O N N O W
I N T E R V I E W
S E R I E S # 9
published by Naz Kisnisci
5 May. 2021
1. Hi Sasha and Arianna, nice to meet you! Could you please present yourself and your brand to our readers?
Sasha: Hello PAP! I’m Sasha, a 26-year-old Mancunian living in Milano. I am the creative director and 50% of TYT, luxury unisex hosiery!
Arianna: Hey there, I’m Arianna! I’m an Italian womenswear fashion designer and co-founder of TYT!
2. Your brand is focused on the production of luxury hosiery, featuring colorful and playful designs.
What made you decide to venture into this niche sector?
Sasha: After finishing a terrible experience as an intern, I was letting off steam in a convo with Ari when we decided we wanted to start a project together. I was always on the hunt for bold hosiery but could never find anything wacky enough to suit my wardrobe, and so arose the idea. TYT was born.
Arianna: We thought it was an unexplored sector in fashion, we both love prints and colors, so we decided to start working on this, at first we didn’t even want to make a brand, we just wanted to have fun making funky tights, then it slowly became something more structured!
3. Could you briefly explain to our readers your creative and technical process when making a design?
Arianna: It’s pretty authentic, we start doing research mainly starting from our own archives, taking inspiration from pictures from our friends or families, and then we try to fuse our 2 heritages together, bringing together a mix of Italy and England.
Sasha: Regarding the technical part it was the biggest challenge trying to understand how something printed could work around a leg: where to place the details, how to make the shapes look appealing, and also flattering for people with different builds to ours. I think we sampled for around a year before we were convinced with our first collection. Now the process it’s definitely much more straightforward as we have developed specific tips and tricks in order to not waste time/money/products whilst sampling.
4. TYT’s world is bold and full of pop references. Furthermore, elements of the family register, such as photos of relatives and childhood objects, can be found in your work. What is the motivation and inspiration behind your esthetic?
Sasha: We were both raised in totally diverse settings with different upbringings, yet we have so much in common. I guess the amusing part is merging our two experiences together to produce contrasting themes, that somehow complement each other!
Arianna: I think everything is always very spontaneous, which is what makes people relate to it so much, they don’t really understand what’s going on in the designs, but somehow they find a connection in our collections. We hope we can dive into our archives forever, when we finish the photos, we’ll see!
5. What message and values would you like to convey to your audience through your images and designs?
Arianna: I guess our brand is pretty self-oriented, but at the same time people can relate to it! For example, when we launched the first collection which was mainly inspired by our grandma's many people in that period in Italy and in the world had lost their grandparents because of the pandemic and this made everyone connect to our stories, we realized how lucky we were to still have them with us and we discovered so many people’s story through our Instagram profile. It was like a tribute to our grandparents and a big moment of sharing during difficult times!
Sasha: TYT is not your average hosiery brand. TYT is ironic, TYT is daring, TYT wearers should never take themselves too seriously! We are so chuffed to have brought something so fun into the world during such a terribleterribile year!
6. Targeting such a niche market can be a bold yet risky move, especially for an emerging brand. However, your bold designs have the potential to attract fashion lovers. Who do you think is TYT's customer? What feelings and sensations would you like your designs to give to the person wearing them?
Sasha: As our motto goes TYT non é per tutti, ma é for everyone. Our goal was to make our brand as gender fluid/wide-ranging as possible. TYT is for souls from all different backgrounds, no matter what your age, race, or dress size. We really hope we manage to communicate this clearly to our customers throughout our profile.
Arianna: Everyone can wear TYT! If you buy it it’s yours! I think we are really lucky, we can already see an online community that is very engaged! I think what makes it very attractive is the fact that we really want people to have fun with them as much as we do!
7. You are a British & Italian duo based in Italy. What made you decide to work together? What do you think the other brings to the brand?
Sasha: Before co-founding TYT, we have actually been BFF for several years. I’m not going to fib and say working with a friend is easy, because we all know the obstacles there are to face when starting a brand. We are growing and learning together, we would have never been able to do this project without each other. She’s a Virgo so extremely organized and precise, which helps me to keep my crazy Gemini booty in line. She also studied fashion design so she’s very aware of the industry and the technical parts. Since day one she’s always been enthusiastic about my absurd ideas, which is definitely encouraging when deciding on new collection themes and researching together. I could literally propose anything and Ari will be like ‘’YES OMG I LOVE IT HUN’’, she trusts my creative vision and gives me a lot of security and confidence. That’s something I’ll forever be grateful for.
