Toxo-Philite: The Chic Collection of Chelsea Jones (FSF ’07)

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As a fashion design major at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Chelsea Jones found her clean, sophisticated aesthetic.  Internships in New York fashion houses, small and large, honed her understanding of what it means to work in fashion and the gritty work that really goes in to making a small business run.  She debuted Toxo-Philite at StyleX during the South by Southwest music festival and is currently raising funds for her Spring 2012 Collection.

Read on to hear what Chelsea has she has to say about launching a line and how the YMA FSF has helped her to achieve her dreams.

When did you receive a YMA Fashion Scholarship and what did the experience mean to you?

I received a YMA Fashion Scholarship in 2007.  The whole experience was very encouraging; attending the awards dinner was my first time visiting New York.  Having my talent recognized by the YMA strengthened my confidence in my design work.  It was a definite factor in helping me believe in my ability to pursue creating my own line.

How would you describe the Toxo-Philite girl and where do you find inspiration?

Toxo-Philite translates to “one who loves bows and arrows.”  For me the bow and arrow represent my core design values: beauty, simplicity, function and longevity.  The bow and arrow is a traditional tool that, while going through developments and changes, has lasted hundreds of years and remains much the same.  I think that the person who wears Toxo-Philite is someone who appreciates these values.  It is not a certain type of person, but someone who loves everyday luxury and relaxed sophistication.

I find inspiration in history—from traditional couture techniques to traditional farming practices.  I lived on a farm in France for a short time, and the amount of inspiration I found in everyday farming life was amazing.  I appreciate modern life while the nostalgia of the past is inspiring.  I think because it’s something I will never know, there is a challenge to keep it alive.  As a designer, my goal is to celebrate a return to the innovative craftsman spirit that began the great rise of fashion and style—not to revisit the trends created by early couturiers, but to apply their original principals to future style evolution.

What has been the biggest challenge of launching a line?

Because I live in a city without a fashion industry, sourcing fabrics presented a challenge, but also raised opportunities for innovation in both the creative and business side of my work.  Designing and creating clothing comes naturally for me, so that was the easy part. Right now I’m in the process of raising money to create the next collection; I’m using Kickstarter as the platform.  Raising capital is about building awareness, which is connected to marketing and PR—both areas I haven’t had experience in.  That has been the biggest challenge and continues to be an ongoing learning process for me (Click here to support Toxo-Philite!).

Any advice to our scholars who may dream of one day launching their own labels?

I interned both with a high-profile brand and with a smaller boutique brand.  I would suggest seeking experience in both of these areas.  When working in a smaller environment there is more freedom and reward, which is what led me to launch my own line.  My advice to anyone wanting to start his or her own line is to have a clear idea of what you want it to become.  There are so many niches now, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of designers, so find what is unique about your line and emphasize that.




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