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Q&A With Biotech Investor Turned Fashion Designer Skye Yayoi Drynan On Her Revolutionary Bareback Intimates Line

Skye Yayoi Drynan
 Photo Courtesy of Matt Ehens

Written In Partnership With Jordan Finkle

The last Friday of August saw one of the most anticipated new collection launches this season from one of today’s most out-of-the box thinking fashion designers. Former biotech investor Skye Yayoi Drynan teamed up with event veteran and producer of Make-A-Wish’s ball in Miami — Clif Loftin — to curate a glamorous cocktail soiree at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu to highlight a brand new genre of women and men’s intimate wear with the intimates line, Bareback.

Powered by patented technology, Skye’s intimates line, Bareback, represents perhaps the biggest evolutionary leap to date for the growing hi-tech, fashion forward apparel vertical. Her backless, strapless transformer bra- equipped with 22 tabs- enables women to style themselves in countless ways, delivering an adjustable matrix for functionality and style that is unprecedented in the fashion market.

After the event, we had a chance to catch up with Skye to learn about her background, what influenced her unorthodox career path, and ultimately how the revolutionary intimates line, Bareback, was born.

House of Skye
Skye On The Step & Repeat; Photo: Jason Sean Weiss/BFA Photo: Jason Sean Weiss/BFA

Q: In doing some initial online research about you, we’ve noticed that you’ve had a very unorthodox career path. From a successful Wall Street investor, and now both a prized fashion designer and recording artist, we were surprised to find out that you grew up in the backwoods of Montana. Tell us about your upbringing?

Skye: As glamorous as my life appears today, growing up my childhood was very simple. I grew up in the mountains of Montana.  Our first home was a log cabin with no running water and my family used an outdoor “outhouse” for a restroom that my dad had decorated with hundreds of sample swatches of flocked gold and silver wallpaper. I was a total tomboy meets girly girl growing up.  I was always the only girl out there playing soccer with all the boys with my frilly dress on during recess. I always loved fashion, even as a little girl. My father, Craig, opened a gift shop in the 1970s on the main street of the little town of Whitefish, Montana where we lived, and from an early age, I always had a job. I began working in my dad’s store Crystal Winters and simultaneously worked 3 different jobs. I have bussed tables; I was a waitress and hostess at our little town’s Mexican restaurant and even worked in the local CD Shop on Sundays. I definitely learned how to hustle, and be productive from an early age.

Skye Yayoi Drynan
A Young Skye skiing with her Father Craig Courtesy of Skye Yayoi Drynan

My parents divorced when I was very young so my dad raised me as a single father. My mom has an infectious joie de vivre and is one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known, from perfect pitch and music composition to original origami folds. Because of certain childhood hardships and lack of established mental health programs it became increasingly difficult for my mom to care for and to nurture me, let alone herself.  My life’s journey eventually led me to dedicate a large portion of my biotech career to funding treatments for mental health. That being said my dad stepped up and became my North Star and the most supportive dad he could be.  I’ll never forget when I was 6 and my dad said to me,” I may not always be here, so it’s important for you to be able to stand on your own two feet, fulfill your own destiny and you can be anything you dream to be.” I feel it was those formative years in Montana that played such an impactful role in developing my tenacity and drive to invent, create, and work to make my dreams come true. And to bring me where I am today. I am definitely a product of my childhood.

Skye Yayoi Drynan
Skye and her Father Craig at The Barebacks Launch; Photo by Matt Ehnes Courtesy of Skye Yayoi Drynan

Q: How did you get into biotech investments on Wall Street? What route did you take?

Skye:  Getting involved in biotech was a circuitous route.  I went to Wellesley for undergrad on a full-ride scholarship; including a book scholarship, because I could not afford all the costs of the books. “So, thank you, Wellesley.”  When I graduated, I thought about joining the Peace Corp and then we had a lot of recruiters from the financial institutions that were head-hunting on my campus. I wish I could say I had this grand plan, but I wasn’t one of those people who knew what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” I had too many interests.  I ended up joining Putnam Investments, a large financial firm that managed a large portfolio of mutual funds and retirement assets. I wasn’t living the dream when I began my journey into finance and the wild world of Wall Street.  My first job was in a call center, which is the equivalent of the mail room.  I hustled and did a series of informational interviews and ultimately was the first person in history at Putnam to go from operations to the investment division.  It was the late 90’s and the beginning of the genomic boom.  I followed my passion for innovation and moonlighted at the Whitehead Institute assisting Francois Gaudet in oncology research while working as a research analyst in the investment division.  During my 22+ year tenure in biopharma, I became a partner at my last firm and one of the largest investors in biopharma globally. I was a Partner & Senior BioPharma Investment Analyst at Capital Group, Senior Analyst at Lord, Abbett & Co., Global Head of Healthcare at Credit Suisse Asset Management & Analyst at New Vernon Associates & Putnam Investments. Also, I currently serve on the Board of Directors of ASAF Angels.

