Tonya Nichols discusses designing, learning from her mother, how she inspired her latest collection, Imperfectly Perfected Designs and more!

Beyond The Lens – Tonya Nichols is a very skilled fashion designer that I had the pleasure of interviewing over messenger this month and it was definitely one of my best interviews. I invited Tonya to do a seven-question interview over messenger and had the great honor in exploring her pages and seeing all the remarkable designs she has posted on her Instagram. After repeatedly telling her how much I was in love with her designs I worked on a couple of questions that would dig into her background in designing and sent it to her as soon as I was done. I hope you enjoy the interview!


~*~*Beyond The Lens /w Tonya Nichols*~*~


Internet Hollywood: Hey Tonya!! Thank you for granting me this short interview. I’m honored to speak with someone as amazingly talented as you. Your work is truly a miracle in the form of art and I applaud your magnificent skill to design clothing the way you do. How did your journey as a designer begin and how did you go about learning how to design?


Tonya: My journey as a designer started as a young girl. My mother was a plus-size model and because of this, it was hard for her to find fashion that really caught her eye. She was very unique and creative when it came to her sense of fashion, so she would have to create most of her own looks. I would watch her put these pieces together and say to myself “wow I want to be just like her”. I would then go it my room and cut up clothes that I didn’t like and try to create the same looks for my dolls. I lost my mom in 1993 and lost my love for fashion as well. In the fall of 2015 my friend Alfrida Woodson and I were putting together our yearly stop the violence fashion show for kids. We had 3 designers cancel on us so it was either find a couple more designers or cancel the show.. the last thing I wanted to do was to disappoint the kids so with no knowledge of making kids clothes and only having the experience of making doll clothes….I stepped up as a designer. While I was in my room making these pieces my kids would come in and tell me how well they were coming out and that I should start my own line of clothing. So with some thought it didn’t take long to take me to thinking of the days when I would watch my mom sew and be creative without a care in the world. So in September of 2015 with no design experience, never gone to fashion school and no knowledge of using s sewing machine I started Imperfectly Perfected Designs. I purchased my first sewing machine about a year and a half ago and before then all pieces were sewn by hand. I wanted every piece in the collection to be a representation of who my mother was as a woman…..Beautiful, Strong, Elegant and full of Confidence.


Photographer: Michael Philbrick

Internet Hollywood: Designing definitely doesn’t look as easy as it looks. At one point in my life I thought about getting into designing but couldn’t brush off the headache I’d get imagining how much work would have to be done to do it. My main thing would be designing something that everyone actually likes. How do you know if a design is something that people would actually like? Do you go with your intuition, study other fabrics, or something else?


Tonya: When designing one isn’t sure that everyone will like it. I just try to stick with my intuition and my sense of fashion. Some of my pieces are drawn out before hand, some of made up on the whim, while I feel like others are visions that my mom are sending me. I try to be creative as I can by using different types of fabrics … it pushes me to be a better designer.


Internet Hollywood: I recently seen a video on your page that included a model walking in one of your stunning designs at a fashion show. Care to share some information about the show and your new collection?


Tonya: My last collection was completely inspired by my mother. I have a picture of her on my nightstand where she is walking in her last fashion show.. she’s wearing an all-white piece that she created for herself. During our last big snow storm I happened to be looking at my mom’s pic as I was looking at her pic the sun was shining really bright and the reflection off of the snow looked silver. All white with silver tones….unique, elegant and confident…just like she was.


Photo taken @ Voge Fashion Runway

Internet Hollywood: How do you go about selecting models to walk in your designs? Do you look for certain things in particular when making your choices?


Tonya: I am very selective when choosing my models, as they are a representation of my brand and my brand is about my mother and her legacy. I looked for inner beauty as well as outer beauty and personality is definitely key. My models must be able to bring life to my pieces and most importantly….demand attention on the runway with confidence and elegance as my mother did.


Internet Hollywood: What made you want to name your brand Imperfectly Perfected Designs?


Tonya: I named my brand Imperfectly Perfected Designs because of my mother. As a young girl my mother told me that we all have flaws and imperfections, but it’s our flaws and imperfections that make us unique and beautiful, and that in Gods eyes we are all perfect. That’s how the name Imperfectly Perfected came about.


Internet Hollywood: Do you currently have a store where your magnificent items could be bought?


Tonya: No I do not currently have a store. If a client is interested in order one of my pieces or even having s custom-made piece of their own made (yes I do custom pieces as well) then they can reach me on my Instagram @imperfectly_perfected_designs, Facebook Imperfectly Perfected handmade designs or even call or text I’m a very easy person to contact.


Internet Hollywood: Last questions; what is the main goal behind all of the work your putting in and are you currently working on anything new now?


Tonya: Fashion was my mother’s dream. I feel like all of this is a blessing from above and is happening because my mother wants it to. So I will do everything to ensure that I turn my mother’s dream into a reality. Because I just release my new collection I will be taking a small break. I have a fashion show coming up on Saturday, June 23rd at the Holiday Inn in Somerville where I will be reshowcasing the all white line but may possibly add a swimsuit or 2. One thing I try to do even if I’m showcasing the same collection is to introduce at least one new piece per show. I also will be participating in modeling competition on Sunday, August 19th at Florian Hall in Dorchester


Internet Hollywood: Thank you for the interview, Tonya. Keep up the amazing work!


~*~*Thank you for reading*~*~

Photographer: Amwac
Photographer: Born Imagery / Turquoise Gown by Tonya Nicols

~*~*Credits & Links*~*~

Imperfectly Perfected Designs: InstagramFacebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *