Featured in this month’s i-Sustain, White Tent is a design collective started by Evgenia Tabokova, a Russian Central Saint Martin’s graduate, and Pedro Noronha-Feio, a Portuguese LCF graduate.
The pair understood from the outset that a reliable manufacturing base is the bread and butter of a successful fashion business; however they were also looking for a partnership that reflected their values in terms of design, quality and working practices. Working in collaboration with a like-minded garment manufacturer in Portugal, White Tent have been able to take the time to fully explore their minimal yet experimental approach to design. The collections are clean, contemporary and offer beautifully made, understated pieces with surprising details. As well as having the support they need to develop their design and brand identity, White Tent have been able to work with their manufacturer to create employment and training opportunities in a deprived area of Portugal and to research how environmental considerations can be integrated on an ongoing basis in to the development of their collections. The White Tent approach recognises that brand evolution should happen because of, not in spite of, the shared values and ambitions of those involved.
i-D spoke to Evgenia and Pedro about design, politics and being green.
Why do you think you’re part of this project? Because we think about more than just the clothes.
Do you have a philosophy? We don’t have an exact philosophy. What we do have is the clear idea of the standards under which we want to work and produce, and of the message we want to get across with what we do.
Who or what inspires you? At the moment we are inspired by Buckminster Fuller – an inventor and a futurist – a truly unique character with an amazing vision of the world and the universe.
What would you take to the streets and protest about?
Evgenia: Lack of transparency in politics in my country of birth – Russia.
Pedro: The environment. How is it possible that the major polluting countries are refraining from taking any serious action on CO2 emission reduction for economic reasons?!?! We seriously need to reconsider the values that lead our politics.
What’s unique about your work? We are two designers from very different cultures. Our aesthetic perceptions have different background influences and this fusion is precisely what makes our work unique.
Where can we buy it? Right now White Tent pieces are stocked at 69B Broadway Market and 127 BrickLane in London. From Spring, White Tent will be stocked online at asos.com. We also have stockists in Japan, Russia and Spain.
What are you working on now? Right now we are working on the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection to be shown at WhoisNext in Paris at the end of January, as well as on a project with the Maison Méditerranéenne des Métiers de la Mode in Marseille – a project with the aim to create support and a united base for designers who have connections to the Mediteranean Region.