Tanya Taylor is a Toronto-bred and New York-based fashion designer who has been dubbed a promising up-and-comer by everyone from WWD to Style.com. Stocked at Holt Renfrew in Canada and at luxury retailers from New York to Japan, Tanya Taylor’s namesake label has a feminine and refined ease with international appeal.
Tanya started her line in 2011 after graduating from New York’s esteemed Parsons New School of Design and a stint at Elizabeth and James. At just 27, she now shows her Tanya Taylor collection – highlighted by interesting colour combinations and embellishments – at New York Fashion Week among the fashion elite. Though she’s had success thrust upon her quickly and at a young age, Tanya has a good head on her shoulders, a philanthropic outlook and an inspiring entrepreneurial spirit.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Tanya Taylor is a womenswear designer brand that is dedicated to designing feminine, playful and sophisticated sportswear. We dream, design and produce our collections exclusively in NYC.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I started my business because I was itching to take a risk. I graduated with a BComm from McGill and spent four years in New York studying design at Parsons and working, and I felt a strong personal need to find a career I loved that could combine both interests. I trusted my instincts and felt the time was right, even though I had very limited knowledge on where to begin.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of what I do is learning from and working with amazing people. I love my NY team and am so happy that every day brings a new challenge that we all work together to get through. The most challenging part of my day is balancing being a manager with having the time to feel creative and clear-headed.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
I see my business building on the foundation we have established to become a more respected and inspiring womenswear brand in the industry. I am a big dreamer and see our business growing in terms of distribution, industry recognition and product categories. I strongly believe our success will come from hard work, always surrounding ourselves with smart advisors, and bringing positivity to every step we take.
What does success look like to you?
Short-term success will be celebrating with our team after our first runway show on Sept 5th and feeling like “we did it!” Long-term success is seeing our creativity make women feel more beautiful.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
One of the most memorable milestones in my career has been recently seeing the collection sold at Holt Renfrew Bloor St. I grew up going to Holt Renfrew with my mom and it was so meaningful to see our FW13 collection hanging there. The other most memorable moments were when I went to Vogue the first time and when we were included in the Style.com dropdown menu for SS13 – I screamed and jumped up and down.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Surround yourself with people who know more than you do and who are willing to mentor you in the dos and don’ts they have learned in their career. It is hard sometimes to have the confidence to push forward and take risks when you are young, so be a good listener. I truly believe there is no greater mistake than doing nothing, so sometimes you just have to jump in and trust your instincts!
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am an active member of our family foundation, LesLois Shaw Foundation, and am a strong supporter of Sick Kids Hospital, RxArt, Big Sisters Big Brothers Organization, True Patriot Love Foundation and the Clinton Foundation. It is important to me to be involved with these organizations because I am very interested in the work they do, the change they are making in the world, and the message they are promoting. My parents both worked for the Red Cross for years and are very actively involved with various philanthropic endeavours and have thankfully taught me the importance of supporting projects and causes you are passionate about.
What is Notable to you?
Notable means following your dreams with integrity.
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How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I love exploring New York and walking as much as I can on the weekends around the city. I do Soul Cycle twice a week and try to fit in a late night of dancing weekly. Being around music and friends always makes me energetic!