Q&A: 5 minutes with Natasha Thomas

Left, By Thomas shirt $285 and pants $325. Right, Natasha Thomas, photography by Jane Heller.

Left, By Thomas shirt $285 and pants $325. Right, Natasha Thomas, photography by Jane Heller.

Designer Natasha Thomas launched her label, By Thomas (bythomas.ws), in 2011, shortly after being crowned winner of Fashion Pop, a juried show that takes place during Montreal’s Festival Mode & Design. Known for streamlined silhouettes and muted palettes, the 29-year-old Val-d’Or native has moved into colour and cool prints for spring. Here, she talks accessories and artistic inspiration.

What are the first things you do when you start a new collection?
 “I usually look at different images and then go vintage shopping. I like to take pieces apart and make them look modern. The sleeves in the ’80s were huge, with shoulder pads, so I might shorten them and soften the silhouette.”

Your Jackson Pollock–esque print is really beautiful.
“It was developed from a painting by a friend. When I saw it, I just wanted to wear it. He let me have it scanned, and then I had it laser-printed on organic cotton.”

Did interning at an accessories brand change the way you approach designing clothes?
“I don’t think so, but I did include laser-cut leather bags in my collection. I originally wanted to be a handbag designer.”

Tell me about your trench coats.
“The fabric reminds me of a paper bag. It’s linen-viscose, coated with polyurethane so that it’s a bit waxy, like a raincoat.”

Are you trying to make a statement with your clothes?
“Eventually, I’d like to include fair trade. There’s a way that fashion can be good for communities. I wish I could make this statement now, but I’m not there yet.”

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