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FF: And how do you feel about the way the press mentioned the June Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver) shirtwaist dresses in the spring collection? Do you want that kind of label?
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TODD THOMAS: I don’t care.

FF: You don’t care.

TODD THOMAS: No. That’s not what it’s about. So it doesn’t really matter to me. I mean, I wouldn’t say that about what I do. There were, you know, a few styles like that, but that wasn’t the overall… I mean, that’s when you have to take a look at the subtexts, and you know what that was and what it is now. It was pearls in daytime then, and in a certain way that a lady behaved and was, you know. I mean, now it’s a big joke.

FF: But certainly you weren’t even alive during that period.


FF: So were those television shows of any influence?

TODD THOMAS: Oh yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I remember too as a child, like really young, like must have been before kindergarten, I had a babysitter, this older woman who’d feed us donuts with butter and we’d watch the television. You know. She was like a--I don’t know, a sixty year old fag hag, and we’d look at gowns in Forties black and white movies on television.

FF: And did she dress that way herself?

TODD THOMAS: Oh no, she was huge and old. And then, you know PS, we also watched wrestling too...

FF: And what about the way your mother dressed?

TODD THOMAS: She was always very stylish.

FF: When you say she was in education, did she teach school?

TODD THOMAS: She was a special ed assistant teacher. My father was a principal.

FF: Of the school you went to?

TODD THOMAS: No. Unfortunately.

FF: And when you say your mother was stylish, can you elaborate on that at all?

TODD THOMAS: I mean she was really attractive. She was like a beauty queen.

FF: Was she a muse in any way for you?

TODD THOMAS: Certainly not in the beginning. And I would have to say probably not except within the area of practicality, of working within limitations, I think. Now, we were like a lower middle income family, so I’ve applied that type of affect to what I do, most bang for the buck kind of thing.

FF: And what prompted you to decide to create your own label?

TODD THOMAS: Just--I don’t know--just feeling the need to be more autonomous from Seventh Avenue.

FF: And so when did you actually launch your name?

TODD THOMAS: I don’t know--I don’t know that I have, really.

FF: Well, I think you’ve gotten a lot of good press. I think you’ve gotten some good response.

TODD THOMAS: I don’t know. I mean I don’t really--I kind of don’t feel like I have to the degree that I’d like to. So I mean--and I feel like I’ve been doing it forever on the other hand. So technically, I don’t know. I mean it’s not my first time around, and I’ve been around for a while, but I’m not really participating on the caliber that I would like to. I don’t feel very off the ground.

FF: What do you attribute that to?

TODD THOMAS: Primarily the politics of the industry.

FF: And could you be a little more specific as to what exactly that is?

TODD THOMAS: Well it’s just that--I think that it’s difficult to be taken seriously as an artist within the fashion industry, meaning Seventh Avenue, because it’s not really about integrity and creativity and talent as much as it is about marketing and numbers. And I don’t feel that in the States we embrace our artists as openly as in Europe.

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And I think that that’s kind of one of the reasons why I think it’s funny, or you know interesting, to see New York jumping ahead of everybody in the game in the shows, and trying to beat out Paris and this one and that one, when in fact I don’t think that they have as much to offer, because--really it’s not about looking for something new or the best thing.

And I think that’s what’s kept them back. And PS, I’m not a very--you know I’m my own worst enemy and self-sabotager, and I don’t really care about participating on that level. And most of the people that I admire don’t, or, you know, people like Geoffrey Beene and Steven Sprouse. People that you know aren’t really in the thick of it.

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FF: So who would you say dictates this? Is it the buyers from the big stores?

TODD THOMAS: No, I don’t know that it’s the buyers so much as I think it’s the people that are producing what is consumed by the buyers. It’s somewhere on the level of who’s letting people in for the buyers to even look at. So that would be like Fern what’s-her-name from Seventh on Sixth, and you know that whole arena. I don’t remember her last name, but she’s possibly the most sinister character in fashion, I think.

FF: And is the politics also related to how you get into a store? Because when you go into the stores you see all the Goliaths; you see Calvin Klein and you see DKNY and it almost reminds me of a supermarket where you have to vie for shelf space. I mean how do you get yourself--I mean whether you want it or not, how do you get yourself into a large store?

TODD THOMAS: Well I think it’s about money too, and about having the capacity to operate that way. So you know good news, bad news, you’ve got an order, you have to fill it. So I mean I think it’s that--that’s another element in, you know, arriving somewhere in your career.

FF: Right, right. And how would you like your business to work and grow in the next three to five years?

TODD THOMAS: I think number one I’d like my own outlet for my product.

FF: You mean a store front.

TODD THOMAS: Yeah. I don’t like to deal with buyers and I don’t like to have people try to like me--you know I’m really bad at all of that. So I think the route for me is to just maintain a relatively small operation comparatively speaking and try to feel like I have more control over the product by offering it just in those places.

FF: So that’s in the plans.

TODD THOMAS: Well, not actively, but yeah. Kind of, you know—passively, yeah.