Interview & Photo: Lyz Olko
The designer Teni Adeola’s ruffled renaissance inspired streetwear label began two years ago in her dorm room at Parsons, when she began posting the pieces she was making on snapchat and instagram and people began contacting her saying they needed the pieces for themselves. And so….”Slashed by Tia” was born. Since then she has created custom pieces for musicians and well known talented people like Kali Uchis and Alexis Jae. Teni grew up in London, and was born in Nigeria and currently lives in New York where she attends college at Parsons. She puts a lot of research into her work and draws inspiration from both art history and her own.
Lyz: I have been a fan of your work for some time somehow stumbling upon a series of photos featuring some beautiful pieces of yours shot amongst flowers via the blessing/curse that is instagram. This is one of the things I love about it, the discovery of someone or something you didn’t know about before that is really special and cool. There are also obvious downsides, as a designer it opens up the door to easy access to your designs and editorial concepts, to name one example. How do you feel about social media and its role in what you do? Does it have a larger presence in your life and collection other than an accessible form of presenting?
Teni: I feel like today social media probably is the most accessible form of presenting particularly for my target audience. It’s helped me connect with several amazing creatives, it is motivating when people you grew up listening to or watching reach out saying they love your clothes. It’s also made it easy for people to spot the design and know where it from however it also makes room for unoriginality and ripping off rather than being inspired so I kind of love it and hate it and the same time.
Lyz: I was really looking forward to attending your show, and brought my friend Jack with me. We left with a great feeling, discussing how genuine it was, fun, the collection was beautiful and the models were all incredible, so beautiful and each person stood out on their own. Your show really stood out to me during fashion week.
Your show took place at The Church of the Ascension in the West Village in NYC and it was a beautiful and perfect example of how spirituality is something that is beyond and unrelated to religious dogma and opens up allowing all in. Are you religious or spiritual? How did you develop the concept for this?
Teni: I grew up in a household with a Muslim dad and Christian mum and they’ve lived together in harmony for over 25 years. They never really forced me to be either but they always taught me about God and to have faith which I feel is something that has helped me every step of the way. My mum is such a warrior I’ve never really met something with such unwavering faith like hers, she’s almost always certain everything is going to be okay and that was the aura I felt the night of my show. I didn’t panic once, we were in a beautiful and special environment and that played a part in the outcome.
Lyz: How does if feel to see the clothes worn within this context then on pop stars and well known singers and celebrities in another?
Teni: Yes I view my clothing as art rather than just plain clothing. When the viewer stands in front of an art piece , it may make one sad while it may be thought provoking and interesting to another and someone else may find it amusing. It’s similar very similar with my clothing, it becomes whatever the girl who’s wearing it wants it to be. I’ve has girls skateboard across union square in ruffle pants, I’ve had someone wanting it for their wedding , another for their 21st and for me with wherever they go and whatever reason they’ve chosen to wear it they’ll all be the girl that walks in the room and all eyes are on them(for good reasons!!).
Yes I view my clothing as art rather than just plain clothing. When the viewer stands in front of an art piece, it may make one sad while it may be thought provoking and interesting to another and someone else may find it amusing. It’s similar very similar with my clothing.
Lyz: Running your own business while in school is a lot. Do you make a clear divide between school and “work” or does it kind of merge?
Teni: I do make a clear divide in terms of organizing myself and knowing when homework deadlines need to be met rather than having a shoot or a fitting. However I’m studying Cultures and Media. I learn so much business wise and about the media in general and I’m able to apply it in ways that help my line.
Lyz:I love that a lot of your influences are from paintings, who are some artists you love and draw inspiration from?
Lyz: What music do you listen to while working?
Teni: I listen to pretty much everything. I love music I can’t really pinpoint songs cause I love so many buy my favorite right now is along the coast by Azealia Banks.
Lyz: Dream city to live in after NYC?
Teni: I want to move to LA.
Lyz: Do you work with friends often or develop friendships through creative collaborations?
Teni: A bit of both. I have fewer friends I work with. I like my friends to just be my friends quite a few of them aren’t even interested my fashion the way I am and them think I’m crazy it’s nice having that.
Lyz: The face masks and earrings really compliment the clothing, did you concept these with the creators of each? They are really beautiful.
The jewelry was by Monirath and masks Leila Jinnah.
My mum is such a warrior I’ve never really met something with such unwavering faith like hers, she’s almost always certain everything is going to be okay and that was the aura I felt the night of my show. I didn’t panic once, we were in a beautiful and special environment and that played a part in the outcome.