Friday, March 5, 2010


Hi Darling,
In 2005, I heard a name that I will never forget. It was mentioned in an email I received from a photographer friend telling me about a fashion designer. My friend stated that she received an invite to this designer's fashion show and that I should attend. She was going on and on about this fashion line until I finally ask her what is this designer's name and she screamed with excitement by writing in all caps - ZANG TOI.
I asked my friend who is this Zang Toi and why haven't I heard of him. At this time, I was breaking into the fashion scene as a fashion stylist. It was my first time attending Fashion Week, my schedule filled with shows, and I did not want to miss any of them. Therefore, I did not want to take a chance on a designer that I never heard of before. I wanted more information about the "House of Toi" but I had very limited time to do research on the line and also try to get an invite because the show was the next day.
The day of, I ran into my photographer friend at the Tents and she stated that she was on her way to the Zang Toi show and that I should try to make it over. I told her that by me being in the Tents all day, my feet are killing me, I want to head home, and that his public relations crew will never let me in. I will never forget that day because I missed something that could have been the beginning of a love affair with the beautiful clothes created by Mr. Toi and me.
Fast forward, to his fall 2010 ready-to-wear collection. The collection is glamour, beauty, a classic, and filled with strong detail. The color purple is all throughout the collection (the song - "Purple Rain" by Prince played while the models walked the runway). There is a soft mix of black and purple. Each price is captivating and each piece is a staple piece as well.
Zang Toi is clever and very creative, he is aware of the recession and aware that consumers want fashion that are staple pieces that they can afford, keep, and mix and match the pieces when needed. You can tell that Zang Toi loves women and that he treats them like a beautiful flower by the way he designed his exquisite gowns in this collection but he also knows that we are strong as an ox by designing strong tailored suits.
Today, I court up with Mr. Toi to have an online interview to find out the beginning of it all.
First off, congrats on an amazing fall 2010 ready-to-wear line.
  • Taiyon's Image - Is it true that you left your native country Malaysia at the age of eighteen to head to Toronto?
Zang Toi - yes.
  • Taiyon's Image - Was it because of fashion or love? You here so many times that people relocate because of a mate more often than a career.
Zang Toi - I was shipped to Toronto by my parents to study grade 13 there.
  • Taiyon's Image - Ok, a year later you landed in the Big Apple. Why such a short time in Toronto?
Zang Toi - As a creative spirit, I felt like a bird in a cage in Toronto.
  • Taiyon's Image - Are you an Alumni of Parson School of Design or Fashion Institute Technology?
Zang Toi - Parson School of Design
  • Taiyon's Image - You have gained a lot of achievements but the one I find the most interesting is your award in 1997 in March if I'm not mistaking, the "Knighthood" by the Sultan of Malaysia. How does one gain "Knighthood" by the Sultan of Malaysia?
Zang Toi - The year I was knighted, I was the youngest and one of the very few that are not government servants or business tycoons...I believe it was my achievements in the US...ALMOST LIKE HOMETOWN BOY MADE GOOD!
  • Taiyon's Image - At what age did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
Zang Toi - 19...Guess I am a late bloomer. Lol
  • Taiyon's Image - What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
Zang Toi - For my first collection in August 1989...a bright orange handloomed cotton knit mini dress attached with hot pink silk chiffon empire circle dress, which was featured in Nov. 1989 Vogue.
  • Taiyon's Image - When was your first major break?
Zang Toi - When Anna Wintour featured me in the New Face of 90's featuring an outfit from my second collection of the opening of the story in Vogue March 1990.
  • Taiyon's Image - What does fashion mean to you?
Zang Toi - Fashion means a GORGEOUS article of clothing that puts out a smile on a lady!
  • Taiyon's Image - What events in your life have made you grow as a designer?
Zang Toi - Non-stop traveling across the country doing the trunkshow...My ladies thought me to grow to be a smart designer designing clothes that women would happily pay full retail for.
  • Taiyon's Image - What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Zang Toi - That I am independent, and lead my own path.
  • Taiyon's Image - What is your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
Zang Toi - I am completely immersed in my own world...what a GORGEOUS & FUN place to be!
  • Taiyon's Image - What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
Zang Toi - A smart design crafted from the finest fabric and workmenship!
  • Taiyon's Image - Last but not least - Where can readers buy your clothes? In addition what are the price points?
Zang Toi - My collection is available at Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Ave., Nordstrom, speciality boutiques, and Zang Toi boutiques in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The price starts at $500 - $30,000.00.
photo credit -Weston Wells
video courtesy of the House of Toi

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