by Erika Togashi July 02, 2018 3 min read
Profession / Business / Title:
Designer & Business Owner of SEPTEMBER – sustainable surf & swimwear
Jane of All Trades
List of brands designed for:
The North Face
Deus Ex Machina
How long have you been in your profession?
Ivy wears the Malibu One Piece in Ivory
Real talk- PROS vs CONS in your profession?
It’s never what you think it’s going to be.
The people. I’ve met some of my closest friends through work. I wouldn’t be where I am now in my career if it weren’t for the amazing mentors and role models I’ve met throughout the years. I’ve been so fortunate that at all the companies I’ve worked for, the level of respect, encouragement and compassion towards each other in the design department has been next level. I know there are many companies where that is not the case.
Being creative and seeing your vision come to life. There is a great joy and feeling of accomplishment when you see people appreciate and love your designs.
Being able to travel to all parts of the world for work; seeing and experiencing other cultures and exploring many parts of the world were all opened to me through my jobs. Having the opportunity to product test the gear I was designing for pro athletes let me also snowboard, climb and mt. bike to some amazing places on earth. These opportunities are unique to working in the Outdoor Industry and I didn’t have them when I worked for fashion brands – but the work life balance that is highly encouraged and a big part of each companies’ culture. I didn’t appreciate it until I no longer had it!
You only really design about 10% of the time. The rest is dealing with the backend of design ie: dealing with factories, ordering fabric, fitting samples, reviewing patterns, QC and the list goes on…
POLITICS of the game. In the Outdoor Industry it is still very much a boy's club and well, if you’re not a boy, the uphill climb is that much more difficult. In the fashion world, it’s all about who you know, what you wear, & where you went and if you don't want to play that game…well….you’re most likely going to be on the outside circle.
Boardshort designs for Deus Ex Machina
Best moment in your career?
When I was hired to design for J.Crew Men’s after everyone said it would be nearly impossible to move from designing in the Outdoor Industry to designing in the fashion industry without a design degree. Right now is another best moment in my career, after 1.5years of product testing, I launched my own surf & swimwear brand – SEPTEMBER.
Most challenging moment in your career?
Taking that final leap and really committing to SEPTEMBER 100%. Everything associated with SEPTEMBER is me – my heart and soul and putting it out in the world can be really challenging. I no longer can hide my designs behind the mask of another brand.
What advice can you offer potential designers?
It’s never as glamorous as it looks from the outside, but it’s way more rewarding than you can ever imagine. Listen, learn, be patient and earn your dues. Hustle, put in the long, late hours and understand that there is so much more to learn about being a designer than what you learned in school. Respect everyone you work with regardless of what department they work in. Trim development or QC testing might not sound as ‘glamourous’ as being a designer, but it’s a team effort and without everyone collectively working and respecting each other – the product will always suffer.
Your thoughts on diversity and/or inclusivity in the design industry?
It’s been over 4 years since working for a US-based brand and I hope things have changed since then, but the majority, if not all, brands I’ve designed for have been led by white males and it was a real exclusive ‘boy’s club” and if you are of a different race or gender – it could be real isolating. From what I hear and read, that’s changing – but I wouldn’t be able to tell you first hand. I’m a little out of touch living in Bali.
Favorite inspirational quote?
You don’t need a lot of things, you just need the right things.
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I love the material and color! I feel confident surfing and swimming in it even though it is just a hair small for me but I have always had a hard time finding sizes. Love it! Would definitely recommend this brand to friends
I love everything about the Lucky bottom (and the matching Eden top). I spent a long time searching for a bikini that stays *on* while surfing and this definitely meets that standard. It's also super comfortable and just slips on. The high waist and full coverage bottom are not only feminine and flattering but add a touch of modesty, which I truly appreciate as someone who seeks out more coverage in my surf and swimwear. Definitely my go-to bikini when it comes to surfing. Also, the Plum colour is LIFE! :)
I used it just for swimming on the ocean and jumping off places and is very comfy, stays on its place at all times. The fabric is of good quality and soft to the touch.
Also it seems that as long as you take care of it it won’t become loose.
I love this bikini top! Is so comfy that I even use it as a bra! I rrlove the color green as well! It fits perfectly!
I love this top - stays put, comfortable, seems like it will last.
I feel so elegant and put together in it. Bonus, it stays put for trying out new sports on boards... like wing surfing! I usually wear a size small in most outdoor activewear, but based on the reviews and models measurements I decided to go with M. It was a good choice, but the small may have also worked! I am 5'5" 125lbs, 34 bust, 28 waist, 37 hips.
Great colors and definitely quality material! The cut is super cute, but is for those with small torsos and larger bottom--like an hourglass figure--so take into consideration with sizing. I'm usually a small, but am returning because I would need a medium (5'5", ~130lbs, but I have a straight figure--bottoms fit great, but too small in waist and shoulders).
Love this top. It's light weight and soft. I wish the other colors and prints were in stock- I'd buy another one.
I love the swimwear unfortunately the small was just a little to tight on my waist so I'm going ro try a medium
Such a beautiful top. Love the soft fabric. I wish it had some sort of padding insert, but love it nonetheless and wear it often. True to size. I'm normally a small/34B and the small fit perfectly.
When i wear this to the beach I always get compliments on it. Haven't taken it surfing because I usually prefer more coverage, but it is great for a beach day!
I’m on a surf trip in Indonesia and have been surfing in the Baja suit non-stop! My favorite thing about the design is that I haven’t had to adjust it AT ALL while surfing, even in big surf. The high neck is awesome for sun protection and the suit fits nice and snug.
I wore this suit on a surf trip to Baja and it was perfect for sun protection and surfing in 75 degree water. As a mom of 3 it’s hard to find a suit that is both flattering, functional and protective. I love the cut of the butt and the high neck. The material is also very high quality and doesn’t slip around while surfing. I’d buy this in every color!
Just the right coverage, stay put in bigger surf conditions and look super cute and flattering.
Perfect fit, looks beautiful and functions exactly as needed. This top stays right where it needs to even in solid size waves and wipeouts. Keeps the strain off your neck for anyone with a larger chest. Best bikini top out there for all activities, cannot recommend it enough.