Arianna: We wanted to do a project together for a long time and one day Sasha was like: “let’s make tights!”, it started from there in 2018, it took us a while to understand how to do it after that! We like this idea of having 2 different stories and mixing them together, as we both know our respective cultures, but at the same time, we are very attached to our own.
I think we are both very different yet we connect a lot in terms of esthetic which was the reason that brought us together in the first place! We are a good team because Sasha is super dynamic and always brings up ideas, she’s a great person to be around with to stay creative and I’m more the nerdy one who likes to be organized and technical, even though I of course enjoy the creative process of the collection, being the designer myself! The research part is always the most fun, you should see our media, you would probably die!
Anyways the main point is: we have learned how to trust each other in our duties and I think this makes everything easier! Collaboration is the key to a successful brand! One thing I learned from Sash is that often you just need to go and do the thing without overthinking it and that is really just the key sometimes, especially in a hard time like these!
8. How did you adapt to the radical changes you had to face due to the current pandemic? How did you manage to stay creative and manage your brand’s finances in such uncertain times?
Sasha: Luckily we had been working on the first collection for roughly a year before our launch so we were quite excited and inspired, we faced many more challenges designing our Christmas Capsule drop during the lockdown. Thanks to our devoted clientele we managed to stay on top of our expenses with sales and of course pay the collaborators working for us during a global pandemic. I guess the fashion world was reeeeeally missing some funky printed tights!
Arianna: Well we actually launched our brand in the middle of the pandemic, so I guess we just jumped without thinking about it too much. We didn’t make huge amounts of products at first, just to see how it could work, and slowly understood how to balance production and sales! Doing everything for the first time and being completely unaware of all the financial aspects was a risk but it also allowed us to be more lightheaded and experimental about it!
9. We can't talk about emerging talent and contemporary brands without mentioning the topic of sustainability. What is, in your opinion, the truest way to be conscious in the present fashion world? How does your brand approach the issue of sustainability?
Arianna: yes, it’s not even a question of choosing to be sustainable or not. We all need to work towards sustainability now, it’s not an option anymore, well it never was, but especially during this last year, I think we all had to wake up about the environmental issues brought through fashion, even those who didn’t want to. I think being sustainable right now is related to so many different things. Of course, print is something that pollutes and we’ve thought about it a lot. It’s not about being 100% sustainable, unfortunately, the minute you open a brand you aren’t.
Sasha: We currently print our tights in England but we are trying to move all our production to Italy now, reducing our carbon footprint! We visit the factories in which we produce our stock before collaborating, we must be sure the working environments are safe and fair for the laborers there. Our packaging is made from 100% recyclable paper with no plastic whatsoever. We also decided to produce very few pairs of each printed design to see how they sell, then there is always the beauty of a TYT RESTOCK!
10. In your opinion, how important is an online presence for emerging brands?
Arianna: Whether you like it or not, it’s vital! But it’s Sasha that knows all about that!
Sasha: Online presence is everything for TYT, it's all about building relationships and letting our customers interact with our brand on a more personal level, it’s probably the part I have the most fun with. Fortunately, my best friend Elettra Simos is our stylist, it’s so entertaining for us to sit together and construct ironic concepts. ATM we’re super into the whole 2010 Tumblr/lookbook/emo hipster vibe, we recently bought a mini compact camera that does really ugly low-quality pictures and we’re experimenting! You can see immediately when someone has appreciated our work because we make several sales straight after posting, which is definitely motivating!
11. What advice would you give to an upcoming brand, trying to stand out amongst so many others?
Sasha: Credit, pay, and reward your staff and collaborators (the best you can until you make enough money to pay them a hefty fee), share the stage by taking advice from experts who have studied in the field: trust them, they’re only trying to help! Control your ego, is not about eliminating the ego; rather, it’s about accepting it exists and not letting it stand in the way of your success simply because you feel fear or threat. Give and share ideas, tips, and experiences.
Arianna: Just do what you love without thinking too much of what people like / think/wear. If you’re true to yourself people will appreciate it and love you for that!
Another thing is to bring your values in the backhand of your brand, don’t do it just to say it and show it, do it because you believe in it!
One last point I would add is don’t overproduce, don’t over-invest, you don’t need to put so much financial pressure on yourself as a young designer and you don’t need to become the next H&M! Take it slow, but do it when you feel like it’s the right time! Think about it, but not too much, this is what I learned in my recent experience! It might sound contradictory, but isn’t fashion always a big oxymoron?