Cover Ben Gorham tells Tatler in an exclusive interview all about Byredo's newest fragrance, Mumbai Noise (Photo: Courtesy of Byredo)

The founder of Byredo Parfums about his latest creation and how the brand is moving towards sustainability

Tell us about Mumbai Noise.

Mumbai Noise is an intensely personal fragrance for me. From almost the moment I was born, I would travel to India to spend time with my grandmother in Chembur, Mumbai. This fragrance is born from the vivid childhood memories that I have, the experience of sensory overload you feel as soon as you step off the plane. After she passed, it took me a long time to return, and when I did, it had radically changed yet felt inherently familiar. The scent to me really captures the overwhelming power of a place.

See also: 5 Hair Fragrances For The Most Luxurious Locks

What’s your to-go scent at the moment?

Palermo will always be my go-to. There is something about Sicilian bergamot that feels at once fresh and complex. I wear it every day.

Out of all the Byredo collaborations that you’ve done recently, which are your favourites?

Collaborations are one of the best parts of my job and each one inspires and marks me in different ways. Most recently, I was able to work with my friend Jen Atkin, of The Ouai, to continue our collaboration on their leave-in conditioner with the scent of Mojave Ghost.

I was able to bring to life our make-up universe in collaboration with Isamaya Ffrench, which has been three years in the making, finally realising my visual representation of Byredo. We were able to bring something truly disruptive to the beauty industry and defy conventions of colour, gender and self-expression. I felt this had been missing in a space that has long defined what can be beautiful.

Don't miss: Check Out Byredo's New Line Of Genderless Make-Up

How do you make fragrances that appeal to both men and women?

The idea of genders in fragrance or even make-up doesn’t make any sense to me. I always found this idea somewhat absurd and exclusionary. Beauty, and what individuals find to be beautiful or smell beautiful, are completely subjective, therefore being prescriptive has never been my objective. We make products we are proud of, and whoever wants to use them can use them.

How does Byredo incorporate sustainability into the brand and products?

It’s something we are constantly looking at, and sustainability is a tricky word as the world has a really long way to go. We do all that we can, and are constantly reviewing our ingredients and our packaging to make sure nothing we use is virgin materials. As much as possible we aim for vegan products. We don’t use a lot of tech and video screens in our stores. But I think we all have to be aware that it’s a project that will be in constant motion as we learn more about alternative ideas and solutions.

How has Covid-19 affected your life the last year and a half? Did you have routines or hobbies that kept you feeling sane during lockdown?

In Sweden, we didn’t have a lockdown in the way that the rest of the world did, but this period of time allowed me to be still and to zoom out and focus on the bigger picture. I was able to spend more time in our studio, being creative, unencumbered by last minute flights to the other side of the world and the somewhat relentless schedule that we had all normalised and taken for granted. Spending time with my kids has been the greatest upside. Watching them on Tik Tok was not!

Did you still wear perfume during the Covid-19 lockdown? Why?

Believe it or not I rarely wear perfume—as there was little lockdown in Stockholm I was on a good routine and Palermo was still with me throughout. Candles and home sprays are always part of our daily home life too. What I did find myself using more was hand cream—anti-bac is so drying on your hands. 

Any exciting projects you’re working on?

Too many to name as always. But something I’m really proud of this year is Byproduct, which is a range of items from vases to beach towels to sunglasses that has become my way to express all the creative ideas I have that don’t fit specifically into fragrance or make-up. I am conventionally a beauty outsider and my ideas don’t always fit into a bottle or a compact, so to have a platform to express those ideas is one of the most satisfying things about Byredo.


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