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INTERVIEW: FTN interviews clothes designer Emily Tonkin

March 26th, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

In the current economic climate it is no secret that youth unemployment is at an all time high.  During such a tough and challenging economy, many young people wonder if they will find employment after their education.  Young designer Emily Tonkin could be the inspiration they need, as this young entrepreneur has founded her own business, brand and clothing line. Seeing a gap in the market for high quality, stylish and affordable tennis and active wear for women, she decided to create her very own sportswear collection, 30:fifteen.

Emily grew up in Wadhurst, East Sussex and spent a lot of her childhood playing Tennis and dancing.  After her A-levels, she decided to join professional performing arts college ‘The Centre’ to peruse a career in dance with Musical Theatre and in 2009 moved to LA to study acting.  Emily’s career plan took a swift change as she later decided to study Merchandise Product Development at FIDM as an accelerated degree. It was not long before Emily was inspired to create her own clothing range and spent her free time building and developing the brand.

This talented young designer created 30:fifteen, a high quality and innovative tennis range, designed by women for women.  On or off the court, 30:fifteen is comfortable, stylish, durable and odour absorbent.  Emily has proved anything is possible if you put your mind to it, she now works full time on her innovative brand 30:fifteen.

FTN: Emily, firstly it’s lovely to chat with you. You’re an inspiration in these economically scary times and we know our readers will think so too. Let’s start with the basics: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

ET: I drink too much tea, I love working out, playing sports, swimming and being active, I adore old movies, the theatre and day dreaming, I am a hopeless romantic, I like laughing too much, I hate feeling lonely, I like Champagne, singing in the shower, long baths at the end of the day and playing music too loud. My favourite sound is the ocean and I couldn’t leave the house without lip gloss, anti bacterial hand lotion and my phone. 🙂

FTN: Has fashion always been a big part of your life?

ET: Always. I worked in retail when I was at school, used to always buy fashion magazines and read them from cover to cover and used watch movies at home and sketch their costumes while watching them.

FTN: You actually studied to be an actress and a dancer before deciding on a career change. What made you take that course?

ET: It just didn’t fit with me, I got too bored on sets, and didn’t love it enough to always be broke and having to work really crazy jobs, miss out on seeing my family, boyfriend and friends. I was on the set of a movie & I remember waiting around and watching all the wardrobe department running around like crazy and I sat there and thought I’d rather be doing what they are doing. It was then I decided I wanted to be creatively involved with clothes. As dumb as that sounds.

FTN: Can you tell us what an accelerated degree actually is?

ET: It’s a degree but in half the time. You study more intensively and targeted. At FIDM they are designed so as soon as you graduate you can fall into a great job, which I did.

FTN: You were an avid tennis player growing up. Given your intent is to ensure ladies can be feel comfortable and fashionable in the clothes they wear for sporting activities. Why did you think that was a missing opportunity for designers? Personal experience?

ET: Tennis just isn’t a big focus in the UK amongst other brands. Running & yoga are more ‘on trend’ and so other brands produce basics that are designed for running but could also be worn for Tennis. I always found it really hard to buy a good quality tennis skirt that someone else at the club didn’t have. It was always a huge challenge.

FTN: You seem a very determined young lady and believe if you want something done, do it yourself. Have you always been like that?

ET: I am very determined and ambitious (I always have been like that)- I get that from my parents and grandparents But I wouldn’t say I believe you have to always do things on yourself. Ultimately I have created 30:Fifteen through my own hard work & no one else’s but I wouldn’t have even be able to have started it without my investors, and I get a lot of emotional support from my family and friends, when I get overwhelmed, stressed out or worried.

FTN: You have been described as an inspiration to young people everywhere for taking the plunge and making your dreams happen?Are you surprised by that?

ET: I am quite surprised by that but it’s very flattering, and it’s great that young people would be inspired by me.

FTN: To get your dream off the ground was it hard finding manufacturers to help make your designs?

ET: I was really fortunate on that, one of our investors used to own a company that had great relationships with manufacturers that specialised in knits, so we met with them and they are amazing.

FTN: Do you plan to extend into other sports areas?

ET: Eventually yes.

FTN: What advice would you give anyone out there who has an idea but have no clue where to begin? Research. research and do more research. ha! You can never know too much.

ET: Where can our readers find more about your 30:fifteen brand?, on twitter @Team30fifteenUK and on our facebook page

FTN: Emily, thank you very much for talking to us today.

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.