Q: And we understand that the genesis of your Sexy Back Bra arose from your time on Wall Street What was the impetus for creating it and what problem was the bra created to solve?

Skye: Too many wardrobe malfunctions with the mainstream backless bra options (sticky bras).  I’m a 34C.  I needed a bra that provides reliable support that didn’t slip off when I danced, sweated, or breathed.  A miracle bra like that didn’t exist then, so I invented it and globally patented it.  I created the Sexy Back Bra for the everyday girl on the go. With 14+ ways to wear it; including backless styles, my Sexy Back Bra is the solution for women’s style and comfort needs. Our perfect fit technology with our adjustable Smart and Sexy Tab and Strap System creates a more comfortable and smoother back aesthetic. On traditional bra sizing we go up to size 40 A – DD; however, excitingly our unique strapping system means the band size accommodates 40+.  Our customers love that!  Plus, the Sexy Back Bra has a lower carbon footprint. Ultimately, my Sexy Back Bra empowers you to have the freedom to be you.

Skye Yayoi Drynan
Liz Godwin, Skye Yayoi Drynan, Jason Lewis photo by Jason Sean Weiss/BFA Courtesy of Skye Yayoi Drynan

Q: What unique technology is behind the Bareback bra line (Sexy Back Bra) that enabled you to patent it?

Skye: I think science is sexy and so is my bra.  We are revolutionizing everyday intimates at Bareback by creating high-tech, high-function, high-fashion solutions that uniquely balance beauty, comfort and function. Our innovative bra design and technology allowed for 5 Issued Design Patents, 2 Issued Utility Patents and 2 Pending Design Patents In +100 Countries.  Designed with 22 Tabs and 8 Adjustable Straps and over 14 ways to wear it; the Sexy Back Bra is the ultimate transformer bra for a variety of body types.

Q: Have women thanked you already for developing it?

Skye: Women are loving the Sexy Back Bra for its fit, form, support, and “smoother” back aesthetic. Retailers are obsessed with it too because the versatile Sexy Back Bra is an innovative solution for a wide variety of apparel.  We help them sell more clothing.

Q: Is there going to be a next-generation Sexy Back Bra? What does the next level of innovation look like?

Skye: Yes, absolutely. Innovation is the core of our brand DNA. Sorry, though… no spoiler alerts here. Follow me at @skyedrynan for the latest developments.

Q: How does the Men’s Sport Brief similarly improve and enhance the intimates experience for men?

Skye: I’m pioneering “nude” intimates for Men.  This is an untapped opportunity. The Bareback Men’s Sport Brief is the perfect blend of style, sex appeal and comfort. Plus a hidden back pocket lets the wearer discretely carry daily and nightly “essentials.”

Q: Tell us about the launch event for Bareback intimates line at Calamigos Ranch. How would you characterize the night?

Skye: I was so happy to be able to unveil new additions to my Bareback women’s and men’s intimate’s line. I really feel that Bareback is a major disruptors in this apparel category. In addition to seeing the expanded Sexy Back Bra line for the first time, my guests got to see violinist Esther Anaya bring the house down and dance through the night with DJ duo FOREALISM.

Special guests included Nick Cooper, of American Idol, Darius Coleman winner of NBC’s Songland, as well as music artist and producer, Maejor.  Actors Lisa Ann Walters and Jason Lewis (who was just announced as a contestant on the new season of Dancing with the Stars), along with supermodel Liz Godwin also attended.

As can be inferred from the Q&A, Skye’s umbrella company- House of Skye– is as much a tech company as it is a luxury lifestyle company. With its portfolio of innovative and distinct brands, underpinned by globally issued patents, House of Skye’s mission is to make smart solutions for necessities without sacrificing style and beauty for comfort and functionality.

For more information on Skye’ High-Tech, High-Function and High-Fashion label, please visit House of Skye or follow Skye on Instagram.

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