Shifting the direction of your career path is tricky at the best of times, even more so if you have already excelled in your former field. Joy Bryant is doing exactly that; having already enjoyed massive success in NBC’s hit drama Parenthood, she is now making waves in the fashion world with her debut label Basic Terrain. The collection, created with her husband of eight years Dave Pope, sees bohemian chic meet active wear in an ensemble of relaxed wardrobe staples designed for the woman-on-the-go. Joy gives Schön! the low down on how this label came to be.
Tell us how Basic Terrain – having just wrapped filming the last of the phenomenally successful NBC series Parenthood, this new business venture is an exciting new direction!
It’s exciting and still trips me out! The fact that there are people in the world who dig and support what we’re doing means everything to us and it’s the thing that keeps us going. Shout out to Selfridges!
Has it always been your intention to make the transition from Hollywood actress to budding fashion designer? How did that transition come about?
I’ve always wanted to design ski and snowboard wear, luggage and travel accessories. Not exactly fashion but Dave and I definitely had a desire to create functional pieces that also look fly. This was based on some of the things we love to do: we love to travel, we love to snowboard. But we couldn’t come out of the gate as a snowboard company. It would be way too limiting. So we decided to start a brand that would allow us to create all the things that we wanted to see and hoped others would love: from pieces to chill in, to pieces for an active, busy life. And here we are.
You’ve modelled for the likes Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger earlier on in your career, has this insight into the fashion world proved helpful when shaping your own collection?
It taught me that you can’t be all things to all people. And that you have to know who you are and where you’re coming from in order to give the people what they want. We haven’t mastered that yet, but we’re working on it!
The collection has a very relaxed West Coast vibe; wide legged trousers and loose fit, draping dresses and shirts seem to be at the core of the brand. What inspires the designs?
Our closets! What’s there, what’s not there. Also, the question, “wouldn’t it be cool if…?” That’s a big inspiration.
You’ve created this brand with your stuntman husband Dave Pope, an unlikely profession considering it is in fact Dave who is at the helm of the sewing machine. As the business expands, does it look likely that your husband will be hanging up his stuntman boots for good? How do you work together?
It blows people’s minds that this 6’5” stuntman also LOVES to sew and is damn good at it. I’m still tickled by that! I think eventually there are certain aspects of stunt work that he’ll move away from, like throwing himself down a flight of metal grated stairs or being slingshot through the air after an explosion. Not sure he’d hang up the boots for good though!
We work together by dividing up what needs to be done according to who is best at the task. We also give each other space when needed. He’s got his man cave, and I my lady lair. And then at one point, someone says to the other, “Honey, what do you think of this?”. Our personalities compliment each other: he’s a laid back dude, I’m a crazy person. Together it makes for some fun times.
Finally, tell us what is your favourite piece from your collection, and why?
My favourite piece is the Fleece Wrap. It’s so easy and chic. Anyone can rock it with anything, anywhere.
Words / Jordan Gale