Before receiving the CAFA 2021 International Canadian Designer Award (and just shy of his company’s 10th anniversary), the Toronto native opens up about his career high, overcoming self-doubt and pursuing it.
Watching Tanya Taylor grow her fashion label as a lifestyle brand is like a blossoming flower. Since launching his label in 2012, the New York-based Canadian designer has made his way into the industry himself, taking a stand on matters such as expanding size offerings (Taylor has expanded his regular size from 0 to 22 in 2017 to include Expanded the offer), promoting human connections by encouraging political engagement by hosting lunches with female leaders, and adding a voter registration action button on their website. Recently, he launched Tanya Taylor Mini, a mother-of-the-kids capsule collection.
Shortly before his company’s 10th anniversary, Taylor is being honored in his hometown of Toronto, where he will receive the CAFA 2021 International Canadian Designer Award. Before the virtual ceremony this evening, we caught up with the designer to talk about growth, confidence and fashion post-COVID-19.
How did he grow his community
“When I started the brand, I knew that I wanted to make it a contemporary price point and I wanted it to have a lot of versatility. Our turning point was actually when Michelle Obama started wearing us. It was really interesting because it was at the same time that Beyoncé wore us and Taylor Swift. We started to feel that the brand could talk to women and age, body type, fashion with a wide range of sensibilities. As the community aspects of the brand have grown, so has the collection. And those two things have really inspired each other. Now there’s a lot of depth and range. “
Where he gets creative inspiration
“During the quarantine, our design team really turned to new technologies. We were doing collages, we were melting weird DIY ice cubes, we were getting really creative with the material around us. Outside of that, female artists are always inspiring to me. I have always tried to immerse myself to be able to see new artists and then fall in love with Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, older artists who have the time to really try to be inspiring women There are relevant stories, which were probably less celebratory of female artists. “
Most proud moments of his career
“I was able to bring my mother to the White House to meet Michelle Obama which was great. It was for the last party she did in January.  Before leaving and it was just epic. You had to check your phone at the door, it was a raging dance party and I got the time of my life with my mother. It was special. And then moving into our new office a year and a half ago to be able to build a showroom and a house for us felt like a real step, which I was really proud of. “
He has advice for his younger self
“I was really nervous, starting out, and really, really worried and insecure. Jumping into an industry that’s scary to begin with and where I didn’t know anyone crashed all my nightmares. Were happening [in]. I have had to overcome a lot of social fears. Finding people who build your confidence and find ways to promote yourself in the beginning is really important. “
CAFA receiving 2021 International Canadian Designer Award
“This recognition really inspires our team to feel that they can build. It’s a great moment for us after a lot of hard work. My favorite part of it is that it is mentoring and supporting young designers Helps. I really like talking to young designers who are thinking of entering the industry and are explaining my story of not knowing anyone in New York and not knowing anyone in the industry, and a lot of hard work and curiosity. In terms of what is going to have to be done to maintain it. “
Where she thinks the fashion industry will go after COVID
“There is a lot of focus on responsible manufacturing and responsible development, and more attention is paid to the customer and things are created that will be actually produced and liked. And that doesn’t take away the art of it. I really Glad that people took a second to stop making things and actually retreated to make sure that their brands look the way they like. And I think it helps the market to see each brand’s personality Will create less repetitions and more signatures. “
Canadian fashion on strength
“I have a passion for what Canadian manufacturing might look like in the future. There is such an opportunity for talent here to have access to what they want to build in their own backyard. I think this is something that is on the road. Should exist below and be supported by the government in some way. This is an obstacle I have heard from many young designers in Ontario that they can design something but it is so expensive and necessary to produce outside of Canada Not that they have the contacts to take that step and keep the investment amount. I think there’s something there, and that’s a project I’m working on. Canadians have really unique voices. If we With retail support and manufacturing support, there are a lot of opportunities. ”