Sunday, April 10, 2011

Voltage Designer Spotlight: Tim & Thom

by Juleana Enright

Local self-taught tailoring pair Tim and Thom Navarro truly know the meaning of “brotherly love.” Not only does the duo share genetics, but the designers and real life brothers obviously share an instinctive sewing gene and a keen eye for apparel design and construction. During MNFashion Week's Style Derby show last fall, the brothers premiered a sporty yet chic, tailored men and women's bikewear collection full of striped cropped riding pants, tailored vests and jackets, all with a dandy twist. For their Voltage collection, expect a “post-modern” design aesthetic and more of their signature styles catered to the “active 20-30 somethings” and riding culture.

We recently caught up with the Navarro brothers to chat about their new boutique venture, what inspires their love for fashionable bicyclists and what it's like to work in such close proximity to a sibling.

l'etoile: In the past, you've showcased designs that featured a unique take on bikewear. What sparked your interest in designing clothes that are rider-friendly? How does designing with mobility in mind differ from designing causal or couture garments?

T+T: Thank you, the interest was sparked when we were asked to participate in a rider-friendly fashion show called "Style Derby" thrown by Darci Whebbie. We design clothes with function, purpose and of course style in mind; jumping to designing with mobility in mind wasn't a far leap out of our comfort zone. It helps that we both love to bike so it was easy to address difficulties one has while biking and staying fashionable or just looking good.

Photo by Garret Born / Style Derby 2010

l'etoile: You recently launched a new boutique in Uptown which features your designs and jewelry from local designer Katy Schmaty. Tell us a little about the concept and what prompted you to open your own shop.

T+T: Yes, we opened our boutique called "You And Me". We are located at 2114 B Lyndale Ave S; right in-between Red Dragon and Clown Glass. We asked Katy to accessorize our line for Style Derby and quickly realized our esthetics and business etiquette paired well and from there "You And Me" blossomed! The boutique is an intimate custom experience offering you the chance to shop our retail space as well as our work space. If you can't find what you are looking for on the floor, you can sit down with us for a consultation on a custom look and then peruse Katy's jewelry, stones and charms.

l'etoile: The Twin Cities plays host to a plethora of fashion-themed group rides, from German-inspired glitter/glam rides to the ever popular “tweed ride.” What are some of your favorite themes? If you could design a fashion ride, what would you call it and what styles would you want wheeling down the streets?

T+T: Well, we love the "tweed ride". We have to admit we have a bias because our friend Carly Schoen hosts the tweed rides we've been on. We actually tried to initiate a Memorial day seersucker ride awhile back but kind of forgot that most people go out of town that day/weekend. You might want to start looking for our second attempt sometime this summer…. maybe June/July :)

Photo by Sarah Knoss / Voltage 2011 sneak peek

l'etoile: From delineation and conception to construction and completed collection, do you find that your design inspiration is an external process, or something more instinctive? What is your typical method for bringing a concept from inception to a blossomed full collection?

T+T: It's definitely a combination of both. As we said previously, we like to design with function and purpose so when we have a look in mind we try to find the questions this look could answer or vice versa. From there we just elaborate on that idea.

l'etoile: Ok, tell us the truth – what's it like working side-by-side with a sibling? Is there any rivalry? How do you handle a design quarrel? Hopefully not an old-fashioned fisticuffs...

T+T: Truth: we're twins, with that comes competition and competition drives us. If one of us has a great idea, the other has two more ideas to make that first idea even better. As far as design quarrels go we are pretty mature about it. One sarcastic joke and a few bickers later we're over it with a solid solution or at least a negotiable compromise. If we can't come up with a solution or a compromise, we'll digress to sarcasm and take an old fashioned time out. Sometimes if you focus on a problem to long, you start to become the problem.

Photo by Garret Born / Style Derby 2010

l'etoile: Since Voltage is a “runway rock show,” we have to ask: what role does music play in your design modus operandi? Are there certain bands or particular songs you put on to cure a design funk?

T+T: When it comes time to work we both have a diverse ear. We listen to anything from Bobby Darren, 80's music (good and bad), old school hip-hop and house. Really anything with a good dance beat. Right now a friend has turned us on to Pandora aka "En Vogue radio;" every song that comes on is met with a resounding…."awe, no way!" When in doubt, dance it out!

l'etoile: Since its inception, Voltage: Fashion Amplified has only intensified in popularity and local talent. To what do you attribute Voltage's success and why do you think it continues to gain momentum?

T+T: One word…accessibility. Can you think of any show this big where you know or could run into any one of those people on the main stage? You could be at the same bar/restaurant they work at or be in the same line as them at the grocery store. The show continues to be accessible from the fashion to the music and that's why it continues to gain momentum.

For more info on Voltage: Fashion Amplified click HERE.

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