From New York
After assisting cult NYC designers Threeasfour, Camilla Staerk, and Jean Yu, Titania Inglis struck out on her own with her self-titled modern, minimal collection featuring inventive pattern cuts, a bit of nineties nostalgia, and a serious social conscience. Just don’t call her an eco-designer. Here, a few questions with the Brooklyn-based winner of this year’s Ecco Domani Sustainable Design Award. –Eviana
What are your design influences?
As a child, I studied my mother’s Vogue magazines endlessly, while my architect father loved to teach me about geometric forms. The line reflects both sides: the glamour of the female figure and the art of dressing well, combined with the streamlined, mathematical shapes of modern architecture. I admire Tadao Ando and Ann Demeulemeester equally, and my design philosophy comes from the product designer Dieter Rams: “Less, but better.”
Why did you decide to start designing with sustainability in mind?
Having grown up amid the amazing woodlands and waterfalls of upstate New York, I couldn’t imagine designing without keeping our environment in mind. We all buy so many clothes these days that about 13 million tons of textiles were thrown away in the US last year, and I wanted to contribute as little as possible to that mountain of waste.
Why don't you call yourself "eco"?
The word “eco” has been thrown around so much that for me it’s lost all meaning. I prefer the term “thoughtful fashion”, because I consider the entire lifespan of each piece—from the origin of the fabric, to how its owner will wear and wash it, to how it can be recycled when it finally wears out.
What's your fall collection all about?
I channeled the “My So-Called Life” ‘90s grunge look, crossed with the architectural lines of medieval armor to add a dark sophistication. The key materials were vegetable-tanned leather from France; a linen-and-recycled-cotton plaid from Japan; and a cupro satin that looks and feels like washed silk, also from Japan.
What are five things a reader can do to be more earth-conscious in terms of fashion and style?
1. Buy vintage and remade! I’ve long been a fan of UO’s Urban Renewal line.
2. Get creative with damaged clothes. Turn a ripped dress into a top, patch your holey jeans in a cool way, or dye a stained T-shirt a darker color.
3. Freeze your jeans instead of washing them. It kills the smelly bacteria but doesn’t wear out the fabric.
4. Hold a clothing swap with your friends. It’s like shopping in everyone else’s closet!
5. If you have a choice between standard and organic, pick organic. Those few dollars go a long way towards caring for the farmland where the cotton was grown.