We have been intrigued by the world of VICTORIA/TOMAS ever since they were finalists at the esteemed Hyères Festival back in 2013. What is striking about this design duo, is their persistence to do things their own way. The collections are entirely handcrafted in France, which at times must be a most painstakingly and challenging process. However, Victoria and Tomas, are able to exist and grow in a world of increasing mass consumption, by simply being different. Their world is filled with sincerity and the will to express craftsmanship with a clear idea on what constitutes fashion.
How did you both grow up and what led you to where you are today?
Victoria: I was born and raised in Russia but moved to France, together with my family, at the age of 17. Having studied at the French school in Moscow, I was already accustomed to the culture so it wasn’t all that difficult for me. While growing up, I always felt very connected to art so I chose to follow a variety of different art and design studies. That allowed me to search for the best way to develop my skills and give them the right direction.
Tomas: My teenage life was more concentrated on clubbing, wasting time, making new friends and quite frankly- showing off. As I student I was never at the top of my class, however people did find me very thoughtful and creative. At one point, as a teenager, suddenly everything around me became so pointless and boring, living in a small city where nothing really changed. During a random party, a friend and I, had a discussion about our future and what we could do with it. It started as an extremely spontaneous idea to go study fashion abroad, although none of us knew what that was about. Due to circumstances, I ended up going alone and when I arrived to Paris, it was not as easy as I thought it would be. I spent a lot of time catching up with the hard rhythm of fashion. In the end of my first year, I met Victoria, and the rest is history.
Well, first of all the two names reflect our main reference in creation, the combination of a woman and a man. Through our label, we express our personal and unique vision of modern womenswear with a masculine twist. We inspire each other and we truly believe in our dialogue. It means a lot for us, as the line between our work and our personal lives remains quite blurred.
Victoria what characteristic do you admire most about Tomas?
His precision, creativity and tenderness. He knows what he wants and what we both need. I always feel very protected.
And vice versa, Tomas?
I can easily say the same about Victoria while adding that she is extremely organized and a real chief. I am sure that it would be a huge creative ‘mess’ without her businesswoman side.
This collection was all about light and purity, inspired by our summer time in the south of France, that we tried to integrate into the city life. We are currently creating the codes of our brand, looking back at our first collections, analyzing what is really important and what is not, rebuilding the key pieces, adding a new touch to the fabrics and to our favourite leathers. We simply choose to strip down the collections each time, to only leave what is relevant and necessary.
Let’s go back to the Hyères Festival back in 2013, as it must have been a wonderful start. What are the lessons you have learned since?
We had a full load of energy and motivation after Hyères, especially when you receive wonderful feedback, business cards from respected people, features in international press and other great things. It was a great start for our second collection. We never had financial support or many years of experience. VICTORIA/TOMAS is entirely self-made, so in terms of business we learn a lot everyday by facing different aspects of the commercial side of fashion. The latest lesson we have learned is- you cannot satisfy everyone’s needs. You need to stay very focused and move purposefully to your aims.
They should know the difference between talent, skills and commerce. To be sure you are on the right track, you should know the aspects of business and also be extremely patient. This game we call fashion, can easily eat you up with no mercy, despite how much talent you have, therefore you need to be resilient.
Some tough advise, but very true indeed. Lastly, I wanted to touch upon the idea of isolation. How does this contribute to your work and crafting the collections?
There are both, positive and negative moments of course. Isolation is a good place for thinking and for certain creative processes but there are also moments when you need to feel the beat of the city, especially at our age, as it provides both us and the collections with the much necessary energy.
As featured in Chasseur issue #10 – LOVE ALONE (SS15)