As headlines of the fashion industry’s downfall continue to surface, few brands have gotten it right. An industry that once thrived on a business model of excess and wholesale department store deliveries has now become about minimalism and direct-to-consumer strategies.
London-based label, Tove, is one of those few brands that have navigated this mindset switch successfully. Founders Camille Perry and Holly Wright met at Topshop as head of buying and head of design, respectively. But the pair had their sights set on launching a timeless capsule wardrobe that was missing from the market.
Launched in May 2019, Tove reaches customers via a direct-to-consumer online business, with the exception of exclusive styles sold on Net-A-Porter.
“The last six months in particular have shifted the sentiment around consumerism dramatically,” Perry told In The Know. “The next generation of consumer is demanding more from retailers in this sector to prove that they can balance responsible production with price, and to demonstrate that they are acting sustainably and consciously.”
Tove’s refreshing approach to design centers the idea that the same garment can easily be worn to totally different occasions. Why couldn’t the modern woman wear Tove’s Maren organic cotton midi dress to a wedding, but also to the office and to wineries on the weekend? Right now, fashion is about buying less, and re-wearing and re-styling — and Tove’s collection of transitional luxury does just that. Even Katie Holmes counts herself as a fan.
I caught up with the designers to talk about everything from the importance of sustainability to the future of fashion. Read on to get to know your new favorite fashion brand, Tove.
What was your collaborative vision for Tove in the beginning stages?
Camille Perry: Our concept was to create a brand that we felt was missing from the market. It was something that we had longed to discover ourselves, but could never find: A brand that felt meticulously crafted and timeless, but with a modern, feminine aesthetic that responded to the lifestyle of the modern woman.
Holly Wright: Our collective vision was to create a wardrobe of sustainable signature pieces that are versatile and could transition easily between occasions, day to evening and work to family — pieces that were beautiful enough to make a statement, whilst never overpowering the wearer.
Our collections feature refined paired back styling, beautiful luxurious fabrics, with a focus on true quality. We felt we couldn’t find a brand that subscribed to this ethos, so we were compelled to create it.
How has social media played a role in your brand?
CP: Social media has played a pivotal part in the evolution of our brand. Instagram in particular has been a key marketing tool for us. Being a direct-to-consumer brand, our imagery epitomizes who we are, and we have always invested in it.
HW: We have also been fortunate enough to have built relationships with an incredible collective of women through social media that have supported us throughout our journey. These relationships would have been far more challenging to form without platforms like Instagram.
You both met at Topshop, spending over a decade of your career there. In your expert opinion, where do you see the future of fast fashion heading?
CP: So much has changed within the fast fashion market within the past few years, let alone the impact of the last six months. There is still an appreciation of beautifully crafted items that have the ability to excite and inspire. We hope this consciousness continues.
HW: Those who have the creative vision to evolve into brands that can offer [sustainability and conscious practices] have the ability to survive. For those that are unable to respond to this, the future looks uncertain.
How important are sustainability values to your brand?
CP: Sustainability is at the heart of every decision we make. We use silk and organic cotton within our collections, as they are both natural fabrics that feel incredible to wear and will last a lifetime. They will degrade naturally, lessening their impact on the world from an environmental perspective. For SS21, we are also using recycled fabrics for the first time.
HW: Our packaging is minimal, and what we have is either recycled or designed to last. The cotton bag that we wrap each piece in when delivered to our customer is made from a beautiful woven cotton with grosgrain tie, in one of our signature tones. The idea is that our customer can use it time and time again. We use ours when we travel to hold all the small things. They are so useful!
Is there a gap in the fashion market you both still wish to fill?
CP: We see Tove as offering a complete wardrobe for our woman, and there are many areas that feel right for us to explore as the seasons evolve. For AW20, we are introducing outerwear for the first time. Our Mia Coat, made using sumptuously soft lambswool, is the perfect winter coat we were unable to find.
HW: For SS2, we are expanding our silk lingerie collection and introducing minimal summer tailoring using heritage tailoring fabrics from a British tailoring mill that has a weaving history that spans the past 100 years. We have a symbiotic way of working and the move into new areas is always a very organic one. We both love footwear and feel we could offer a different perspective here, so this feels right or a next step.
Is less really more?
HW: From our experience with our brand, it feels as though people are choosing to buy in a more considered way. Less, but potentially better.
Where do you both envision Tove in five years?
CP: We see Tove as a global brand with longevity. Over the next five years, we would like to be able to offer our customer the opportunity to immerse themselves in our world both physically and digitally through a unique, quietly-curated environment from wherever they happen to be globally.
Lastly, who is the Tove women?
HW: We see the Tove woman every day in the inspiring collective of women that we are fortunate enough to collaborate with to achieve our vision for the brand. She is often balancing working life along with family, just as we do. The name Tove is born from the Danish girl’s name meaning strength and beauty. Our woman we feel encapsulates both of these qualities in her outlook and approach to
Shop: Tove Maren Organic Cotton Maxi Dress, $600
Shop: Tove Lourdes Stretch-Cotton Twill Tapered Pants, $310
Shop: Tove Ceres Tie-Detailed Cotton-Poplin Mini Dress, $445
Shop: Tove Veda Silk-Crepon Midi Dress, $915
Shop: Tove Ceres Gathered Organic Cotton-Poplin Midi Dress, $520
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