FIVE YEARS OF BY FAR : REIMAGINING THE CLASSICS
We always say BY FAR is about a feeling! Passion is the core of everything we do, and that begins first and foremost with BY FAR’s creative vision which focuses on emotion and authenticity. Our brand recipe is simple, but you need to follow it precisely. First, you need a cool, effortless and nostalgic product design. Mix it with high-quality materials, outstanding craftsmanship, immense technical know-how and top it off with a passionate and diverse team. This is the only way to create impeccable objects that can be worn now and forever.
It’s been five years since the launch of the brand and although many things have changed, our values remain the same as in the beginning. The stories of how we got here and where we’re going are intertwined together but that might have to be left for another time. Today, there’s a sweet hint of nostalgia hitting us, thinking back to how it all began.
It started easy, like a song… Like a song in a foreign language with lyrics that are impossible to pronounce but with the most captivating melody. Think Macarena. Now, that we’ve set the mood, let’s tell the story.
There has always been a strong heritage of shoe craftsmanship in Bulgaria with many artisanal factories dotted around the country, ran by the same families for decades, but not as well-known as those of other parts of the world. It was in 2015, completely by chance, when the twin sisters Sabina Gyosheva and Valentina Ignatova, and their best friend Denitsa Bumbarova visited one of these family-run factories and experienced what felt like destiny (bibbidi-bobbidi-boo)! Once the idea was born, it was only a matter of time for the shoes to fit.
BY FAR was established in 2016 with Sabina serving as the CEO, Valentina as the CMO and Denitsa as the creative director. Named after their son’s names – their greatest pride and inspiration – F. for Filip (Valentina’s son), A. for Alec (Sabina’s son) and R. for Roman (Denitsa’s son), BY FAR means Made sincerely with love, to be loved.
With a background in renewable energy and the construction industry, the trio started their fashion affair without following the traditional rules and boundaries, because they simply weren’t aware of them; but with a clear creative vision of what they want to achieve – to create shoes that make you feel as if you can conquer the world.
Embarking on this new adventure with great passion and child-like curiosity, the girls challenged themselves to learn new skills every day, studying the craft from the basics. In 2016, they launched their first shoe collection, which was very well-received by experts and the media – the British Vogue even recognised them as their favourite new accessories brand.
Sifted through iconic pop-culture references and the girls’ personal style, each collection represents a joyful spectacle of nostalgia and nowness, mixed in a distinctive way that you can love over and over again.
From the first collection, the girls wanted to reimagine timeless silhouettes for the cool city girl. They loved the idea of the block heel, chic enough to elevate any outfit, yet more comfortable than the stiletto. “We wanted shoes that are really easy to wear but are also elegant enough for the night, too, and not overpowering,” tells Denitsa.
The Girls wanted to incorporate sustainability into their designs as it was something they have always been passionate about and eventually found an agent in Bulgaria who gathers dead-stock fabrics from premium Italian factories. Using deadstock leather not only had a smaller impact on the environment but also made the designs feel most exclusive and interesting.
The debut collection included simple, low-heeled mules and ballet pumps in shades of khaki, red, navy, and blush; and the now-signature BY FAR square toe.
“I remember we always thought that a square toe was a more natural fit to your toes, but when we presented it to the factory, they thought we were crazy,” remembers Valentina. “Now, it’s our signature.”
It was in those early years that styles such as the Tanya, Sofia and Este were born and five years later remain not just best-selling pieces but wardrobe staples connecting the origins of the brand to the present.
The crown of the core crew is the Tanya mule. Its barely-there presence makes it the queen of versatility. Rethinking the traditional shape of a block heel, that translates into the lines of the square toe, it provides you with stability so you can actually walk in your Tanya mules for hours. The two barely-there straps are carefully positioned to support the foot where it is most needed.
If you take a closer look, you will notice that most of BY FAR shoes’ heels are positioned in a place where one’s weight is distributed equally. This achieves the perfect balance without fear of losing stability. Comfort is a keyword during our design process. We are obsessed with minimalist sandals, but we would never trade comfort for style.
The definitive BY FAR boot Sofia captures the distinct retro sensibility of a noir film. With its streamlined silhouette and glove-like fit around the ankle, it transitions easily between cropped pants and jeans to flowing dresses. The girls shocked the craftsmen in the factory once more with this one, as they wanted to take as much of the padding out as possible. Their goal was to create a boot, that feels almost like a second skin. So many samples had to be reworked and scratched until they got it right, but eventually, Sofia turned out so well, that the sleek ankle boots became a staple for the brand.
No wonder, the Este ankle boots also made it to the icons’ list. Named after the eponymous Haim sister, Este is a rock and roll princess with an inherited California cool who secretly wants to be Carrie Bradshaw.
In 2018, the brand introduced its first bags collection in a collaboration with the luxury fashion retailer Net-A-Porter, which was picked up immediately by celebrities, influencers and fashion editors all over the world. The same year, BY FAR held its first mono-brand wholesale showroom in Paris and its first celebrity event in LA.
It was that exact capsule collection that saw the launch of the Rachel bag. The epitome of 90s cool, it is created in a homage to the iconic Rachel Green from Friends known for her sartorial triumphs - in particular, strappy, body-con dresses and sleek shoulder bags. The Rachel baguette quickly became the ultimate wardrobe staple for every fashion-curious girl. Having the perfect proportions to sit comfortably on the shoulder while fitting all the essentials and complementing the body shape, it is still one of our most sought-after styles that turned BY FAR into the go-to brand for shoulder bags.
Then slowly in the next few years, the BY FAR icons were born including the Miranda bag, named after Miranda Hobbes (this is the SATC reference we mentioned earlier), known for her low key, pragmatic, but not by any means boring approach to work and having fun; as well as the Amber bag, inspired by the traffic-stopping street style game of Amber Valletta.
All different, yet embodying the same feel of timelessness and effortless chic, these are styles that always remain relevant. Designing with the future in mind, using the finest artisanal techniques and mindfully sourced materials is part of BY FAR’s ongoing commitment to continuously doing better and bringing about practices that protect and preserve the world we live in.
The line-up of BY FAR’s most-wanted styles is offered each season, faithful to the originals in terms of shapes and details but upgraded in colours and materials.