A while ago I came across Toto Design’s photogenic Ice-cream coat: a black fall coat coverd in purple and white melting ice-cream that is slowly trickling down, as if melting on the jacket. It were those last beautiful days of summer, during which you could still enjoy ice-cream outside. Toto’s coat holds on to that feeling of a care-free summer, while keeping you warm during the cold grey winter days. TOTO is a minimalist brand, offering designs that contradict mainstream tendencies and ideas. I asked designer Tonya Vorobyova about her inspirations behind her designs and her dreams for the future- and as it turns out, she has much more interesting ideas, such as transforming vests and wearables for everyday superheroes.
First of all, tell us how and when you created your brand.
The idea to create my own brand came to me when I was still studying at the British Higher School of Design, although at the time these thoughts were not very concrete yet, I didn’t even have a name. In my last year these ideas finally began to take shape, I knew what kind of brand it would be, how I would call it and what kind of clothes I wanted to create for it. By the time I graduated in 2013 it had taken form and was released into the world.
Did you always dream of becoming a designer?
That I would be creating things starting from an idea was something I always knew. Since childhood I have been creating things with my hands, clothing among other things. At that time I never thought I would end up making designer clothing, but that I would be doing something with design in general – that was certain.
What inspires you in all of this?
I’m inspired by the people that surround me, my personal relations and art. My favourite artist is Natalya Goncharova (Russian avantgarde artist from the beginning of the 20th century, S.), I’m just really impressed with the versatility of her talent. In her work I can always find something new for myself.
Tell me, what was the main inspiration for your capsule collection “I am the hero of this story”?
I wanted to make a history of strong minds and brave people, which was inspired by someone close to me. I’m not going to reveal who it was exactly, so that anyone close to me can think they were the inspiration, because all of them are worthy of that in their own way. In a more broad sense the collection is a history about us all, as we all have our own story in which we are the hero, even if nobody knows about it. The collection itself is executed in the best tradition of the brand – monochrome, minimalism and avantgarde. There’s freely moving blouses made of cotton, which can transform in a particular ways, dresses made of silk and eco-leather, transformer-vests, and hand-painted summer coats. I would like for a person who wears my clothes to feel like a hero.
Ready-to-wear or haute couture?
I prefer to create ready-to-wear collections, because I want my clothing to live an actual life, and be owned by real people, so that they live not only on pretty photographs. Although I always create one item in my collection of wearables that is purely conceptual and not very likely to be worn in real life, but captures the idea of the collection and creates a show. For me creating a show is a kind of necessity, I love evoking emotions in the spectator, and this kind of performace is a part of my work.
What are your dreams for the future of your brand?
World domination, haha. I would like to show my collections at European fashion weeks and open showrooms in fashion-capitals. I also plan to release a line of menswear, shoes and accessories. Fame in the world of mass-markets is not something I strive for, I would like for my brand to be known among all the lovers of minimalism and avantgarde in clothing, people who understand fashion and feel my style is close to them.
At which Fashion Week would you most like to show your work, and why?
As far as European fashion weeks are concerned, I would like to present my brand in London. It seems to me that the gloomy weather and the democracy, coupled with conservatism very much reflects the mood of my clothing.