A lifelong love for the luxury of leather has lead to this. After nineteen years of working for some of the world’s most prestigious labels, Tonya Hawkes releases her own designs. Even as a teenager, Tonya Hawkes seemed to have a calling. As a keen horsewoman, she found herself fascinated by the workmanship of the leather goods and tack she used every time she rode her Arabian horse, Major Shaamraq. After finishing school, she attended Seattle Central’s famous fashion program, before beginning her career in New York City with luxury fashion house Donna Karan and DKNY. While she excelled in training involving haute couture draping and pattern-making, Tonya found herself equally drawn to the labels’ accessories, and began making her mark as an expert in the field.
During her nine years with the famous brand, she directed the DKNY accessory design team through a time when it became one of most profitable divisions of the company, eventually becoming an executive at Donna Karan and VP of shoes and accessories. Then Italy beckoned. Giovanna Furlanetto, president of global luxury accessory brand Furla, personally chose Tonya to become the company’s creative director in Bologna. In her role directing and managing all aspects of the accessories line, from handbags to home wares, she brought the brand to a younger audience with an appreciation for luxury. For the past seven years, Tonya has continued to work in Italy, collaborating with an impressive role call of fashion houses as Sergio Rossi, Pollini, Elie Tahari, Gianfranco Ferré, and Alice + Olivia. The result is that she has built an outstanding reputation for creating original designs that capture the essence of a brand. While she still calls New York home, Tonya uses her international lifestyle to inspire her.
Tonya Hawkes collection – as ever – features an eclectic array of shapes and forms, inspired by a wildly diverse set of design references.
From the 20’s Deco-inspired baguettes - reminiscent of vintage Cartier jewellery -to the Lucite plate detailing - inspired by ancient Japanese armour - and the vintage Scandinavian design references among others, the range takes a journey through time and style, arriving at this eye-catching and visionary new season collection. The palette too feels fresh and diverse – with an aesthetic reminiscent of 1930s Italian Deco design and vintage Bauhaus sensibilities. The collection’s backdrop of exotic skins – such as ostrich, Nappa, lacquered calf skin and matte snakeskin - plus textured features, such as suede ruffles, laser cut lattice, acetate detailing and hand-finished tassels - all lend the bags the right balance between ornamental embellishment and collage-style minimalism. Made from a mix of the exotic and the sculptural, the materials are sourced from the finest tanneries and suppliers, and largely finished in Italy by specialist artisans. Each piece is a labor of love and a testament to Hawkes’ singular design vision: each one a true collectible in its own right.
In late March of 2012 Tonya Hawkes presented his debut collection, with clear direction from Vogue US whom Introduces Tonya Hawkes to the two of the "it -girl" New York boutiques and the brand is immediately positioned amongst the company of all leading luxury labels.
After only six months from the launch date, six of the most important retailers push the brand Tonya Hawkes in the lists of designers, fashion bloggers, industry press and stylists, all move to learn more about the brand.
Names like Giovanna Battaglia for Vogue Japan, fashion magazines like Elle, Flair, WWD, New York Post, New York Times, Style.com are interested in the brand, the world famous magazine Harper's Bazaar publishes a full-page editorial of her clutches in their October issue, all this years before the end of 2012. Today Tonya Hawkes brand has been services with over 100 editorials in major magazines Vogue, Marie Claire, Elle, Harper's Bazaar in the editions around the world without any assistance from press agencies.
The Tonya Hawkes bags have graced the red carpet of various events worn by celebrities like Solange Knowles, Alicia Keys, Mindy Kaling, Song Jia, Alexia Meyers and adored by the most influential fashion bloggers such as Louise Roe, Leandra Medine aka Man Repeller, Olivia Palermo, Paul Stella and Diana Pereira.
The Tonya Hawkes brand continues to expand her brand awareness with 80 boutiques and department stores worldwide including London, Paris, Milan, Bologna, Capri, Sardegna, Monaco, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Bangkok, Moscow, Tbilisi, Baku, Beirut, Kuwait City, Dubai, Qatar, Riyadh, Lagos, Sao Paulo, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Boca Raton, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Los Angeles and Aspen.