Tamar Daniel – Designer and Creator of TMRDNL

[quote style=”boxed”]In a fashion sense, I think trends are not a good thing. They speed up the cycle of consumerism and encourage turnover of product too quickly, devaluing whats in peoples closets. I would like to revert back to a culture where women shop based on their needs, and their body, and buy better quality product with a longer lifespan.[/quote]

Tamar has been designing for as long she can remember. She spent Sundays -as a girl growing up in London-sketching the costumes at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and later got thrown out of class frequently for drawing dress ideas for friends in their workbooks. Her unofficial training came from her elegant grandmother who coached her in crochet, sewing and pattern drafting, but her more formal education is from a BA from Israel’s Shenkar College where Tamar graduated with honors and, in her final year was was invited to participate in the ITS contest in Trieste, Italy, and was awarded the WGSN prize for the capsule collection which I showed there.

After interning in London at style powerhouse TopShop, Tamar was sought out by Anthropologie where she had the opportunity to design tops for their knit department. Having designed for Anthropologie and Topshop, Tamar learned about street culture, trend chasing, and the pitfalls of retail. She draws on that experience every day to create a line which is versatile enough to offer multitude of options, yet focused enough to target a specific customer, and to knock her socks off.

Tamar is author of  The Fashion Sketchpad (Chronicle books 2010.) A bestselling innovation, which streamlines the design process for amateur and professional designers alike.

In 2011 Tamar decided the time had come to venture out on her own with TMRDNL – using her very personal narrative and distinct European-American design sensibility as the foundation for her burgeoning namesake collection. As a working mother with four young children, Tamar knows what it’s like to need to get dressed in a hurry, look groomed on a dime, and be ready for a quick change.

What are you working on right now?

We’re currently selling Spring 2013.

Where did the idea for TMRDNL come from?

As a working young mother, I saw a gap in the market for designer clothing which can work hard and is not precious. Women I meet, my friends, we’re all on the go all the time. We need pieces which can work with our day. We’re not on the titanic anymore where you’d change every couple of hours.

So I think there needs to be more flow – especially if there are children in the picture. You want to look polished but you don’t want to feel inaccessible. It should always be comfortable, natural and make your life easier. That’s why my pieces are machine washable and packable.

What does your typical day look like?

Mayhem till 8:30, until I’ve gotten the kids dressed fed and out. Grab a cup of coffee and tackle emails. Drive in to NY. Visit two factories and our showroom and make sure everything’s on track. Scout out fabric headers for next season and grab lunch with Brittany my fabulous team member. Drive back. Tuck kids in to bed, work out, eat yummy dinner with husband and cobusiness owner – watch an episode of Up All Night.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I sketch all the time. I sketch so much I had to create my own sketchpad to keep up- www.thefashionsketchpad.com.

The sketches kind of go with me everywhere for a little while. I pin them in front of me in my kitchen, I stick them next to me while I drive, after a day or two of that, I know if it’s a good thing or not. Then I start allocating fabric, and fleshing out the idea. I gather data all the time. My brain is wired very visually, so I get sort of over loaded if there’s too much stimuli around. I glean little trinkets, scraps, papers everywhere I go, and write myself strange references to be able to hold on to a moment of inspiration and creativity, and tap back in to it when I’m in work mode. Mostly, my ideas come together when I’m asleep. And I try to write it all down before I forget.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

In a fashion sense, I think trends are not a good thing. They speed up the cycle of consumerism and encourage turnover of product too quickly, devaluing whats in peoples closets. I would like to revert back to a culture where women shop based on their needs, and their body, and buy better quality product with a longer lifespan.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I was nine months pregnant and had a job as a pattern cutter.  I was on my feet all day and had to reach over my belly to get to the cutting table, but I didn’t want to admit it was getting too hard for me. Looking back, I learned its good to be determined and tenacious, but not stupid. I should probably have asked to move department!

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would tell a younger me to be bold. To try everything. To say each design statement completely.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Thank everyone. Little people, big people. All the helping hands along the way. A note, a phone call, and small gift. Its simple, but it’s so important.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I have tried to do things too fast. And learned that there is an organic pace to things, and you have to listen to it, and respect it. I have ants in my pants and cannot tolerate not being productive, but I’m learning that there are times where sitting tight and waiting is productive. So I distract myself by focusing on painting the house and such.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I went in to a business that I did not grow up in. So I’ve created a sort of board of directors, people who I made a point of getting to know, and staying in touch with. Every few months I tell them what I’m up to, show them the latest designs, ask them for their feedback and thoughts. It’s invaluable to find mentors. It doesn’t have to all be rolled in to one person. I have one for mothering, one for people skills, one for monetary planning.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I’d like it if people had to speak honestly to one another. Kind of like that movie The Invention of Lying.  I’m not very good at lying and have no patience for smooth talkers. I am a straight shooter. This may have some complicated side effects though.

Tell us a secret.

I move furniture around compulsively.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Shutterfly, for keeping up with pics of my kids, Pandora for music for our studio, and dropbox for sharing with our team members.

Who is your hero?

My grandmother is my hero. Born in Vienna, she helped out from an early age at her mothers’ wool shop. She had to escape the Nazis and brought a small suitcase with her to her new life. It contained pattern pieces to make a corset. When she arrived penniless and orphaned in a new country, where she didn’t speak the language, she clutched her profession in a little case.

What traits do you think are most important to succeed in fashion?

I think it helps to be a good listener, to have no pride at all, and to embrace change.

What would you be if not a fashion designer?

Maybe a midwife. I have always had the greatest respect for people who deliver babies for a living, and part of me always wanted to do that.


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