There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a new account on Instagram that you absolutely love. I know because that’s exactly how I felt when I first saw designer Tobias Malfoy’s feed. His monochrome, minimal aesthetic really spoke to me and in particular a gorgeous, black, lace up jumpsuit that was to die for. I feel like he’s a young designer that has a real appreciation for good tailoring and the talent to execute it. As a recent graduate he’s decided to set up his own studio here in Cardiff, making him the perfect person to interview for my blog. Here’s what he had to say…
Graduating from a creative degree can be pretty tough but you’ve done so well since leaving uni, do you have any advice for graduates?
Thank you so much, my success is purely down to hard work, determination and passion. My advice to fashion/creative graduates is to find your niche and carve your own path. So many follow the same journey to join the fashion industry, but I think it’s so much better find what you really love doing, focus on that and be yourself.
What made you want to start your own line over working for another brand?
I followed my own advice, I wanted to stay in Wales and set up a business focusing on creating high-end styles in a way that I’m really passionate about. Everything I do is hand-made using Haute Couture techniques with fine fabrics and materials, something I wouldn’t be able to do if I was working for another company.
I have interned for fashion designers/labels, whilst I enjoyed my time working for other people I always felt like I wanted to be my own boss and make my own decisions. The passion for what I do really drives me forward, my failures are my own but my successes are my own too and that really does give you a sense of pride and accomplishment you can only learn from taking the leap and going solo. It was a challenge setting up my own label, it still is a challenge but I enjoy it so much and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m excited for what the future holds for me.
What’s a typical day in the studio like for you?
A typical day in the studio for me usually starts around lunchtime, I like my sleep and my brain doesn’t seem to kick into action until after noon! I have a beautiful view overlooking the water of Cardiff Bay, so it is always flooded with natural daylight, the first thing I do everyday is open the curtains and put on some music. I have a pretty eclectic taste in music, many would say awful but music is key to getting work done for me. ABBA, Blink-182, Poppy, plus my carefully curated playlists can always be heard coming from my studio.
I spend most of my day sewing, pattern drafting and packaging orders. Going to the post office is always a nice little break from work, I walk there so it’s a little bit of exercise, fresh air and allows me to get my daily dose of Pokemon Go. Then it’s back to sewing usually, I work till quite late most days, Im definitely more of a ‘night owl’ as I can happily work until 1/2AM. I do of course take regular breaks, and I always make time to go cook, have dinner and watch Netiflix with my wonderfully supportive boyfriend. He sometimes surprises me with cookies when he comes home with work and it honestly makes my day.
Who is the Tobias Malfoy woman?
The Tobias Malfoy woman.. I think she’d be a pretty awesome person. She would be someone who truly loves and appreciates fashion and style, someone who respects trends but isn’t a slave to them, someone who can appreciate the craftsmanship, talent and artistry that has gone into the pieces she is wearing. I feel that she could be the curator of her own wardrobe, each item carefully selected and each item loved dearly. She would be the sort of woman to buy less, but buy well; quality is very important to her. I would like to meet her one day, and I’m sure I will.
Are there any other designers or creatives in Wales that you love?
Wales is full of amazing, creative and talented people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many during my time at university and at events such as Cardiff Fashion Week. I absolutely love what The Sustainable Studio has done, it’s so great to have a space for creatives in Cardiff and there are so many awesome people there doing awesome things. I would definitely like to have a space there one day, being surrounded by other creative souls is just so inspiring. BEWT Studios is another great place, I’ve had the pleasure of working with them and I look forward to doing more there in the future, my debut collection was shot there and it’s such a beautiful building. Tailor Green at the Castle Emporium; he was the first boutique to stock my work and he’s not just a great guy to work with but he’s such a close friend now. His store is a hidden gem in Cardiff, he stocks vintage pieces, festival/club/drag wear and my own label. You are likely to find me in there on my days off, having a good chat and planning future events and projects! Finally, I have to mention Wenda James-Rowe, I was fortunate to work with her during CFW2018. She’s an incredible woman, from her styling talents to her charity work, I’m excited to work with her again at future Cardiff Fashion Week events.
Loved this? Click here for more chat with my fave Welsh creatives.