SOMETHING FOR THE SCRAPBOOK: Ten years after she started blogging, Andy Torres (@StyleScrapbook) is launching her direct-to-consumer line of sportswear under the AIT label.
Growing up in Mexico, her tall stature — nearly 5 feet, 11 inches by the age of 14 — made clothes shopping challenging. Accustomed to being bullied for her height, Torres vowed to become a fashion designer. “The moment I turned 18 I said, ‘I’m outta here. I’m going to move to Europe and work in the fashion industry.’ Everybody told me that wasn’t possible since I was from a small town in Mexico and that stuff doesn’t really happen.”
After a few years of studying fashion design at a university in Mexico, Torres was swayed by her best friend to move to Amsterdam to study there as a stepping stone to a job in Paris. Unable to find a job in fashion there due largely to a language barrier, Torres started uploading the photos she couldn’t afford to print for her portfolio and decided she would teach herself how to write fashion posts in 2007. Having sewn since the age of seven, she decided to start posting tutorials including her interpretations of designer looks she liked but couldn’t afford. As she gained other experience — a 2011 TED talk about successful blogging and alliances with H&M, Cartier and Canon among them — she never lost sight of wanting to develop a sportswear collection.
In the last five years, at least five companies approached her about designing a collection. The Los Angeles-based Instaco eventually won her over, appreciating her styling, trend and sewing knowledge. “I wanted to have complete control of the brand and they understood that from Day One,” she said. “I always say I’m designing elevated basics.” Retailing from $49 to $129, her debut AIT collection includes 23 styles, but it is meant to be a buildable brand with satin slipdresses, button-down shirts and French terry hoodies.
Torres steers clear of paid appearances to some degree. “I don’t like to put myself in situations where I’m seen as above other people in a room because I don’t feel that way,” she said.
With her home office in Amsterdam and Instaco based in Los Angeles, Torres finds herself trying to disconnect from her phone and social media sometimes and meditate at night. “It’s really crazy to live in this new digital world where you realize your business is yourself and your whole success relies on yourself. Having to keep up with that and try to strike a balance has been definitely tricky,” she said. “But I’m hanging in there.”
Given a break in the action, she likes to set her phone aside to hang out with her neurologist boyfriend who is getting his Ph.D. in Alzheimer’s research in Holland.