How Fayeeo Came to be.
Words by Faye Eloise Oakenfull, also known as Faye E O.
As narrative is such an important part of the brand, here is the story of Fayeeo.
It's taken a long time to get here. After graduating from the Royal College of Art Menswear MA in 2014, with my collection 'A Story for the Quilt', I went straight into a design assistant role at Paul Smith. By the middle of 2015, after an unexpected 6 months of health complications and no role to progress into, I found myself going freelance - a move I never thought I'd make.
Over the next few years, along side my freelancing, I struggled to find full time design roles that were right for me. My confidence as a designer took a knock and at the beginning of 2017 I took a side step into the world of styling. Little did I know how important this would be for me. Over the next year I begun to work with different brands, other creatives and teams of people with different skillsets who I would learn from. Oh and clothes. From menswear to womenswear, high street to designer, I started to notice what really made a product special.
At the beginning of 2018 I took a very last minute, impulse trip out to India to visit one of my best friends. We spent 2 magical weeks in the south and I fell in love with the country. I returned home, only to fly out again 6 weeks later to spend a month travelling around Rajasthan. As textiles, craft and colour have always been the centre of my work, Rajasthan blew me away. I came home with a wealth of photos and research, excited and ready to design again for the first time in 3 years.
It started with a shoot, and in hindsight, a couple of false starts. I got a team of the some most talented people I'd worked with in industry together and we reshot and restyled my menswear collection 'A Story for the Quilt' on a female model. 'Boyish clothes for elegant women' was the tagline. I began to redraft my patterns into a selection of womenswear garments.
Another year passed juggling London life with working on the idea of starting Fayeeo. I started to question how I could make clothes sustainably with minimal impact on the planet, something that was an increasing weight on my conscience. I'd lost momentum and realised I needed help. In my 7 years of art school, I'd never been taught how to start a business, so in June 2019 I joined the Prince's Trust Business Enterprise. I came away from the week long course realising that to make the business work I would need to take it full time.
Then along came 2020. Suddenly we were in the midst of a global pandemic and I had all the time in the world. I ordered a new sewing machine and I spent the 4 months of lockdown making and creating from my bedroom. Most importantly, I made my first ever quilt, which totally changed my direction for Fayeeo (read more about my obsession with quilts here).
I released my first pre order of the Darling Tee, resolving any concerns about waste product and ethical manufacture. I created quilts and artworks and found ways of using any waste fabric ( Hot Mess artworks) and continue to source more ethical and organic fabrication for future products and clothing.
'Elegant, ethical designs for men, women and home' is now where I am with Fayeeo. I work full time from my South East London studio along with my assistant, a black and white whippet called Goose. I'm very excited for to finally invite you into this journey with me and for the brand to continue to adapt to the world around it.