then you can style it all up or down no matter what time of day and you really get mileage from all of your purchases.
MFA: If you could see anyone in the world wearing your designs, who would it be and why?
BW: Elle Macpherson - I have always loved her sexy, boho but polished Australian beach style and Sarah Jessica Parker who is the master of the print clash and the unexpected. I really love that.
MFA: What does the average day in the Binny office look like? (this interview was before Binny had a little bub, so we can imagine that things have changed a little hehe)
BW: We have a puppy. The best sort of alarm clock! Then tea and toast while editing emails & skim read social media. I try to do a big beach walk along the cliffs most mornings and use this time to catch up on phone calls.
Once back in the office answering all priority emails, after lunch can be anything from researching a new collection, marketing planning, accounts, fittings or production approvals. Of course most days this excellent daily plan can get lost in hours of reading random things online and playing with the puppy!
Check out Binny's new season here: Binny at My Friend Alice