STORY BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – Shop TOSIA – PHOTOS BY JOANNE PIO for The Style Line
“New York is deeply ingrained in me…
I grew up here and never fail to be inspired by the freedom of spirit of the city,” says designer Sara Hankin. “Being around so much diversity and culture really reminds you of what a big world we live in and how much potential there is to reach for, which helps keep things in perspective when I’m feeling overwhelmed.”
New York City is truly the epicenter for creative talent who are looking to make their mark on a global scale. So you can imagine our excitement when we got the opportunity to spend some time with a city native and seasoned fashion designer. Enter Sara Hankin of contemporary womenswear brand Tosia. From her Flatiron atelier to running around the Garment District, Sara kindly invited us to glimpse into what life as a designer is truly like in the city that never sleeps.
During our time together, we also had a chance to chat with the budding entrepreneur on the role diversity plays in the choices NYC designers have in not only design but in production – which we discovered also meets the needs shoppers who are showing more and more interest in how and where their clothing is made. “[It is] such an important part of Tosia since we make everything in New York City,” Sara explained in our interview below. “So that is one topic I hope to see a continued growth of interest in.”
As are we.
Without giving too much away, read on to learn more about the dynamic woman at the helm of this promising brand, take a virtual tour of Sara’s truly beautiful design studio and experience her exciting New York minute. We guarantee it’s worth making time for.
“Fashion is probably the most overt and immediate way we communicate who we are to the outside world.”
*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MAY 2015 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE INTRODUCTION AND LAYOUT
My name is Sara Hankin
and I am the founder of Tosia. I am an aesthete to the core and have always been enamored by anything of artistic value. I spend much of my free time pursuing things that inspire me, such as reading, exploring new artists, seeing interesting films, and discovering a wide range of music. I’ve been lucky to surround myself with a wonderful family and vibrant friends who energize me in many different ways. I try to do something every day for my body and my mind to balance out the natural stresses of life. I’m very lucky to be doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do professionally, and I feel quite grateful for that.
Through Tosia and your own personal involvement in the industry, how do you try to maintain a thoughtful approach to fashion?
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What I really wanted were elevated essentials: pieces that were subdued and yet strong, modern yet familiar, and feminine but not girly. I wanted a season-less trench coat, a perfect white shirt, and something I could feel comfortable enough wearing to a party without feeling like I was playing dress up. Since Tosia’s inception, I try to design each season with that concept in mind: What do I need in my wardrobe and what could be improved? The older I get, the less clutter I want in my own closet, so I try to design every piece as thoughtfully as possible so nothing feels superfluous.
How has your work with Tosia inspired your sartorial preferences and personal design aesthetic?
My personal aesthetic has evolved over the years, but at the core, I’ve always been attracted to clean lines and tactile fabrics. I think seeing what my customers and the women in my own life respond to has been the most influential on my personal aesthetic and perspective. Something I’m very interested in is comfort and versatility. I think it is incredibly sexy to feel effortless and comfortable in your own skin, so I try to make every piece the thing you reach for in your closet that’s going to make you feel your best.