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Visitors to the “Art in the Gardens at Biltmore Lake” event that took place mid-May admired the influence of the mother-daughter duo of the BL Gardeners group Lead Christina Lief and fashion designer daughter Tasha who just returned from five years of study at the International Fashion Academy in Paris. There teaching by doing is de rigueur. The academy, structured as a mix of university and trade school, offered Tasha a spectrum of instruction ranging from fashion’s history and its application to textile technology and contemporary fashion marketing. The curriculum provided her opportunities to experiment and define her own unique style and brand.
Tasha is influenced by learning and living internationally. Her challenge will be to translate Parisian sophistication to the trendy but cost-conscious American consumer. This includes maternal influences from Christina’s Dutch roots and growing up in France (their home in Biltmore Lake is distinctly defined by shutters reminiscent of the Cote d’Azur).
Her label “Un-titled” aims to reflect her special interests in global cultures, history, and politics. Attention to detail and tailoring blend in a design narrative meant to be mixed and matched.
Tasha is also studying ways to produce eco-friendly clothes that include recycling, use of non-traditional materials and structural techniques to leave little waste or carbon footprint. This focus will set her apart in the American market where clothing is poorly designed, made from non-degradable materials, over-stocked, and shipped in carbon producing vehicles—waste rather than sustainability.
Producing collections for both men and women in today’s market requires attention to paring down as well as scaling up. Tasha’s innovative marketing plan includes virtual media and video blogs that educate consumers about steps required to build a personal collection. Sourcing of eco-friendly, lasting materials to create sustainable and stylish designs that are workable, wearable, and affordable for a targeted audience must all be considered. Tasha will price her designs to allow her to support charitable causes.
With hard work and funding, Tasha hopes to be able to make her entrepreneurial dreams come true right here in Asheville.
Fashion design and styling was always something I took interest in, even as a child. So when it came time to pick something to study it felt like a natural choice. Ironically, I had never really sewn anything other than some small repairs with a hand sewing needle before I started school. Almost everything I learned about sewing I learned at school. It was quite a big learning curve for me, and it actually took me a few years before I became proficient at it.
My design ideas come from politics, social issues, and current events. This surprises a lot of people when I say it, but fashion has been influenced by these issues over and over again.
I feel that the day you stop paying attention to the world around you, you get left behind. For this reason I always want to observe, learn, and grow as an individual, which, in turn, makes me better at my work.