Interview

An Interview With Couture Designer Tobias Malfoy

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…

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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.

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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.

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A Chat With Delicious Monster Tea

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you’ll know that I used to interview welsh designers pretty regularly. So far I’ve chatted to some of my creative faves including Swag and Tassel and Xandra Jane and I’m so excited that I’m finally getting around to writing some more.

I first spotted Delicious Monster Tea on Instagram after seeing Claire’s t-shirts everywhere and I haven’t stopped following since. From the pink colour scheme to the super cheeky slogans (my personal fave is “thick thighs, thin patience”) there’s nothing not to love. Now that she’s taking the venture full time I thought it was the perfect opportunity to sit down and talk all things embroidery.

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I LOVE the name Delicious Monster Tea, where did it come from?

I wish I had a good answer to this question!! The idea came from the giant monstera plant we have in the lounge (Latin name: monstera deliciosa). I’m not sure where the tea bit came from, but basically it means absolutely nothing!

The slogans on your tees always make me giggle, what was the first one you embroidered?

The first one I did was a “ladyboss” one on a white tee from Primark, and then I want on a spree embroidering everything I owned!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BeKlYjDHGd5/?taken-by=deliciousmonstertea

 

You quit your 9-5! Yass! Living the dream! What’s instore for your brand now that you have so much extra time on your hands?

I can finally start ticking things off my to do list!! I have a few weeks left at work, but I am so stupidly ridiculously excited to finally make a start on the things that have been itching in my brain over the past year. Top of the list are vest tops, embroidery workshops and some DIY blogs.

You’re so active online and I love your Insta stories! How has social media helped to grow your business?

Thank you! I didn’t have any form of social media before I started the business, so it has been a very steep learning curve, and there are often days when I think “what the fuck have I got left to say?!” I haven’t quite figured out Facebook, but I’ve fallen in love with Insta and have ended up meeting so many people from the grid in real life. To be totally honest, my business wouldn’t exist without social media. About 90% of customers currently come from Instagram. I worry that I rely on it too much (there’s a lot of fear mongering at the moment about “what will happen when Instagram dies?”), so on my list for the next few months is to get out and about in the real world, shouting about Delicious Monster Tea.

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#notyourbabe 💁 (📷 by @the.littlenomad)

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You’re one of my favourite girl bosses in Wales, are there any others who inspire you?

OH, SO MANY!! Again, Instagram is a great tool for finding small businesses and learning from them. @themonday.club (a group of women in business in South Wales, run by @theroamingcaravanco and @sadlerjones) has introduced me to so many great women who are doing their own thing and absolutely smashing it. There are too many to list, but my favourites at the moment are: @potyertitsawayluv (boobs and ceramics), @jazmoodie (embroidered nudes), @tayneetinsley (gorgeous illustration of lovely naked ladies)…..there’s definitely a theme there!

 

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Betty Rae Vintage Interviews Me

After my little trip to BFW I was approached my Anam from Betty Rae Vintage to do an interview for their blog. I love the website and she had some really good questions, so I decided to share the answers here to. If you like vintage I recommend checking out their website BettyRaeVintage.com or find more Vintage related posts on their blog http://bettyraevintage.blogspot.co.uk.

brCan you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?
So, I’m 23 and I recently graduated from UCA Epsom in Fashion Womenswear. I started my blog after I finished studying- it was something I wanted to do for a long time and I was in need of a creative project to keep me motivated. Style Rarebit is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog full of lists, photographs and advice that I hope readers will find entertaining and useful.

You mentioned on Style Rarebit that you started blogging quite recently. Do you have any advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
My main piece of advice would be to make sure to get involved with your local blogging community. People who have been blogging for a long time are a wealth of helpful knowledge and are always the first to know about events that are happening nearby. I think it’s also really important to self-promote when you’re first starting out. I really loathed the idea of tweeting and sharing my posts, and I felt a bit embarrassed sharing my blog but I’ve got over that now. Opportunities don’t find you, so it’s really about getting it out there and making people aware of what you’re creating.

We love the way you mix vintage and contemporary fashion in some of your outfits. What’s your favourite vintage item?
Well, firstly, thank you! I’ve loved vintage since I was little and my grandmothers started passing down designer gems to me. My favourite piece at the moment is this Neiman Marcus dress which I think is from the mid-1960s. It has this block of crazy bright pink and I always get a lot of compliments in that dress. It also has pockets, I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with that, but there’s just something really cool about a smart dress having secret pockets.

What did you most love about Bristol Fashion Week?
I loved the ‘So You Think You Want to Work in Fashion?’ Q&A hosted after the show. I know it was really a side note and not as all singing/dancing as the main event, but I just felt I learnt a lot in that hour of time. I particularly connected to Shelly Vella and Jørgen Simonsen, I thought they both had some really concise advice about breaking into the industry. I actually tweeted about Simonsen straight after the show, I just felt he had such a great energy and passion for what he does and that’s really lovely to see.

Which of the trends on the catwalks of Bristol Fashion Week are you most excited about for Spring/Summer 2015?
I would definitely have to go with Utility, I just fell in love with everything from the Marc Jacobs show and I feel it’s the easiest trend to adapt into your wardrobe. Saying that though, I’m coveting some 70s platforms too, but it’s hard for a girl to choose just one!

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