Image courtesy Amber Farr
Interview

Amber Farr

08.20.15

Flynn Skye is a California-based, whimsical and modern womenswear collection, named after designer Amber Farr’s daughter, Flynn. Farr, born and raised in Malibu, has been part of the fashion industry for years – she opened her first shop, Blonde, in Santa Monica in 2001. Eight years later, and ready for a new adventure, she accepted a position to develop an in-house line for the popular and trendy boutique, Planet Blue. The line became wildly successful, and the industry support encouraged Farr to start thinking about her own collection. Luckily, for bohemian spirits around the world (Flynn Skye has 300 retail accounts), Farr took what she had learned and created Flynn Skye, a thoughtful, handmade collection, all produced in LA. Most recently, Farr launched Basics – a collection of solids to mix in with her girl’s wardrobe.

Interview

Congratulations on Flynn Skye! Did you ever anticipate the success of this line to occur so quickly?

Thank you! I never anticipated the amount of success of the line to come so quickly. I am extremely hard on myself. I always think I can be doing more which leaves little room to stop working as hard and as best as I can.

You have loads of industry experience – how did owning your own shop prepare you for this?

The best thing I ever did in my career was to own a store, buy and style. This has allowed me to always think of the consumer when designing Flynn Skye pieces. Everything I do with this brand comes 100% with the consumer in mind.

How has the retail industry changed now that you’re on the other side as a designer?

The economy has affected the retail industry a ton. Over the past years with the massive growth of social media – fashion bloggers and their ability to influence consumers and make a brand sell-out of a single dress has been a huge game changer. When I was on the other side, there was social media, but the bloggers were less influential because the platform was not as popular. Social media has been incredible to this brand and to me.

What was it like creating Planet Blue’s in-house line? Does it still exist?

It was an amazing experience! I not only had the opportunity to learn a new trade but I was surrounded by some of the industry’s best while doing it.

Can you tell us about the thought process that led to developing Flynn Skye?

Flynn Skye actually came about through a mistake. When I was asked to design for Planet Blue, I had zero experience designing and still, to this very day, wonder why Ling-Su Chinn asked me. That was a learn-it-as-I-go adventure and it was an amazing one. From that experience I felt I really wanted to keep working on this design adventure. So I did with Flynn Skye! In the beginning the response and feedback to the collection was great and very encouraging. My very first design was a dress called Summer Lovin and that exact style is still one of our top sellers’ years later.

It’s tough to find clothes that feel good, look good, and that are made in the US – how have you delivered all three?

For me the made in LA thing has always been nonnegotiable. As far as the designs go, I honestly make what I feel is missing in the market. For textiles, it just has to drape well and feel good when you wear it. What is the point of wearing something that doesn’t make you feel sexy?

How is the new Basics line different from the main line?

The Basics were born out of my love for solids. I also wanted people to know that Flynn Skye was a collection, not just the popular boho line it has come to be known as. I made the Basics with the mindset of the working/traveling it-girl. And who doesn’t want those pieces in your closet that you can mix and match and wear anywhere?

With over 300 retail accounts you must have a large sales team?

I have one showroom. And this answer will probably shock some people, but Flynn Skye actually only has three full-time employees and a shipper. We do it all as a team. I think because we all believe in the Flynn Skye brand and culture, it rarely feels like work. It also helps that the office is in Venice, which is beautiful and most of the time fun.

How much has your press been organic? All the celebrities photographed wearing Flynn Skye seem like they’re just customers, no?

It has been organic and beautiful. I don’t know why I have been so lucky…I will always remember the day Vanessa Hudgens emailed asking to come into the showroom. That was awesome! I have had incredible support since the first season. Social media has definitely been a huge part of Flynn Skye’s growth. Three months ago I finally decided to invest in PR which was a very smart move…it felt like the right time.

How much does your personal lifestyle influence the brand?

My style is pretty chill. I am not walking around like a Flynn Skye billboard, but I am influenced by my customers 100%.

What’s the best part of living in Venice? Top places to check out?

Where do I begin? I bike to work. I have the best restaurants in LA at my door step and that doesn’t even touch on the group of friends that I am surrounded by. I love Amelia’s for coffee because they know what I want and pretty much everything else about me. I eat at Superba or Oscars more than I would like to admit.

How have you managed the growth of your business alongside finding a work life balance and time to spend with your family/kids?

I think the key to balance is to have fun. I wake up every morning and have a coffee and hot chocolate with Flynn at one of our favorite spots. That is a priority. Then I rush to do some kind of workout. Also a priority. Managing the rest of the day will all just depend, because no day is the same. Being in this business you learn that 90% of the day can be spent putting out fires. What people don’t understand is that every step of making a garment is handmade. The room for error is massive. Keeping that in mind, I just try to remember there is usually a solution to any problem and if there isn’t, it’s just clothes!

Would you ever consider doing a childrenswear line based on the same ethos as the women swear?

I would do a menswear line before a kid’s line. I mean, I will never say never, but there is so much more to do in the women’s market that I think I will be busy for a while.