Violeta Tentomas | Who's Your

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Violeta Tentomas

Designer and Director of West 14th
Violeta is an expat from New York City (via the way of New Jersey where she grew up) , now settling on the sunny shores of Bondi Beach. Violeta thought it would be nice to live on the beach… more than eight years later and she’s still here, heading up her contemporary and ulta-luxe leather label, West 14th. Violeta first studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, then landed a role with Ralph Lauren as a womenswear buyer before relocating to Sydney as Fashion Director for Pink Zebra. The perfect fusion of New York City’s vibrancy and the sun-kissed glamour of Bondi Beach, West 14th combines urban attitude with head-turning elegance in quality leather pieces you’ll love for a lifetime.

Violeta Tentomas

Home is…
Bondi Beach, Sydney NSW (via NYC)

What do you do?
Leather lover and Director of West 14th.

What can’t you leave the house without?
Lip balm, trident bubble gum (imported from USA), my iPhone & a West 14th piece! Proving you can wear leather year round!

What does luxury mean to you?
It’s the everyday ‘special’ essentials that make my life easier and happier, such as an amazingly creamy coffee in the morning or a great pair ripped jeans that fit perfectly! To me it’s about spending a bit more on an item or experience that makes you either feel good, brings you comfort or makes you confident. I think of West 14th as luxury pieces – it’s an everyday investment that makes you feel special & confident each day you wear it!

Your fashion label, West 14th, was inspired by your time spent in New York? How so? And what do you think makes the city so revered?
I was brought up in the tri-state area so NYC was my playground leading into my professional life. For me it’s the pace of the city, the grandness and the grittiness that I love! My life in NYC became more electrified and special after moving to Sydney. It was so pleasing to hear the enthusiasm Australians share for NY especially within the fashion industry. It was a natural choice to have New York as my muse and play the biggest character in the brand’s story. It’s a place that evokes joy, freedom and self-discovery. I am continuously inspired and drawn to this city. And any piece of the collection can easily be placed on any street in NYC! 

Your ultimate go-to outfit is…
Ripped jeans, oversized tee & a leather jacket. It’s all about being stylishly comfortable for me and this outfit always does the trick!

Who is the West 14th woman?
The West 14th woman is me. It’s you. It’s my mum! She is a confident, smart woman who appreciates style and quality. At heart she’s an adventurer, curious and wants to explore. What I love about our brand is it can be worn by the cool-girls during fashion week or to a powerhouse CEO to dinner with her husband, through to stylish mums on school pickup. She’s at an age that life is good and can afford an everyday luxury like leather.

Favourite area in Sydney for shopping? New York?
Gould Street, Bondi is an after yoga-then-brunch Saturday ritual with the girls. The Intersection in Paddington is always a must-visit post our meetings with our PR agency. New favourite place to shop is on Elizabeth Street and surrounding streets in NoLita area of downtown NY. Also it’s close enough to walk over to SoHo for big name brand shopping which makes this area a full day of indulgence in New York.

When did you know you were going to choose fashion design as your career?
It wasn’t until I turned 16 that my creative side sparked with interest to pursue a creative future. One afternoon instead of visiting a friend’s house we both took the train into NYC to explore – which at 16 was a defiantly not allowed by our parents! I came across The Fashion Institute of Technology city-campus on 27th Street & 7th Avenue. After seeing all the fashion students rushing off to class, I knew I was meant to study fashion at this school………and so I did! I studied Fashion Merchandise Management (aka Business Management) and completed internships with businesses such as Henri Bendel, Nine West and Ralph Lauren. Post-graduation, I landed a role in Ralph Lauren’s buying offices for womenswear and so my fashion career began as a Buyer.

Best travel tip you’ve ever learnt?
Get to know the locals. It’s an essential to understanding the culture of a place and opens up new adventures.

Your last meal would be…
Tough question! Something with lamb or a homemade Mexican burrito… I love cooking and sharing food with friends. My partner and I cook most nights of the week so would want to make one of our signature dishes as a last… No, wait! It would be the molten fudge brownie with double thicken cream my partner makes. I have the worst sweet tooth so couldn’t live without chocolate!

What’s next for West 14th?
We have been working on a new winter collection due to arrive to stores in March 2015. The brands direction and mood is evolving and the curiosity to be ‘nomadic’ is explored. Keep an eye out for the new campaign- it’s one of our best! We are also focusing on our Luxe Basics pieces too. I keep coming back to a short list of basic pieces that anchor my wardrobe, so we are finally giving them the airtime they deserve. What else… there is always something on the go so stay tuned!

  • We love West 14th’s branding and design, who’s your go-to graphic designer who brought your label to life?
  • Danielle is a talented graphic designer that brings my thoughts to life with on-brand and innovative visual communication.