With friendly charisma and warm approachability, multi-talented fashion designer Tony Becaud now uses his background in the industry to promote upcoming designers and fashion companies to everyone he meets.
I wrote an article a while ago now on my first Fashion Week after-party experience, and I mentioned at the end of the article that I enjoyed a night-bus journey home with the company of a designer. The man in question is Tony Becaud.
I escaped London’s Christmas chaos by meeting up with Tony over a coffee in Pret. We talked all things fashion, life and what the near future of 2018 has in tow.
Firstly, you’ve probably never heard of Becaud because he doesn’t label any of his garments. He works independently, and the clothes he creates are all anonymous. The simple reason being that, Tony doesn’t care to be well-known: ‘Fashion isn’t about being famous, it’s about being yourself and being happy. Stardom has never appealed to me.’
Staying true to yourself is one thing that radiated throughout my conversation with Tony. Designing since he was fifteen years old and growing up in Paris with Cameroonian parents, Becaud commented that living in the French capital was just an added bonus to his view of fashion, opening his eyes more to this metropolitan world. But his fondest childhood memories are family orientated. He praised his late mother’s love and generosity, reminiscing on when he used money given to him by his mother to buy all his classmates’ lunch as a treat at the end of the school year. The headmaster was outraged, calling Tony’s mother, but she just responded by saying how proud she was of her son.
Like any mother wants their son to be a genuinely good person, these efforts during Becaud’s childhood have certainly paid off. Tony recalled that just a few weeks ago, he took off and gave his fur coat to a homeless man in Leicester Square without a second thought. Additionally, a trip to Great Ormond Street Hospital reinforced Becaud’s optimistic view of life – ‘That visit really changed me. It created a mindset which gave me a lot of positive energy. Life’s about being healthy and happy.’
‘A smile gives me more strength and more energy than money in my pocket.’
From the colour of stones on Brighton Beach to his auntie, Tony’s inspiration comes from a range of sources. His aunt used to design and make clothes, with her customers providing the material and preliminary designs, to which she’d churn out unique tailored creations. Tony never forgets pining after some trousers she made: ‘they were quite weird and funny, but it’s good to be different.’
He doesn’t “try” with his personal style, and dresses in the way that he wants. From this, you can understand why if Becaud had to pick his favourite fashion designers, they would be Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. But nevertheless, Becaud is a champion of the up and coming and told me that he would much rather spend his money at a temporary pop-up shop in Shoreditch than in Gucci. We then extensively spoke about those luxury fashion houses, and Tony made me realise how farcical their price points are. He has been the manufacturer, the fabric sourcer, the sole creator – he knows how much things really should be. I was made aware that Chanel bags will maybe cost less than £50 to make, but as soon as that double-C logo is added, the price skyrockets by thousands. ‘You’re paying for a name – that is all. I don’t want a reputation like that. I want people to buy my things because they like them.’
‘You can’t buy happiness’
This refreshing approach to the eternally competitive fashion industry took me by surprise. He told me that, he would sell his anonymous, label-less designs in bulk to retailers. I asked if that upsets him, seeing others take the praise for his creations – his response? ‘No. Because I know deep down that that product is always mine.’
Perhaps Becaud’s detachment with high street retailers is due to his view that ‘mass production isn’t fashion.’ Tony really specialises in a one-off, and sometimes improvised modern fashion designs. ‘My biggest success was probably a t-shirt that I made, because it really wasn’t intentional, but ended up being a trend-setter. I was bored one day, so I cut up a plain t-shirt into different pieces, then reattached all the pieces back together with safety pins. It was really cool. I wore it out in Soho once, and all the gay guys were asking where it was from. When I told them it was my own design, the orders came flooding in, and I even ended up selling the shirts to sex shop owners in Amsterdam.’
You may be wondering what made Becaud stop designing temporarily. Long story short, his designs were ripped off by a co-worker, which understandably totally disheartened him. But rather than giving up, Tony’s dedication to fashion and his selfless nature prompted him to take his expertise in another direction, in promoting and managing some exciting upcoming fashion figures. He is currently managing Adriana Subda, a ‘very gifted, couture designer,’ and the aim is to see her gowns on the red carpet.
Check out more of Adriana’s incredible couture designs on her Instagram.
Becaud reflected, ‘I miss designing, but I’m still advising – working for others is less stressful!’. So, his designing career is not over yet, but his next step is completely under wraps: ‘I have ideas on a design that every single girl will want. But it’s top secret.’
I can’t wait to see what Tony and Adriana both have in store for 2018.
Text: Natalie Zannikos
Images: inkandspindle.com, Pinterest, Adriana Subda on Instagram