Irene Agbontaen is a London-based fashion stylist who created Taller Than Your Average (TTYA) London: an apparel brand offering accessible, modern, functional pieces that are specifically cut for women who are 5’9” or taller. Launched in Selfridges in 2013, TTYA has gone on to have a home in Barneys, New York and was the first pioneering tall brand to debut on ASOS.com.
Her range of jersey pieces have been seen on celebrities like Elle Macpherson, Jourdan Dunn, plus model/actress Daisy Lowe and singer Jessie J. TTYA’s success can be credited to their ability to really know tall girl’s needs as founder Irene Agbontaen stands at 5’11” herself. Not based on trend or seasonal collections, TTYA offers tall women a range of staple timeless pieces with key wardrobe essentials, designed to last beyond the season and fit in with any woman’s existing wardrobe and style. “I wanted to make that excluded girl feel included,” she told ELLE UK. “It’s about being style conscious, not self-conscious. I used to work at ASOS and Selfridges. You know when you go for a job and they mention that the company has ‘ideals’, Selfridges ideal was ‘every woman should be able to come to our store, that’s our thing’ and I’d say ‘well I’m tall and I can’t shop here’ so your ideals don’t really work for me. So it was like, well, there must a market for this kind of girl because I’m surrounded by tall girls all the time and I know things don’t fit them. In real life, we can’t Photoshop jeans to fit us, so that’s the premise of the transition.”
This year, Agbontaen spoke about how she returned to Nigeria to reconnect with her roots. She discusses how she shot her lookbook there finding her entire production team in Nigeria through social media. “The models were all Nigerian based, hair, makeup and photography were all sourced from Nigeria. I’m really proud of that. It’s based around weddings/guests at weddings and it’ll be live on ASOS and in my ASOS Black collection (called ‘I Do’). The reason I shot it in Lagos is because, in my culture, it’s pretty wild when you’re in your 30s and not married. So I thought it’d be a bit lols to be like: ‘well I’m going to shoot this wedding collection and I’m not married. I’m going against the grain, but I’m [also] reconnecting with my culture.”
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