Issue 20 / Fashion Designer Tina Tandon Talks About Being The Toast Of New York

Fashion Designer Tina Tandon Talks About Being The Toast Of New York

Oct 25, 2015

This designer known for her sultry silhouettes chats with us about being the toast of NYC. 

During her early childhood spent in India, Tandon recalls that her trips to the family tailor sparked her interest in design. “I used to love designing my outfits, and remember being particular even at that time.” Tandon later went on to graduate with honors from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and later started her career in fashion working for Escada and Christian Lacroix.

Currently, Indian-American designer Tina Tandon’s eponymous label has been sought by Hollywood’s top celebrities around the globe, from Padma Lakshmi to Pooja Kumar and Brooke Shields. Tandon’s growing success and recent collaborations with luxury car maker MaseratiDress for Success and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund’s Super Saturday has pushed the designer to the forefront of the fashion industry.

We got a chance to catch up with New York designer to learn more about her brand.

Anokhi Media: India, North Carolina, New York and the list continues. It would be nice if you could elaborate how travelling and living in different parts of the world help/alter/create/idealize your understanding of design and fashion?

Tina Tandon: It has given me a wide understanding of fashion, and how it relates to culture and the social dialogue in each region. In some regions, the lifestyle is more relaxed and casual, and so is their dressing choices, and in big cities like NYC, the ladies like to dress to the nines, representing their polished and ambitious outlook. In India, fashion has now become an amalgamation of traditional heritage and the western modernity so, when I am designing for certain markets, I keep these cultural and social nuances in mind.

A.M: Please define the design philosophy behind the brand T. Tandon?

T.T: My T.TANDON line represents my American side. I try to not make it Indian influenced, as that would be expected of an Indian designer. Although once in a while, I do have strong influences in a few of my collections from my Indian heritage. This line is designed for the contemporary, young, hip, jet-setting fashion savvy girls all over the U.S and internationally.

My POSH PARI Couture line is geared more towards the South Asian diaspora in the U.S and abroad. For that line, I definitely take cues from the Indian market and trends, and influences from past and present in arts, film, fashion and sometimes, just people on the street.

POSH PARI, Tina Tandon, Fall/Holiday Collection 2015
Photo Credit: Tina Tandon

A.M: What/Who influences your process of designing?

T.T.: A lot of things influence my design process — the current trends, vintage American fashion (which I took a liking to at FIT- Fashion Institute of Technology), and what I feel is missing from the market that I wish I could find and would like to wear. Being a woman designer makes it easier to kind of gauge what might be missing from the current offerings. Then of course, I am often inspired by my travels, and what I see maybe in a local market or a museum… all these influences, organically come together in my head, and lead to creation of a new collection.

Tina Tandon Fall/Winter Collection 2015
Photo Credit: Tina Tandon
Tina Tandon Fall/Winter Collection 2015
Photo Credit: Tina Tandon

A.M: What should one expect from TTandon brand? (In terms of design, aesthetics, cut fits, etc.)?

T.T: I play a lot with both fluid and structured looks, I like the contrast of the fluid and the static in my collections. Silk crepes, chiffons and georgettes are often paired with structured leather pieces. There is always some use of hand detailing, whether structural pin tucks, folds or embellishments, and also novelty fabrics.

Tina Tandon Fall/Winter Collection 2015
Photo Credit: Tina Tandon

A.M: Who has been your best muse among the beautiful coveted list ladies that you have designed for?

T.T: First and foremost — my mom . . . Looking through her pics from the 60s and 70s really gets me excited and inspired. And then I love women who are trailblazers in their field — women like Priyanka Chopra, Mindy Kaling, Freida Pinto and Padma Lakshmi — who are breaking barriers and doing amazing things.

A.M: Can you give a little peek into your upcoming collection? What is that x-factor or your signature style that you are known for or want to be known for?

T.T: For the current Fall 2015 season  we have a great mix of my signature feminine silk blouses and dresses with hand pin tuck detailing, and this season we are doing a lot of cape and drape. Then I have my hand-molded leather pieces and jackets with pleating details — which has become my signature, and what my T.TANDON collection is getting known for — the very unique leather jackets. The leather coat dress, is my season favourite and already getting a great response.

New York Fashion Week Event, Tina Tandon's Fall/Holiday Collection 2015 
Photo Credit: Luc Kordas

New York Fashion Week Event, Tina Tandon's Fall/Holiday Collection 2015 
Photo Credit: Luc Kordas

A.M: What is the one South Asian silhouette that you think cannot go out of fashion and has the potential to reinvent each time?

T.T: The Sari. I myself have made so many different versions of the sari. There is something just so elegant about this draped traditional garment that represents our culture from miles away. It’s truly versatile and personable and so many versions of new silhouettes of garments that can be created from it to keep it modern.
A.M: The socio-conscious route, designing with natural fibers, how difficult does it get while working around with designs, i.e. practically transferring from paper to the fabric onto the dress forms?

T.T: It’s not much different than working with any fabrics. I just like to make a conscious effort to use more natural fabrics/ material like silks, cottons, linens, wools, modal, bamboo, leather etc. But sometimes, I do get limited as to what I can design based on the fabrics I am using, and sometimes it can get challenging if what the market wants in look or performance, and what can be executed in that fabric, are in conflict. But, we still make an effort to make at least 85 per cent of our collection in natural fabrics.

OCRF Super Saturday – Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Tina Tandon with Rachel Zoe and Brooke Shields
Photo Credit: Tina Tandon

A.M: Recently you showcased your collection along side other notable designers such as Tommy HIlfiger and Ralph Lauren at the Super Saturday Ovarian Cancer Research event hosted by Donna Karen. Is philanthropy important to you? If so why? And do you have any charities that you are a part of?
T.T.: Yes. It is built into the ethos of our company. Giving to children and women's causes is an integral part of our company modus operandi. These causes have always been close to my heart. I guess I always had a compassionate heart and a desire to help others. And being a women, children, women causes are close to my heart. We have worked with many charities including Sakhi for South Asian Woman (SAKHI) [and] Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). I also like to give to the underprivileged children when I am in India. And we are involved with the United Nations. 


Files collected by Swati Rao
Main Image  Photo Credit: Jay Blum (Electroblum)

Tessa Johnson


Tessa (@tessajstyle) holds a diploma in Fashion Business Management from George Brown College and has Fashion Coordination and Styling certification from Ryerson University. She has been ANOKHI Magazine’s Fashion Editor for the last four years covering the runways from Toronto to India. Her love...


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