Our incredible womens fashion designer, Bec Nolan, is constantly coming up with new ways to both inspire us, and make us incredibly jealous. In between designing amazing ranges for Afends, she also manages to live a wonderful life filled with happiness, friendships, love and of course cats. She was recently interviewed by Urban Outfitters for their blog, which we have re-blogged here. All photos taken by her husband, our mens fashion designer and photographer extraordinaire, Sam Nolan. You can view the original blog Here.
Meet Bec Nolan, the girl you want to write off because her life seems so incredibly perfect and way too good to be true...except it's all true and she's also the coolest, most genuine girl ever. Be prepared to reassess everything after this.
Bec is an Australian artist and designer living in the tiny hippie beach town Mullum, 30 minutes from Byron Bay on the Eastern coast of Australia (and if you're—like us—less familiar with the land down under, let us tell refer you to this mapas a reference). With a background rooted in graphic design and illustration (selling her own prints under her pseudonym Peachlings), today Bec's focus has shifted to women's clothing design, where she works with her photographer husband Sam and adorable pup Pony in tow. With a life inspired by travel, friends, and community, it's hard not to be inspired Bec's day-to-day and take cues from her perspectives on everyday life.
First things first: please tell us everything about Pony!
Pony has a crazy effect on people: when she was a puppy people would literally pull over in their cars to get out and touch her. She’s shy though—she has a favorites list and you have to put in time and dedication to be on it. She comes almost everywhere with me (and I’ve definitely tried to take her into all sorts of places dogs aren’t allowed). How could you look at her and say she can't be there?!
Can you share more about your life in Mullum? What's a typical day in the life like for you?
Mullum is a little hippie town just outside of Byron Bay, toward the hills. I work in Byron so I spend a lot of time there. A typical day will involve good food, good company, and the beach, no matter what time of year it is — we don’t have much of a winter here! It’s such a little town that no one is ever more than 10 minutes away from each other, which means spontaneous beach or coffee hangs are a regular thing. We have big "family" dinners with all our friends a couple times a month. Life here really revolves around friendship, food, and the ocean!
Belongil (where these pictures were taken) is one of my favorite Byron beaches, and it’s one of the few dog-friendly spots. There are lots of pretty little coves but I can’t stand the idea of going to any of them while Pony is stuck at home.
Those family dinners with friends sound amazing. Can you share the menu from a recent one?
Mexican food is always a winner: it’s easy for everyone to bring a few ingredients so no matter how many people turn up we can make enough. I always make a vegan “chicken” filling and we’ll have a bean mix and salad stuff, and we always have gluten-free and dairy-free options. Everyone's catered for!
Christmas Eve dinner was my favorite. We had a big feast in my backyard with string lights overhead and everyone got dressed up, which we never do. It's such a laid-back town that weddings are just about the only reason to put on a dress and makeup. We made a big roast dinner, and if you've ever cooked for 20 people you will appreciate how proud I was of myself! The next morning we had a big backyard breakfast buffet for everyone who stayed the night.
Our umbrella (I take two if we have friends meeting us), waterproof sunscreen (again, two: I like 30+ and Sam burns easily so 50+ for him), a big blanket, and two towels (though I'm still not sure why I bother: Pony makes sure they all get good and sandy in no time). I also always bring whatever fruit is in season and easy to eat, like strawberries or peaches, a couple liters of water (and a little cup for a little dog!), a floppy hat, my Kindle and of course Pony. Oh, and my iPhone so I can take a photo!
What books are on your Kindle right now? Can you recommend a good beach read?
So many — I try to read at least two books a month. I tend to get too absorbed in them though and then can’t think about anything else so I also have to limit myself if I’ve got too much going on. Whenever we go overseas I make sure I take at least six books (which is why I love my Kindle: much easier than lugging six books around!) I’ve just finished reading Skulduggery Pleasant, a series recommended to me by my 14-year-old sister...but I loved it so much! I also love Haruki Murakami and any good sci-fi.
What items in your wardrobe are getting the most love right now? What can you not stop wearing?
I’m designing clothing for Fall 2016 right now so all I can think about are cold weather clothes like turtlenecks, cropped pants with socks, and cozy sweaters. My mind is always in a season other than the one it actually is. Most days I just throw on a pair of high-waisted denim shorts and a tee, or a romper. Spring and summer for me are all about easy, basic outfits, picking something off the floor and throwing it on.
What's the best thing that's happened to you so far this year?
It’s only just beginning! But so far the highlight has been our trip to Paris, Morocco, and London. I also went solo to Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago and it was really great—I’m basically never alone so it was nice getting to spend time in my own head in a foreign country. I thought I was going to be sad and lonely but it was the opposite!
That travelogue is epic! Can you share a few "secret" discoveries from your recent journeys? And where's next on your list of places to go?
We’re going to Japan next month (and taking my little twin sisters with us), and hopefully Mexico in July. Also it’s my mum’s 50th this year and she’s decided to quit her job, sell all her things, and travel the world indefinitely with just a backpack. I’m so incredibly inspired and proud of her. For her birthday we’ve agreed that wherever she is in the world in November my sister and I will meet her there.
As for “secret” discoveries... I always prefer small, boutique type hotels rather than bigger chains: the service is so much more personal and they’re often cheaper. In Paris, Hôtel Eldorado and Hôtel Du Temps are both adorable and they are so friendly and warm. In Marrakech we stayed at Riad Edward, which had an amazing rooftop and gorgeous rooms. As for food, I always look up vegan-friendly places and they’re ALWAYS great. I feel like they have to be—a regular restaurant can afford to be average and for some reason people keep going. But vegetarian restaurants have a smaller clientele. They need to be good! So even if you’re a meat eater I would still recommend looking up veggie places! A lot of the time they are somewhere out of the way, off the beaten path...it’s a great excuse to explore some different areas.
What are your top five favorite local spots?
1. Izakaya Yu: the best Japanese restaurant outside of Japan...which just happens to be in the tiny town where I live!
2. Wategos Beach: one of the prettiest beaches in Byron. It used to be a whaling port and the land on the hill surrounding it that overlooks the ocean was originally given away by the council to encourage people to settle there.
3. My house. I love my house. It’s light with has high ceilings, on a quiet, friendly street, and is full of plants and cats.
4. Nolan’s Murky Hole: the prettiest rainforest waterfall! You start at the bottom of the creek, wading through the rock pools and climbing up all the little waterfalls until you get to the main waterfall. Above it is a swimming hole which is like an infinity pool, looking out to nothing but treetops. It’s not really called Nolan’s Murky Hole but we thought if we gave it an unappealing name nobody would want to go there.
5. Brays Beach: it’s a bit of a drive along a windy dirt road and a small hike down hill to get there but it’s so pretty and totally secluded.