Canadian fashion designer Tanya Taylor is having a breakout moment: she’s just been announced as one of this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists and can now count Michelle Obama as a fan. (FLOTUS has worn two of her designs in the past month!) We caught up with Taylor in advance of her resort 2015 preview in Toronto and talked about these exciting new developments.
Congratulations on your CFDA nomination! Can you tell us about the process? It started about two months ago with the applications; there are two rounds. A lot of sleepless nights, two full days at the office editing things, and then yesterday a phone call came from Steven Kolb [CEO of the CFDA] at around 11 a.m. I couldn’t have been happier; the whole team was jumping up and down! And last night was the awards [announcement party].
What’s been the best thing so far? Being there yesterday with people that I’ve looked up to as mentors for years was so amazing. Also, just hearing reactions from the judges on what they thought about our application.
What has been a bigger highlight for you this year: Michelle Obama wearing your designs or being a CFDA finalist? Well, both have been incredible. I think Mark Holgate mentioning that Michelle Obama wore [Tanya Taylor] in the same sentence as congratulating me on the CFDA was a highlight.
You’re showing your resort collection in Toronto today; tell me about it. Resort was really fun! It was our first time doing a resort collection and I wanted to present something really edited. We worked with artist Kalen Hollomon—I was really inspired by the way he does collages in his artwork, so there is an element of collage in a lot of the pieces. It’s a red, blue, black and white story that’s really clean and very urban.
You launched the collection on Instagram? I’m finding that Instagram is such an interesting way to talk to our customers, and we’re getting great feedback from women and also just reaching a wider audience.
As a younger designer, what kind of impact has social media had on your business? It’s huge. I think it’s the way we’re communicating with people directly now. We don’t have e-commerce yet so it’s our direct platform for showing people how we see things styled, and the fun ways I’m living life wearing the pieces.
For spring, you’re going to be showing at New York fashion week. Any hints about what we can expect to see? I’m really loving saturated bright oranges and blues, and we’re doing really cool accessories in those colours. And then it’s back to a really clean, white palette and a lot of texture. There’s also a houndstooth [motif] that I keep painting and using stencils to represent throughout the collection, but I’m still figuring out how that will come into play.