Russian born entrepreneur, Natalya Toporova, certainly has a keen eye for fashion. As a graduate of the Richard Robinson academy for fashion in Ottawa, Canada, Natalya has taken everything she’s learned to create one of the hottest swimwear lines in the city of Miami; a place that expects and commands world-class quality and flair . When I first met Natalya, I could instantly tell that she was a hard working woman with big dreams and an even bigger heart. I recently caught up with Natalya to find out more about her life in Miami, what she has planned for her amazing swimsuit line, and to check out some of her incredible designs.
Antidote: When someone looks at your catalogue, it’s easy to see the quality of your work and how much skill you possess as a designer. Is this what you’ve always wanted to be?
Natalya Toporova: I’ve always wanted to be a designer since I was a little girl but I never thought I had a chance in fashion living in Ottawa, Canada. I didn’t think fashion designers were as common over there, but once I discovered the possibilities, I took the challenge! I love challenges, I’m a perfectionist and I love learning. I started out like everyone else, but over time, with lots of practice, I strived for quality. Working in retail and boutiques gave me a good sense of what clients need and should get in their clothing or swimwear.
Antidote: Who are your favorite designers right now?
Natalya: There are so many favorites, but the most inspiring for me was Alexander McQueen. He designed to create art, emotion and strength in women. He didn’t follow other designers or what the industry asked for, he really stuck to his own design as an artist, and he pushed the boundaries—I loved that!
Antidote: What steps did you take to reach the level you’re at in the design industry?
Natalya: I worked really hard to get to where I am and still have a long way to go to reach my goals. I learned everything from scratch and was very eager, even when I wasn’t perfect in design. I did everything from school, to volunteering at a tailor shop and well, countless sleepless nights working on collections. Even to this day, I’m always learning that new things and seeking new possibilities is the key. Being active in the industry is very important!
Antidote: What is the best part of your job?
Natalya: Seeing clients look amazing in the pieces I created!
Antidote: When designing your swimsuits, where do you draw your inspiration? Do you just follow the current trends and add your own touch or do you try to forge your own identity?
Natalya: I never follow trends. I like to be original and have my own energy. That’s what really makes people stand out. I do a lot of brainstorming, sketching and making samples until the perfect piece is created.
Antidote: Can you describe the latest collection you have?
Natalya: I try to have a little bit of everything in this collection so it brings out everyone’s personality! I try to create pieces that range from edgy cuts to sporty colours and flirty swimsuits that can be worn for any occasion, whether it’s a pool party or the beach, and cuts that enhance a woman’s figure and make them stand out and feel sexy! This summer it’s all about strong pieces, whether it’s a black piece with an edgy cut or sexy piece that is full of colour and life!
Antidote: As a woman who grew up in Canada, were there any difficulties that arose while breaking into the US fashion market?
Natalya: Any difficulty only resided within me on how hard I could work and design to make my pieces stand out from rest. Living in Miami, which is full of swimwear designers, was a little intimidating at first, but I didn’t let it get to me. I tailored my own designs each year to fit better, look stronger and basically tried to perfect my pieces. I have been absolutely blessed with amazing photographers and models that believe in my brand and I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of people who helped bring my swimwear to life!
Antidote: With that said, what has been the best part about living in the world famous city of Miami and how has it helped your career?
Natalya: Living in Miami is really full of opportunities for a swimwear designer. I’ve been really blessed by meeting amazing people from all over the world that come visit Miami, including everyone from top photographers and models that have given me amazing opportunities to be featured in numerous magazines and fashion shows. Miami has given me the opportunity to explore my industry and even get into photography, which has really help my brand grow. In Miami, you have amazing beaches and weather—you just can’t go wrong!
Antidote: If you could choose anywhere in the world to showcase your designs, where would that be?
Natalya: Paris, New York, or Miami (including the Mercedes Benz Swim week) are some of my goals to showcase my work at on a larger scale! I just need a good investor.
Antidote: And finally, in 10 years what is the dream for you and your beautiful designs?
Natalya: I have many goals, but in 10 years, I’m hoping to have my own store or have my swimwear in many stores near you. I just want to expand my brand on a larger scale.
Photography. Natalya Toporova
Designs. Natalya Toporova
Models. Megane Claire and Sunamys Valliba