FEIT GUARDIAN SERIES 2017
Over the next year, FEIT will debut a series of creative dialogues with likeminded guardians of neoluxury across disciplines of design. The first of the FEIT Guardian Series is with British designers Faye and Erica Toogood of TOOGOOD.
I first came across TOOGOOD clothing in 2014 and was very impressed with their hand, choice of materials, and the interesting way in which they highlighted and credited human involvement. I immediately recognized the commonality between our approaches.
Only later did I find out that it was two sisters behind the brand: Faye and Erica Toogood, one a tinker and the other a tailor. Although the last name is so unique, it took me some time to put together that TOOGOOD was in part the product of Faye Toogood, whose work in interiors and design had caught my attention on several occasions.
The universe provided, and a natural dialogue began at the time each company was creating their Spring collection. The result was an exchange of expertise, in which FEIT transformed its Hand Sewn collection into 100 pairs of the Artist Shoe made to accompany TOOGOOD’s Collection 006 with a limited number hand-painted in New York, and TOOGOOD transformed FEIT’s New York flagship with a site-specific installation, on view through the end of March.
In January, I visited the TOOGOOD design studio in London and sat down with both of the sisters.
TULL: What's your FEIT [fight]?
FAYE: For me…what’s my fight...I think to be an outsider to a certain extent, for us to remain on the outside of the design world, on the outside of the fashion world, on the outside of the art world, but to blur the boundaries between all three. And...for us, it’s as important to design a coat as it is to design a tea cup, as it is to design a space. And it’s really, I think, to remain on the outside and to not have to adhere to any rules.
ERICA: My fight, particularly one that I find runs true to our work is noting, and giving everyone who’s involved in the process a voice and a space on our passports. So, everyone from the designer, the cutter, the seamstress, the presser, the finisher, everyone is noted. The stockist is important, the wearer is important, and I think that’s a general thing across the world is that everyone is involved, one peaceful sort of space.
TULL: What or who inspires you to FEIT [fight]?
FAYE: Who inspires me to fight...I think...when I was younger I went to Barbara Hepworth’s studio in St. Ives in Cornwall in the south of England. And...she was a sculptor in the early part of the century. A modernist sculptor. And to see her studio, which has been left exactly the way it was when she put her chisel down...it’s been untouched...was so incredibly inspiring. To see this woman chiseling away at large pieces of rock, relentlessly was overwhelmingly inspiring. And I think at that point I realised that I wanted to that, that I wanted to make things, and to some extent I wanted to be a sculptor. Whether it’s sculpting with clothes or it’s sculpting with furniture, in the end that hasn’t made the difference, but really that battling with materials, and being relentless.
ERICA: It is...I have to say, in our studio where we work, we have a people that are architects, sculptors, product designers, fashion designers...you come into a space where everyone has a different view on their world, and those people are the people that will introduce to things and make you see life in a different way. If I put a jacket on an architect, he’s got a very different thing to say than my fashion designer trained assistant. So I think, for me, it’s about the people you surround yourself with...that’s my FEIT…and the people who inspire me.
TULL: So, why did you guys decide to work with FEIT?
FAYE: Well, firstly because they are such nice people...and…I think always, for us, it’s important to find like-minded people, people that are thinking the same way, and whether you are working on the other side of the world or next door to each other, if your mindset is in the same place, then immediately that makes collaboration really interesting. And also, it means that it’s very much the coming together of two minds. But I think, TOOGOOD and FEIT, we share a sense of craftsmanship and we share a sense of passion for materials, and then also, this revealing of how the pieces are made, and the idea that it’s not mass, it’s limited to what’s possible, one person’s possibility of making things….and really coming at it from a similar point of view, whether it’s a shoe or a coat, we find a unified way of thinking about...making.
ERICA: We were so excited to work with FEIT, the similarity in not only aesthetic... uniform... the idea of something lasting, and being a really precious product, something that time after time we see that a particular jacket comes in...for us, the beekeeper jacket has been with us since day one, with FEIT it’s also true with the styles, they come back, they’re perfected again in the same familiar fabric. The product is a sort of old, loyal friend to the client. And also a similar aesthetic and thinking behind the whole attitude.
TOOGOOD Collection 006 takes inspiration from traditional workwear and England’s long history of
trades and handcrafts, transforming the idea of a uniform into a mark of individuality. Pictured above
are the Calicos, recurring pieces from their unisex outerwear collection in raw calico fabric.
In 2013, Faye Toogood transformed the ground floor of the Hermes Bond Street store with a
series of sculptural displays in glossy displays and resin.
The Stone Mason, part of the Cloakroom Installation as a part of London Design Festival at
the Victoria and Albert Museum in September 2015. Visitors were invited to check out one
of 150 TOOGOOD coats to wear around the museum. Each coat had a sewn-in map to guide
the visitor to ten sculptural garments created by TOOGOOD in response to nearby objects
from the Museum’s collection.