Be patient. It’s unrealistic to assume you will become a creative director or CEO straight out of college. Work hard, enjoy where you are, and learn as much as you can to keep growing. If you keep racing to the top, you’ll burn out.
As part of our series about the 5 things you need to succeed in the fashion industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing, Masha Titova.
Masha Titova is a fashion designer who was born in Boston, raised in Moscow, and consulted in Los Angeles. After working for Kanye West and BCBGMaxazria she took the leap and moved back to Boston where she officially launched TITOV in 2019. Pulling from inspiration from living around the world, she’s able to cater to a unique customer with one of a kind designs. She’s motivated by wanting every woman to feel like what they are wearing is made for them. She is a member of Rebecca Minkoff’s Female Founders Collective and has been featured in The Boston Globe & NBC.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you so much for having me! My path to creating TITOV started three years ago when I noticed a rash spreading around my chest, getting so bad I had to take my bra off. I realized the materials on my bra had led to a severe irritation of my skin. I spent months researching the art of making the perfect bra, being trained by industry experts. Last year, I launched TITOV to give women the perfect lingerie in hard to find sizes.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?
I was living in Boston and right after I graduated from college, I was offered a job in Los Angeles. The only caveat was that I had to move within a week, or the position would no longer be available. I spent that following week moving out of my apartment, searching for an Airbnb and car rental, and trying to figure out what neighborhood to live in. That was one of the hardest weeks of my life and when I landed in LA, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. Fast forward 5 years later and I could not be more grateful for taking that leap, even though at the time it felt so scary.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Assuming everyone would be comfortable taking pictures in their underwear! Even working with model agencies, there have been times that they say no to the photoshoot because of the lingerie. I am so appreciative of all my friends that have agreed to help and model.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Attention to detail is our obsession. We nitpick everything from our manufacturing process, to the product, to the way everything is shipped. We don’t create any waste in our production process, by donating out scraps to be reused, and well as sourcing recycled fabrics when we can. Every element on our lingerie gets wear-tested to make sure nothing irritates the skin. We want our customers to feel like they are getting something that was specifically made for them.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
We are all glued to our screens these days which means emails come in at all times of the day. To avoid getting burned out, I make time to stay away from any screens. I’d recommend finding that thing that brings you joy and physically forces you to not check your phone or do work. Something like taking a bath, cooking complicated meals, or remodeling furniture. Things where your phone or laptop has no place being.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We have been fortunate to have the materials and resources on hand to sew cotton face masks. We have donated to anyone requesting them, as well as to a local hospital. In a crisis we all need to pull together and help one another.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The only constant is change.” This one has been with me since I can remember. For the past 10 years, I have moved 11 times (between states and countries). These moves usually mean large life adjustments as well, so I am no stranger to change. For this year I had a clear view of where I was going, and it felt a bit too comfortable. I was not expecting a pandemic, yet it somehow makes sense. This change has been one of the more difficult ones that have come my way. I have been forced to rethink a lot of things not only at work but in my life.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
With everything happening because of the pandemic, shifts in the supply chain will be interesting to watch. I’ve spoken with other brand owners who have moved to domestic production because Italy and China had shut down. They saw such a great benefit in being closer to the facilities that they will continue to produce locally even after everything settles. If a lot of brands move even part of their supply chain locally, then there will be a much quicker turnaround time in place and less emission from shipping around the globe.
What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”. Please share a story or example for each.
- A love for what you do. Fashion is fast-paced and can force you to work long tiresome hours. It’s an industry that is always on the move and with that, you need to be 100% certain you truly love what you do. Every job position I have held required me to be at my best and always available. Now building my own company, TITOV, that has only intensified. I am working from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep, yet it doesn’t feel like work most days.
- You don’t have to go to fashion school. There is an entire infrastructure that runs the fashion industry that has nothing to do with designing. At one of my previous positions, I was asked to move from product development into production and I ended up falling in love with it. I know plenty of people who worked in biotreatment, engineering, teaching etc. that successfully found a job in fashion.
- Don’t burn bridges. It’s incredible how often I receive a text from a friend asking what my opinion is of someone applying for a position at their company. It’s a much smaller world than you can imagine.
- Be nice. The days of The Devil Wears Prada are thankfully behind us. Everyone has hard days and a simple act of kindness can go a long way.
- Be patient. It’s unrealistic to assume you will become a creative director or CEO straight out of college. Work hard, enjoy where you are, and learn as much as you can to keep growing. If you keep racing to the top, you’ll burn out.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
The fashion industry has a season problem. Jackets begin to sell in July when it’s hot and then go on sale in January when the cold just starts to begin. In addition, fast fashion companies offer new styles every other month. The industry needs to offer fewer options but supply better quality products. At TITOV we decided from day one that we would not follow any seasons and sell only high-quality timeless styles.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d love to create a space where people can talk freely. There is a stigma about discussing feelings especially when someone isn’t doing well. When we all start to open up, you realize that you aren’t the only one feeling that way and most importantly you are able to get support. Criticizing anxieties and sadness will only make things worse, and why do that when we could all work towards being happier humans?
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can find us on any social media under @titovlabel ✨