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An interview with búl founder - Virginia Martin

03 Jun 2018

Tell us a little bit about yourself Virginia, how did you first start in fashion design?

Growing up in Melbourne I was introduced to fashion at a young age through my Mother. She was always sewing and I found it fascinating that you could make whatever you desired from scratch. She taught me how to sew, and it was from then onwards that I knew it was what I wanted to do. In my early 20’s I decided to start my own label, I wholesaled around Australia and all pieces were made in Melbourne. Wanting to grow and further my knowledge within the industry I flew to New York 2 years later and interned at Cynthia Rowley, Heathrette and Proenza Scholer where I gained invaluable experience - I also went to California where I worked at Trovata. After gaining extended knowledge, skills and drive abroad I came back home to Melbourne, re-launched to label and I guess you could say the rest is history.

Where does the name búl come from?

The name comes from my brother not being able to pronounce my name ‘Virginia’ correctly, so he would say ‘búl’, and it just seemed to stick. My initial vision is the same now as when I began the label. I wanted to create beautiful, yet comfortable and accessible clothing that’s inspired by the things I love, which are the ocean and travel. I always envisioned a label that was not ‘just dresses’ or pin-holed into one thing, it was to be a complete lifestyle.

Why did you choose Emporium for your newest brick and mortar store?

Emporium is an impressive centre, the sheer fact you can walk from Bourke Street Myer completely undercover all the way through to Emporium and furthermore into Melbourne Central is a completely unique retail experience for Melbourne. Emporium inspired the latest brick and mortar opening for the label due to its wide reach of audience, from local to a traveller and it’s prominent, easily accessible location within Melbourne CBD. I never take store openings lightly, they are well thought out for years on end and I will sit on an idea, milling it over before finally choosing just the right spot. búl Emporium has been the perfect opportunity for the label’s latest boutique and i am excited for what lies ahead.

Tell me about the inspiration behind the store design?

Being situated within an already opulent building, I wanted to reflect the feel of the centre and stay true to the label’s characteristic spirit. Working closely with architect Michael MacLeod we looked towards shades of terracotta and natural inspired hues as well as constructing an abstract fabric roof that manipulates light and shade from above. The búl Emporium store holds a refined collection edit of our most current arrivals and embraces a stillness and tranquillity throughout, I hope you enjoy the space as much as I enjoyed taking it from concept to completion.


Your current collection is inspired by Biarritz, why did you chose this place and is travel always inspiring to you?

Biarritz is a place dear to my heart, with its earthly beauty, enriched historical character and I personally love to travel so it has organically become a large part of what the label is about with each collection reflecting a destination travelled. I remember the first time I visited Biarritz in 2016 and instantly feeling the unique energy of French Basque country, where the surf is forever welcoming and the land rich with story and spirit. Returning again last year sparked that initial joy and played perfect muse to create our next collection from. I look to all aspects of a place for inspiration, the intriguing culture, the ever-shifting landscape and the diverse people that all come together to form the inspiration for each collection.

Lastly, what is your tip for surviving the cooler months ahead?

Definitely investing in a good quality coat and some light layered items to combat Melbourne’s ever-changing weather. My season staples have been the Normandie skivvy and Avenue Trench, both in warm woollen blends partnered with our latest arrival, the beret which is perfect for those cooler days ahead.