Jennifer Torosian: who doesn’t love a woman in a suit?
June 30, 2015
By Violet MacLeod Photography by Aleyah Solomon
Ashtanga yoga, coffee and her passport are the three things Toronto designer Jennifer Torosian cannot live without. After her recent trip to Jordan, FAJOMagazinejoined Torosian at her Toronto studio to talk about the ins and outs of her namesake brand.
Her studio is a simple white-walled space, decorated with pictures of models dressed in her sleek tailored designs. Lining the room are two clothing racks packed with her latest pieces.
Fresh from competing as a finalist in the TFI New Labels 2015 competition earlier this year, Torosian laughs as she admits that after finding out she and her business partner, Raed Ali, were finalists they didn’t do anything outside of their typical workday to celebrate.
“We came to work the next day and shared the news with our team. So, it was a normal day,” she explains.
Applying to TFI was a catalyst for the brand and an opportunity to explore a different image. “Our proposal had new pieces and new ideas. It was like we were creating a capsule collection, a slight departure [for us].”
Torosian has decided to continue the momentum for spring/summer 2016. “We are very sleek and tailored, but we are moving in a slightly different direction, focusing on technical fabrics, treated silks and heavy wools, while keeping the DNA of clean lines and a tailored fit, and having more fun with the volume and the shapes,” she explains. The collection promises to mix sport aesthetics with luxury fabrics and texture.
Manufactured in Canada, the brand emphasizes clean lines and tailored looks.
When asked about her creative process, Torosian says her creativity comes from different places: “It’s pretty intangible in the beginning. It’s a vibe or an energy. Then I jump in, finding pictures and elements, and sketching, editing and researching until we narrow it down to what we think will be good for the season.”
Manufactured in Canada, quality is at the forefront of the brand’s image. The fabric is carefully chosen by Torosian herself. “I go to trade shows. I’m sourcing my fabrics from Italy, France, other parts of Europe and Japan, speaking with [textile] mills and seeing what speaks to the brand and myself each season.”
The quality and tailoring translate directly into how she wants women to feel in her designs: sexy, confident and powerful. “I love a woman in a suit. It doesn’t have to be traditional, but I definitely like that aesthetic,” she says.
It seems fitting that the first piece Torosian ever created was a blazer she made with her business partner, Ali. “He’s my fiancé. We don’t usually talk about it at work, but when people ask, ‘How do you get along so well?’ [we tell them it’s] because we’re in a relationship!”
The duo met while working together. “We were both still working [in retail], and we went and bought the fabric together. It was a little project at the time, and I loved it!”
After that first piece, they began taking steps towards creating a business. Torosian says they had the same interests, and everything sort of just fell into place.
One of the first pieces Torosian ever created was a blazer, which helped set the brand’s aesthetic.
Clients can shop online or make an appointment to visit the studio, but Torosian is working to make the brand more widely available. They are focusing on wholesale and getting into the U.S. market.
The designer is contemplative when considering advice for fellow young professionals: “I think in any profession you need to ask yourself the hard questions, like what’s going to make you happy? What do you want in life? What do you want to be, and why? And who are you? I still ask myself these questions every day because I want to be happy and fulfilled.
“I tell all my interns and [new employees] to listen to their gut — it’s there for a reason.”