Tif Florentina . The Designer
I am Tif Florentina and this is the story behind Nakota Tuwa.
Ever since I was a little girl I used to sew, knit and embroider with my lovely Nanna which is where my first spark and influence for design started.
My gorgeous Mother is a very talented designer who worked for many big brands, pre kids. Some kidswear brands, some naughty lingerie and also for Puma designing all the crazy 80’s bright coloured ski wear.
My Dad has also always worked in luxury goods and has a great eye for fashion and an incredible business mind.
Safe to say the creative juices were already flowing.
Throughout my childhood we travelled and were very lucky to live all around the world which enabled me to experience different cultures from birth. We lived in Tokyo, Germany, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Living in all these countries enabled me to really become malleable to any culture and make friends quickly. I also find that due to travel I am able to now read people very well and understand who they are and what they want.
I studied Fashion Clothing & Design BTEC at Stamford College and then went on to get my BA (hons) degree in Fashion Design at Sheffield Hallam University. Anyone who has studied fashion can tell you it’s a tough course and you are worked hard. All nighters in the sewing rooms, going through so many 2B pencils and fine liners, whilst covering your blistered fingers from the hand sewing and thread cuts. Of course you get to go and have your wild times and also meet the most interesting characters, being on a design course.
Nakota Tuwa was born from my final collection at uni where I was inspired by native American culture and my obsession with feathers. As a little girl I was strongly influenced by Pocahontas and Mulan. These are two of the strongest women in the Disney world and being a strong character myself I always aspired be like those independent women.
The collection embodied the strength of a tribal warrior whilst maintaining the sexy, body empowered resort wear clothing of silk lycra bikinis and silk chiffon overlays.
After leaving uni I joined an amazing group called ‘The Christy group’ based up in the North of England. We had the most fun designing fancy dress clothing for all the big supermarkets in the UK. We also had international clients including Dineyland Paris, which I was the manager for.
After leaving I worked for some incredible fashion brands including All Saints, Boohoo and Missguided. To be honest the big, crazy, fast fashion world was not for me.
So I packed a bag for the adventure of my life.
After travelling around a few countries in Asia, stopping off in Vietnam and teaching English for six months, Sri Lanka's luscious, magical island grounded me.
There is something so inspiring and powerful about the island which I was so drawn to.
This was when the true Nakota Tuwa was born.