Fashion is one of our favorite mediums because it can convey so many different disciplines and ideas. When executed properly, it can become a beautiful collage of seemingly endless influences. One of our favorite designers of the moment is New York's Titania Inglis. One look at her pieces and you immediately see right into her world. While drawing from several sources of inspiration, Ms. Inglis also exercises the perfect amount of restraint, creating minimal clothing that is still able to speak volumes. We reached out to the designer to share our enthusiasm with her brand and asked her a few questions about her design process and her latest collection. Please find the Q&A below.
The Brvtalist: You worked under some great designers before launching your own line in 2009. Talk a little bit about that process. What was your initial vision for the brand and has that changed or morphed at all over time?
Titania Inglis: The brand has grown and morphed in ways I hadn’t expected — like a literary character, it’s taken on a life of its own, becoming more mature and elegant than I had foreseen. Interestingly, it feels like I’ve grown along with it rather than the other way around. I have tremendous respect for all of the designers I worked with; it was an honor to be able to learn at their sides, and to be a part of their visions.
TB: We were immediately drawn to your dark, minimal aesthetic that incorporates nature and architecture as well. I always love hearing about what influences designers. This can include art, film, music and more.
TI: For me, the two things that shine through my loves of rock’n’roll and of nature: the dark bravado of the first, and the breathtaking sweep and quiet of the latter. Beyond that, my father is an architect and raised me with an extensive knowledge of geometry and art history; I find architecture and natural structures endlessly fascinating.
TB: I also think it's safe to say that your brand is very eco-driven. How do your concerns about the environment and sustainability play into your designs? Do you think it changes the way you approach a line?
TI: Absolutely; every decision (well, almost) is taken with thought to its long-term ramifications. When I dip-dye a hem, it’s partly for the look, and partly because it won’t show dirt if it touches the ground. I like to approach each collection as if it were a complete, self-contained wardrobe: what does my customer want to wear from day into evening? If she’s packing for a weeklong trip, can she mix and match these 10 pieces to get any look she needs?
TB: I love how much your pieces look like they are equally at home in nature as in a cosmopolitan city center. Who is your ideal customer and what do you clothes equip them to do or be?
TI: My dream customer would be Björk or Tilda Swinton: a free spirit, worldly but happiest in the wilderness, self-possessed and ready to tear down the walls of convention. If she can wear my dress for climbing a mountain and then to a gala, then I’m happy.
TB: Let's talk a little bit about A/W 2015 - beautiful dresses, architectural outerwear and even a few lighter tones mixed in to the color palate. Tell us about the concept behind this season and what you set out to do with this line.
TI: The Autumn 2015 collection came out of a trek I went on in Peru last December; it was a place so otherworldly and yet so grounded, with stunning landscapes sheltering a rich history of textiles — and a people who still, to this day, create their clothing from absolute scratch, starting with raising the animals. It gave both a dramatic visual inspiration and a technical grounding; after watching the Andean women hand-dye their fabrics with locally grown dyes, I was inspired to try dyeing with food waste, and to create pieces that reflected the grandeur of the Peruvian landscape, with its soft, organic color palette.
TB: I also wanted to comment on the accessories. Love the long chokers, harnesses and the Crevasse bag is amazing (would you consider it unisex b/c I may need it!) Are accessories newer for you? They seem to be the perfect finishing touches for your pieces. How do you think they compliment your clothes and what do you want to say or do with these items?
TI: Thank you! Accessories are newer for the line, but not for me personally; I started making belts and wallets (all unisex!) as a side project while I was in design school. Creatively, I’ve never restricted myself to any one type of design, but as a business strategy, I made a conscious decision to establish a reputation in womenswear before branching out in other directions. Ultimately, I’d love to create a complete lifestyle collection — shoes, home textiles, furniture are all within the realm of possibility (and are areas I’ve dabbled in), and creating pieces that reflect both my minimalist ethos and aesthetic would be a delightful challenge.
TB: What's next for Titania Inglis?
TI: Now that the company is becoming a little bit more established, I’ve been looking back at my big, sweeping reasons for starting the line in the first place — the idea of creating clothing for a better world — and how to get that vision in front of the public. The whole concept of design, and therefore of industrial production, has generated enormous changes in society, for better and for worse, and I want to be a part of making it for better and for better. That means rethinking the whole production process: designing for simple, sophisticated manufacture so as not to be creating tedious, low-paid jobs, reducing or eliminating waste, and at the same time maintaining a relatively accessible price point. How do we include pleasure in both the manufacturing process and the final product? A design school teacher once called me a hedonist; my goal is to create room for everyone to be a hedonist, the farmers and dyers and sewers and wearers alike.
The Brvtalist would like to thank Ms. Inglis for her wonderful responses and taking the time out to discuss her line with us. We love her commitment to sustainability and her approach to fashion is very refreshing. For more information and e-boutique, please visit Titania Inglis.
Photographer: Julia Comita
Model: Maya Tucker
Makeup: Janet Mariscal