Tonya Hawkes. A journey from New York to Florencia

By María Sánchez

Designing bags found me, I wasn´t looking for it”

Born in Seattle, Tonya began her journey in the design world at Seattle Central College, where she immersed herself in the design program. After graduating, she took a significant leap by joining the luxury fashion house Donna Karan and DKNY in New York, one of the most renowned fashion capitals in the world.

As a passionate equestrian, Tonya was fascinated by the craftsmanship of leather products and saddles she used when horseback riding, materials similar to those she incorporated into the designs of bags and accessories for DKNY collections.

After leading the accessory design team at DKNY for years, Giovanna Furleto, president of the global luxury accessories brand Furla, personally chose Tonya to become the creative director of the company in Bologna, Italy. Tonya’s ideas in bag and home item design attracted a younger audience with an appreciation for luxury.

Today, in Florence, Tonya has built her own brand. Her eponymous bags have been sported by numerous celebrities at various events, while collaborating with several fashion houses such as Alice+Olivia, Sergio Rossi, and Elie Tahari, among others. She has earned a reputation for creating original designs that capture the essence of a brand.

Tonya finds inspiration through travel, art, and culture. She currently leads her own brand and teaches design, art direction, and brand building at Polimoda, the most influential fashion school in Italy, located in Florence, imparting her passion and knowledge in fashion, design, and brand creation.

The journey from New York to Florence has been a journey of learning and growth for Tonya, leaving her mark on the fashion industry by blending New York elegance with Italian craftsmanship in her designs.