Luke Evans has played everyone from Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” to Bard the Bowman in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Now he can add apparel industry executive to his rich résumé.
The Welsh actor and singer has teamed with his life partner, architect Fran Tomas, and his fashion stylist Christopher Brown, whose other clients include Loewe, Burberry and David Beckham, to create BDXY, a line of foundational pieces inspired by the screen legends of Old Hollywood.
Evans said that although the three partners are from very different walks of life, they realized that when it came to their wardrobe choices, they were very similar.
“Over the years I’ve dabbled in fashion, I’ve been to lots of shows, I’ve been ambassador for different brands, from Bulgari to Police,” Evans said. “And I’ve always thought about what I would do if I made my own brand — what I would make and how I would do it. We came together a year and a half ago, and very quickly [realized] we all had a very similar opinion on what we thought about staple pieces of a men’s wardrobe.”
The initial idea was to start with swimwear, Evans said, because “whenever I’m not working, I find a beach or a pool and some sunshine and I thought, ‘Well, wouldn’t it be interesting to see if we could create our own collection of swimwear.’”
They then realized there were other pieces they deemed just as essential, notably the T-shirt.
“Working as a stylist and with so many different clients, I’m always looking for the best T-shirt,” Brown said. “So it felt like a natural thing for us to create the best T-shirt that suits any body type and looks great on any guy. Working with all these guys I work with, you can have crazy fashion, but you always want to go back to a staple piece and effortless style.”
Evans said they started “deep diving on YouTube and Google for inspiration and we all kept migrating back to the ‘60s and ‘70s.” They scoured photos of celebrities such as Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando and Harrison Ford and were “enamored” by style that has never really gone out of fashion. “These pictures are so iconic, they would stand up to anything now on a billboard. And so that’s where our inspiration came from — Old Hollywood classic.”
BDXY’s first collection will be tight — 12 pieces that guys wear every day, including T-shirts and tank tops in lyocell and organic cotton; briefs and boxer underwear in lyocell and elastane; ‘80s-inspired swim shorts and briefs in recycled Seaqual polyester, and accessories including trucker or baseball hats, totes and beach towels.
“We’re really focused on each piece and put a lot of time and effort into curating it,” Evans said.
In fact, each piece was named as a nod to Old Hollywood and film sets. So the T-shirt is “The Actor,” to evoke memories of Brando and James Dean, the underwear is either “The Unit” or “The Boom,” and the swimwear is “The Cameo.”
Once the idea was set, they set out to find a manufacturer and because Evans and Tomas live in Lisbon part of the time, they sought out some of Portugal’s top producers.
“We took a rainy train up to Porto one day,” Evans said. “We spent a day traveling around all the different manufacturers — some were very big, and they actually produced lots of brands that we know on the market. But then we visited a little factory in Porto run by a guy called Miguel and his sisters and his dad — his mother had started it in the ‘60s. It was a family-run business and all local women work in the factory. We immediately clicked with him and he understood what we wanted.”
Next up was to come up with a name. Evans suggested BDXY — the letters are pronounced — and explained that the first two letters are from the word “bold,” while the second two are from “sexy,” which he believes describes the aesthetic of the line. “It’s as much a feeling as a description of how one looks,” he explained. “You can feel bold and sexy in absolutely nothing, a ball gown, a tuxedo or any kind of attire you wear. Bold is a strong, confident word and sexy is something that is appealing in many different ways.”
Evans said the small size of the launch collection is intentional. “For us to have total creative control, we decided that we would keep the collection very small, and that I would finance the whole thing. So we’re all directors and we have shareholders, but it’s all my money,” he said, declining to reveal the size of his investment.
Prices range from 54 pounds for the hats and 150 pounds for the beach towels to 68 pounds for the Ts, 135 pounds for the swim shorts and 28 pounds or 30 pounds for the underwear. “It costs a little more because it’s sustainable,” Brown said. “We don’t want to be in the fast-fashion world.”
The line will launch online with a social media blitz and a marketing campaign featuring Evans, Tomas and three models, shot by Valero Rioja at their home in Ibiza as well as on a borrowed 1950s-era wooden boat.
Brown described it as “an homage to ‘90s Bruce Weber. When we first researched the brand and imagery, we were very aware that a lot of images now for underwear are quite over-sexualized. And we wanted to go back to the Bruce Weber days where, yes, there is a sexual undertone, but it’s not so in your face.”
“We wanted it to feel relaxed,” Evans added, “like they’re having a fun day out there on a boat.”
In addition to the apparel and accessories, BDXY offers a candle. Evans explained: “Fifteen years ago, when I was sent on my first job abroad on a movie, I was stuck in a crappy little hotel room that didn’t smell very nice. And I realized that a scented candle was going to change everything — it was going to create an ambiance and a smell that I liked. And also, there’s something about the flame. It’s as old as time.”
So he asked his partners if he could add a candle to the collection. The result is the “Salinas,” inspired by his home in Ibiza, an island surrounded by forest and flanking the Mediterranean Sea. It features top notes of olibanum and geranium and is housed in a ceramic jar the color of the sea and has a gold lid. It retails for 98 pounds. “It is such a nice complement to the collection and we hope for each new collection, we will have a different candle,” Evans said.
So what’s the goal for BDXY? Evans said, “We go to the world and hopefully the world buys it.” They will encourage feedback to determine future offerings. “We’re here to see what people like,” he said. “We don’t want to make things that don’t sell.”
But he’s confident it will pass muster. “We believe that our staple pieces of underwear, swimwear and T-shirts will do well and we’ll increase those collections with new colors and different shapes with different cuts.” Within a year, they hope, they’ll be able to guarantee 24-hour delivery in North America as well as parts of Europe.
Preparing for an aggressive global launch is not cheap, but Evans was committed to the project before the actor’s strike put him on hiatus for several months. “Remember that little strike,” Evans said with a laugh. “That wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t great for actors or stylists. We were all twiddling our thumbs, but I was lucky enough to get a play. So during this last year and a half, I’ve been on stage every night and in the day, we’ve been fine tuning [this line]. We’ve been working 24 hours a day, but were all so passionate about this and want to build something we’re all proud of.”