Tia Cibani is a North Africa-born designer based in New York. The Parson’s alum spearheaded the launch of the Ports 1961 collection in 2004 and later went on to establish her namesake collection of versatile urban silhouettes in the fall of 2012. This January, the designer was awarded the coveted womenswear award at the Fashion Group International’s annual Rising Star Awards.
Congratulations on your FGI Rising Star Award 2013 for womenswear! You are now in a group of incredibly talented and successful designers who have won before, how does it feel?
I feel blessed. This was a response to my launch collection! It was a surprise even to be considered for this award so soon.When did you launch your namesake label?
The collection is Spring/Summer 2013. It was launched in September 2012, in New York.
What did you take away from your time at Ports International and eventually Ports 1961?
I took away a wealth of knowledge and experience globally. I was able to roll up my sleeves and get involved on multiple levels in various projects. This gave me the confidence ultimately to launch my own project. Familiarity with all aspects of the fashion business–from sourcing, through manufacturing and wholesale, and to retail—has been extremely useful to me.
How has that played into your own design philosophy?
Having this deep knowledge of the business helps me to stay focused on the needs of the client while balancing my own creativity. My design philosophy has definitely been shifted by this experience. I am excited by the possibilities of merging the creative with the practical without compromising vision.
How does your experience working in Asia contribute to your business now?
Working in Asia helped provide me with global perspectives on the business of fashion.
Your Spring 2013 collection feels very bohemian – relaxed in a controlled and fresh sort of way. Will this become your signature for future seasons?
What I did last season felt right then. I think my work will evolve with each collection. That having been said, I am delighted by your understandings of the launch collection, and I hope there will be a thread of this tone as an underlying message in my future work. You should be able to judge for yourself with the Fall/Winter 2013 collection on February 6!
Do you see yourself expanding into accessories or menswear?
This season I’m collaborating with Julia Lundsten of Finkse footwear to make shoes and boots for the runway. I’m working with Erickson Beamon jewelry and Lumete sunglasses as well. I’m very excited about the idea of adding accessories – it’s important for me as I envision the total look.
Can you tell us anything about your Fall 2013 collection?
The Fall/Winter 2013 collection is inspired by Man Ray photogram portraits, and by the worldly spirit of Peggy Guggenheim.