How TITIKA’s Eileen Zhang Has Turned Activewear Into Couture

by Anastasia Barbuzzi
Anastasia Barbuzzi is the Digital Editor at Style Canada.

If you wandered the heart of Toronto’s fashion district on Queen St. West before 2020 happened, then you probably came across TITIKA‘s storefront, which opened in 2012 after its Barrie, Oakville and London brick and mortar locations achieved critical acclaim.

That was four years after Eileen Zhang graduated from studying fashion at George Brown College, and at the time, “fashion-forward activewear” was still somewhat of a new concept. Even so, there was something more important to her than breaking into the activewear market at a fast fashion pace, and that was the making of well-constructed, ultra-feminine, runway-ready clothes.

Impressively, TITIKA Active Couture is making just as many heads turn online, where the company’s retail presence is now focused. This strategic move by the company has necessitated a closer relationship with the company’s community both in North America and in South East Asia where TITIKA has experienced unprecedented growth since it launched in 2018.

Today, TITIKA‘s development as a brand comes as a result of Eileen’s ambitious activewear offerings that are soft yet powerful, stylish yet edgy, functional yet fashionable. In fact, research has proven that the TITIKA customer does not have to sacrifice style for comfort.

2021 marks TITIKA‘s eleventh year in business, as well as Eileen’s eleventh year at the helm as Chief Creative Officer. All along, TITIKA has been a shining example of what a fusion between athleisure fabrics and couture tailoring can create: daily essentials that perform when in motion and fit the body like clingy ready-to-wear items.

According to Eileen, leading an increasingly busy life can be complicated and that’s why picking what to wear shouldn’t be. Smart, stylish and functional, TITIKA offers versatility, allowing you to move freely and appear stylishly between the office, the yoga studio and the chicest of rooftop bistros.

TITIKA clothing is made out of luxurious, technologically advanced fabrics like Supplex, which provides four-way stretch and Modal, a buttery soft blend incorporated into TITIKA tops. Today, Eileen is just as committed to the quality of TITIKA‘s materials, perfecting her operation and executing her designs.

If truth be told, anyone who knows Eileen understands that her working hours go well beyond nine to five to bolster the momentum of TITIKA‘s business, her main supports being “coffee, walking the dog and, if available, sunshine”.

Eileen’s footpath into fashion began with her move to Canada from China in 2006 as a young wife and mother. She quickly had to adapt to a new culture and language, whilst, at the same time, trying to make a life for her family and realize her dream of becoming a designer.

Once TITIKA took off in North America, Eileen’s design career blossomed. In 2015, she was highlighted as a change maker in the fashion industry by the BBC, and in 2016, she designed sportswear for Madonna’s Hard Candy gym in Toronto.

Soon after, she participated in roundtable talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017, all while continuing her relationship with her alma mater through fashion shows and donations.

2021 will also commemorate the fourth annual TITIKA 100 Fit Women campaign, which empowers influential women around the world to promote a positive and healthy lifestyle to their online communities.

In addition, Eileen will be undertaking two important personal projects throughout the remainder of 2021: an international design competition among fashion schools in Canada and China, as well as a dream she’s hoped to realize for years: Eileen’s Bottega.

The Bottega will be a studio dedicated to the nurturing of design through mentoring, consulting and collaborations with other like-minded artists. Maybe the most intriguing aspect of it is the space that young students are about to fill with ideas, shared thoughts and experiences; a place where they will create and receive feedback from Eileen, who began her quest to design stardom in a very similar environment.

We can’t wait to watch Eileen’s mentees emerge from the Bottega with newfound sophistication as designers and tools to help embolden them in the future. From there, there will be no limit to their success.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED by STYLE CANADA | May 15, 2021

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