Toby Clark is a Welsh born fashion designer and founder of ‘Toby etc‘ a design consultancy company.
Widely experienced in the fashion & textiles industry, Toby’s design methodology has influenced a number of international brands. His decade of design for Margaret Howell received three nominations for ‘Menswear Designer Of The Year’ at the British Fashion Awards.
A proven specialist in menswear, Toby has a reputation for authentic design products and original brand concepts. His sensory intuition and evolutional approach to design has attracted loyal consumers.
Throughout his career Toby has felt affinity with natural materials, particularly wool. Having learnt to handknit at 8 years old, this early fascination with textiles prompted him towards a career in fashion. After graduating from the Royal College Of Art in London he started his own clothing label which earned him the title of Welsh Fashion Designer of The Year. His launch collection was selected by the International Wool Secretariat to feature at Premiere Vision in Paris. In recent years Toby has renewed his love for wool becoming an ambassador for the Campaign For Wool in New Zealand.
A quiet activist of environmental causes, Toby favours brands with an ecological purpose and who respect our planet’s finite resources.
During the economic slowdown prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Toby began to exclusively wear pre worn items of clothing. This represented his personal resistance to the fashion industry’s insatiable demand for new products made out of new textile materials.
To emphasise this thinking, Toby began wearing the same set of clothes every single day for a full calendar year, aiming to offset the negative impact he personally created as a designer. Estimated to be 500,000 newly made products designed between 1990 to 2017 and which contributed to an excess of clothing the world’s consumers did not necessarily need, but rather desired. His Same Clothes Everyday manifesto was admired by Lidewij Edelkoort who invited him to be part of her World Hope Forum.
To underline his design philosophy, Toby has written articles for academia, recently authoring ‘The Provenance Of Fashion’ published by Bloomsbury. While an art student in Bournemouth his written thesis on ‘Uniforms’ turned into a collaboration with photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.
Having established a career as a clothing designer and design consultant Toby continues to pursue opportunities within sustainable and ethical parameters, seeking to preserve the natural balance of our eco-system.
To review a fuller background of Toby’s career, please click on the Biography section.
A company profile and curriculum vitae is available on request.
“I think of myself as an arbiter of beautifully crafted objects and a fashion philosopher of sorts. I pursue honest design and seek to create products in harmony with nature.
My career has tended to be entrepreneurial, developing original concepts for niche lifestyle brands. I resonate with brands who instil a sense of purpose and design discipline as an important motivation for their work. I admire brands who create beautifully crafted products that are human-centered, with consideration for the end-user and our planet.
My design approach starts by quietly observing the inner culture of a brand organisation and then contributing meaningful pragmatic solutions, that do not seek to reinvent the wheel. The simpler the better.
I prefer to focus on the social benefits that good design can bring to others, rather than the profitable gain. I help and mentor young designers starting their own brands and who share a desire to create an environmentally sound footprint.
I value authenticity and integrity over imitation. I feel attracted to people with a natural incidental style, rather than those who chase consumer trends. I resist technology that seeks to replicate human attributes and feel a great aversion to the A.I. world of human avatars that seems likely to infiltrate our future society.
I endorse holistic design-thinking. During the design creation phase I consider the environmental impact and social responsibility within the supply chain and strive to reduce the need to discard or throwaway clothing & textile products. I do this by creating timeless products that are quality driven and encouraging their frequent use and then repair. I personally like to wear the same set of clothes until they physically wear out.
My principal desire is to help bring progressive change to the fashion industry. I share the overriding concerns about global supply chains, which often conceal how and where goods are made. The willing instigators of such practises often adopt a blind moral code and fail to consider the impact either on our planet or how the garment workers are treated within the manufacturing process.
Am passionate about ‘localism’ in business models and concepts that directly connect people with their place. I consider this a type of urban activism that benefits our social wellbeing.
I take inspiration from many different aspects of our living world and am fascinated by New Zealand’s tuataras. These creatures being the only living species on earth to have survived when the dinosaurs died out. Born with a third eye for extra periphery vision and hearts that beat just once per minute, they remain the true survivors on this earth. While the dinosaurs dominated the landscape and seemed to demand all of the attention, they did not possess the tuataras evolutionary ability to adapt, especially to climate change. A lesson we can all learn from.”