There was a time when one could easily spot the influencers’ section at fashion shows, packed as it was with flamboyantly dressed attendees holding their mobile phones and cameras, considerably different from the other show goers. Among them, a front-row fixture was (and still is) a thin, young Filipino man, often clad in bold printed outfits or brightly colored furs, comfortable while sporting feminine pieces, with a resounding voice and a witty sense of humor: Bryanboy.
Bryan Grey Yambao, aka Bryanboy, has been enjoying fashion for 15 years — and he’s still passionate about it. Now age 37, he started reporting on his life, travels and passions early on, with a web site documenting his outfits as much as his eagerness to write about the things he loved.
As the social media phenomenon grew, Bryanboy moved on to become an Instagram personality and now counts 660,000 followers on that platform alone. “I joined Instagram probably two years after it started. I was really focusing on the blog, I was late, I’m always late when it comes to [new] social media programs,” he admitted.
Still, he remains a pioneer of the blogger/influencer phenomenon and during his career has worked with numerous major fashion houses, including Loewe, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dior, to name a few.
Here, WWD talks to Bryanboy about seasonal trends, social media habits and how fashion communication has changed over the years.
WWD: How have your strategy and style changed over the past 15 years in the business?
Bryanboy: There’s no strategy, I’ve always tried to be consistent and I’ve always been myself. When you believe in something, you’ll always like the same things; I’m always drawn to something feminine, to flowers, to colors. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and what I like, for me it’s the same. Sure, I get older and then my taste changes, but there’s really no strategy because to be consistent you really just have to stick to your vision and what you like.
I hate trends, I am allergic to trends, which is really funny because for me sometimes when you see something that you like, but then everybody is wearing it already, I don’t want to wear it anymore. For example, everyone is wearing these Balenciaga [Triple S] shoes [which] I really like…I bought mine but when everybody started [wearing them], I stopped. Either I want to be super early or super late: the idea of following trends that everyone is doing doesn’t make sense for me.
WWD: Is there any particular trend you’re really into right now?
B.B.: If you look at my previous Instagram posts, I’ve been wearing suits. I never wear suits because sometimes in a suit I feel like I’m a waiter. But now I’ve been wearing them recently and I love it, which just completely is the opposite of what the whole trend is, because now it’s all about the street, about urban vibes. For me it’s always about trying to do something different.
WWD: What is your favorite social media, and why?
B.B.: I love Twitter, it’s my weakness. I’m like Donald Trump [laughs]…As you can tell, I’m very talkative, so Twitter is my go-to outlet. On Instagram if you post 10 pictures in a day, then people are going to unfollow you. But on Twitter, I can post a hundred tweets a day and nobody [cares]. It’s entertaining and there are some things that are better expressed through words rather than images, especially now that we are so image-driven and it’s so hard to express how you feel through pictures sometimes. I love words, words are powerful.
WWD: Has fashion changed since you started, 15 years ago, and how have you adjusted?
B.B.: Fashion changes in so many ways, even with the way brands communicate. For me, the number-one thing is how people consume information. I remember people always going to web sites and a lot of the brands were only focused on that. But the way we consume information [today] is through mobile so everything has to be quick, everything has to be fast, everything has to be instant and anyone in fashion — whether you’re an influencer or a designer or a brand or a creative director or a model — everyone needs to be able to send a message, an effective message in something so simple and precise, like one photo and one sentence. A lot of brands design for how they will put their looks on Instagram, which is really amazing because if you go to all these shows it’s about the set…the show venues [where] there always has to be a statue or a main focal point which kind of distracts from the clothes, but in a way it creates an atmosphere to sell the clothes. But, yes, everything is pretty much designed [according] to how it should look on Instagram, which is really crazy.
WWD: What is the value that you bring to the fashion houses you collaborate with?
B.B.: It’s basically communicating their messages in an alternative way, in a more democratic and approachable way, in a more realistic way. It’s very, very different from their way of communicating…and I amplify their message.
WWD: Have you ever considered launching a fashion brand?
B.B.: Never. I’ve had capsule collections before [he teamed with Adrienne Landau on a capsule collection of fur accessories in 2013] and I’m working on two capsules once again, but to have my own line, never. I have so much respect for the people who dedicated their lives to design and to fashion. It’s a full-time job. It’s not something where one should just slap his name and have somebody else work for it. I don’t believe in this. There has to be a sense of authenticity in what you do and to have my own line is just not for me.