Duane Topping

Frost featured designer: Duane Topping

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-10-31-05-pmHow do you define fashion?

Fashion should be a statement.  What you wear should speak volumes about who you are as a person.  So often that message is tied to a social construct of what is appropriate for what woman.  For me, I say make the statement you want with the garments you choose!  So, for me, Fashion is defined by who is wearing the clothes, and what you wear can redefine the world.

How long have you be designing your collection and where can we find them?

I started work on this Fall Line after I launched my Spring earlier this summer.  My main goal was to elevate my own ascetic and create a cohesive and mature look.  I still wanted to maintain an undertone of rebellion without losing the classic lines of femininity.  It was all about the journey.  Not just my own as a designer, but I want the women who wear my clothes to feel a part of their own journey.  I’ve tried to design a look that expresses the changes I’ve made as a person and a designer.  My hope is that I can share the message that regardless of who the world thinks you are, you define you.  Every woman is beautiful, and that’s who my garments are for, every woman. All the pieces are available on my website www.toppingdesigns.com.    


How does your inspiration appear in your designs?

My inspiration came from the suffrage movement of the 1920s.  I am a feminist myself, and have always admired the early pioneers of the feminist movement.  I wanted to take the sophistication of the 1920s women with their rebellious attitude and put that in a contemporary design.  So, the rebellious details in my garments that hint at the underlying power of femininity I think push against that norm.  I also think my silhouettes have the subtle appeal of the flapper combined with a 1940s bombshell.  Fabric was key as well, the strong structured leather with the contrast of the lighter laces and chiffon demonstrate the balance of elegance and power that all women represent.

Duane ToppingWhat do you want your fashion to personally express to the world when worn?

Part of what I hope to be known for as a designer is my push against the hegemonic norm of what “ideal” beauty should be.  I really work hard towards designing garments that appeal to a wide range of women.  My message is simple, every woman is gorgeous and so my clothes are for every woman.  I don’t design strictly for the traditional sample size, I welcome the challenge of curves. I hope that when woman buy my clothes they feel empowered to be themselves, to look great and feel like they can take on the world. 

What one designer would you love to collaborate with? 

Margaret Sanzo!  Hands down a marvelous and talented designer and a truly humble and gracious woman.  She inspires me every time I see her garments.