Seattle native Tonya Hawkes graduated design school and began her now – stellar career in New York City with fashion designer Donna Karan. Eventually leaving behind her position as Vice President of Design – with a twist of fate, Giovanna Furlanetto beckoned Tonya to Europe to take creative helm as President of Design for renown Italian brand FURLA based in Bologna, Italy. She is based in Bologna, Italy which she currently calls home with her husband and their two beautiful boys.
Next, Tonya upped the ante – incorporating her own Product Design & Business Development company in Italy, collaborating with prestigious brands such as: Sergio Rossi, Pollini, Gianfranco Ferre, Elie Tahari, Tommy Hilfiger Europe, Coccinelle, Botkier, Alice & Olivia, Desa 1972 and Aquatalia. Specializing in handbags, footwear and small leather goods.
Simultaneously she followed her life long dream of owning her eponymous brand – in 2012 Tonya launched her debut collection and presented it to Vogue USA. With their support her brand was introduced to New York’s top fashion retailers in collaboration with Vogue.com and was immediately positioned amongst the world’s leading luxury labels.
Fashion heroines Giovanna Battaglia and Anna Dello Russo for W, Vogue Japan, Marie Claire, Elle, Flair, WWD, New York Post, New York Times, Style.com begin spotlighting her brand with editorials interviews and press events. Harper’s Bazaar published 2 full-page editorials of her clutches in their October issue, all this before the end of 2012.
Today Tonya Hawkes brand has appeared in hundreds of beautiful editorials for Vogue US, UK, Brazil, Mexico, China, Russia, Arabia, Italy, Germany, Holland, Marie Claire UK and Italy, ELLE US, UK, Harper’s Bazaar US, Russia, Brazil and China.
Her namesake handbags have graced the red carpet of various events worn by celebrities like Alicia Keys, Solange Knowles, Mindy Kaling, Song Jia, Alexia Meyers and adored by the most influential fashion bloggers such as Olivia Palermo, Leandra Medine aka Man Repeller, Louise Roe, Paul Stella and Diana Pereira.
Tonya finds her inspiration to create through art, culture and travel. She teaches design, branding and art direction at Italy’s most respected design school in Florence – Polimoda – passing down her vast knowledge and expertise in fashion and design.