Born from the green landscapes of Portland, Oregon and his travels around the world, Trey Hales has created a brand teeming with life and beauty. Fresh Cut Flowers blooms with positivity and passion.
To launch Fresh Cut Flowers’ second season at Above the Clouds, we chat to owner and designer Trey Hales about the origins of his homegrown brand, his inspirations and everything nature and floristry.
You’re currently based in Portland, Oregon. Can you describe the landscapes and nature surrounding Portland and how it has inspired you?
In Portland nature is everywhere, and is built into the DNA of the city. Even downtown you have the waterfront covered in blooming trees in the spring, large fields where people sprawl out and enjoy the sun. We have multiple flower-focused parks, waterfronts, and mountains you can see in the distance. I’ve been around Portland my entire life, so it's an unavoidable source of inspiration being surrounded by this beauty. Your roots always shine when you are locked into your creativity, mine are pretty clear in my work with Fresh Cut Flowers and I’m proud to be Portland based.
You kicked off your career designing and producing merch, LPs and graphics in the music industry. How does an interest and position in the music industry develop into a fascination with flowers and the development behind the concept of Fresh Cut Flowers?
Actually, my career started off doing spoken word / slam poetry at punk shows in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA around age 16. Performing is what got me on my first tour, mostly small scale but I managed to squeeze into larger shows in my early 20’s before moving on. When I was on tour I would pick up on trades that people needed and taught myself to become an asset on the road that people couldn’t pass up on. Designing was one of those things I figured out by myself because I saw a need for it, but it was the thing I fell in love with the most. My main thing was that I could vision an entire spread for a tour, not just one-off designs. Then I would sell merch and tour manage for that same band, and also did photography because I had an interest in all these things. The more I completed other peoples visions the closer I got to realizing my own. In 2018 I figured out that my work shines when I focus on flower related graphics. Noticing that no brand was making that their focal point, I decided to be that brand.
One of our favourite graphics this season is the Florist Print. Floristry is an extremely sensory experience - from the sound of leaves to smell of flowers and the look of making a bouquet.
What is the scent, look, feel and sound of the Fresh Cut Flowers brand?
Interesting question.I wouldn’t say that FCF is one scent/look/feel/sound attached to the brand, because the essence of all of them may exist over time. That's why it’s such a great subject, flowers are endlessly inspiring.
What are some of the flowers and plants you're most interested in at the moment ?
I love tulips, that's a constant. I love purple orchids right now too. My latest design work has a good amount of roses, but I always get that way around the fall time.
What role do these flowers and plants play in your daily life? What about them attracts you to explore their artistic and cultural interpretation ?
I’m attracted to these flowers for different reasons. Tulips are underused visually and often written off as a “grandma flower” but are truly elegant and beautiful when they are closed or open. Roses on the other hand are overused constantly in graphics, for me that's an interesting challenge. Can I make this into something I haven’t seen yet? Or something that is new but familiar in a nostalgic way? Both these flowers aren’t rare, they are accessible. They can bloom in all different colors but never get old. They are beautiful, still, romantic and comforting. The feelings they evoke to us humans is the role they play in this brand, along with their literal form. Flowers are always enough.
You recently launched your first physical space the ‘Loft’ over the Portland Summer, what did you envision for this retail space?
LOFT was a summer long concept store to sell Fresh Cut Flowers products right alongside the subject that inspired it. All packed into a little 400sq ft loft above an amazing Portland based chocolate company called Cloudforest. The entrance had a large fully tried flower installed by Cody Shulund, flowers by Manu Torres, and we also sold 1/1 products by James Fink’s brand ‘DAAG’.
What music are you playing? What does the space smell and feel like?
Sounds I’ll go top 10 played in store: Dides “Fresh Cut Flowers” (our soundtrack) / HTRK / Vince Staples / Isaiah Rashad / Toro Y Moi “Soul Trash” / MBV / Ride / Slowdive / DIIV / Archy Marshall
Smell, the install had a lot of moss so it gave off this black tea smell. Mixed with fresh coffee downstairs and chocolate. Was a nice mix. Loft had a gallery feeling, but was still DIY. You could tell we put a lot of thought into it even though the final form was simple. It was exactly what was needed, not too much or too little.
Lastly in a few words, what is your vision for the future of Fresh Cut Flowers? What are you most looking forward to?
Continue to grow authentically staying true to our mission of delivering floral-focused clothing. Exploring new things within garments and flora to creative interesting inventive pieces / graphics. Looking forward to a safer world covid wise so I can do what I did here in Portland in different cities around the world. Maybe Sydney? ;)
Thank you to Trey Hales at Fresh Cut Flowers. You can explore the latest from Fresh Cut Flowers here.
Images courtesy of Fresh Cut Flowers, photography by James Fink.
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