Into the Darkness: Designer Titania Inglis and Her Work
Based in Brooklyn, designer Titania Inglis grew up among the woodlands and waterfalls of Ithaca, New York, and refined her dark, streamlined aesthetic while living in Denmark and the Netherlands. Half Chinese, half Scots-Irish by blood, she embraces the seeming dichotomies of a line looking to the future, yet grounded in tradition, operating on the border of nature and industry.
Describe your background: I studied at Design Academy Eindhoven and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and apprenticed under cult New York designers Camilla Stærk, Jean Yu, and Threeasfour before launching my solo line in 2009. In addition, I’m also an adjunct professor in the fashion program at Parsons School of Design.
How did you become interested in textile arts and fashion design? I never intended to be a fashion designer, but once I decided to go into a design field, the tactile, hands-on work was a natural fit for me. A painting teacher once told me I was a hedonist, and there’s a sensual pleasure in working with fabric, but also a delight in creating new worlds for the brand, and a satisfaction in making clients look and feel like a better version of themselves than they’d ever imagined.
What is the general mood you feel your pieces evoke? The devastating quiet of the wilderness, mixed with the bravado spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.
What is your creative process like? It’s very hands-on — I mostly start from draping as I’m excited to work with the materials and see what they can do. I also love to experiment with textiles, whether it’s dyeing, laser-cutting, or trying out new finishes. The handwork, such as painting dyes onto scarves instead of printing them, contributes to making each of our garments special.
Describe your motivation to use low-impact materials: I prefer to challenge those who don’t to explain why they choose high-impact materials.
Whom do you most admire in the industry, and why? Our suppliers, who dedicate their passion, their sweat, and years of their lives to making beautiful things. And the customers — they’re the ones I create for, the (mostly) women who truly bring our designs to life and incorporate them into their extraordinary everyday lives.
What is your greatest creative undertaking to date, and where do you want to go next? Our last video, Sei∂r, a dark fairy tale set in the woods of upstate New York, created with Chelsea Wolfe, K/LLER Collection and Jeff Elstone. Next, I’m excited to contribute costumes for the multimedia cantata Making Tellus: A Mandala for the Anthropocene, composed by Nina C. Young in collaboration with the Nouveau Classical Project.
And at the same time, I hope my most lasting contribution is as a lecturer at Parsons School of Design, where I’m lucky to have a chance to help educate the next generation of fashion designers.