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The Designer Crafting ’40s-Inspired Clothes From High-End Castoffs

Patricia Voto’s newly launched One/Of blends sustainability and limited-edition luxury to dazzling effect….

While conceptualizing One/Of, Voto looked to her own treasure trove of a wardrobe. “[I have] a lot of old Dior, pieces I’ve bought from the ’40s,” she says. “Beautiful, classic shapes that are still so relevant now; timeless, really.” When thinking about how to bring these inspirations into the 21st century, she took special care to ensure that each silhouette would flatter a variety of bodies. “I’m trying to be mindful of making really easy, comfortable pieces for any size,” she says. In the end, though, the final result is pure Patricia. “It’s funny—when people look at the collection, they say, ‘Oh, this is very you,’” she says with a chuckle.

The launch of One/Of is a full-circle moment for Voto, who enrolled in the Parsons product design program while interning at showrooms and design firms around the city. “You’d get these orders for 20,000 or 30,000 units of something, and I’d be asking questions to my boss: ‘Who’s making these clothes? How come they’re so inexpensive? How can you get fabric that costs this much?’ And working backwards from that, I’d say, ‘Well, wait a minute. Something here doesn’t add up,’” Voto recalls. She went on to complete a thesis on sustainable fashion, creating a luxury ready-to-wear collection that highlighted artisan craftsmanship around the world.

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After graduation, a friend of a friend asked Voto if she’d be interested in interning for Joseph Altuzarra, whose eponymous brand was just getting started at the time. “He took me under his wing, and honestly, it was such an incredible experience. I am forever grateful for and indebted to him for saying, ‘Yes, you, I’ll work with you,’” she says. In the years since, she’s logged stints with Brock Collection, Lisa Marie Fernandez, and more, but all throughout, Voto continued to dream of one day striking out on her own. “I wanted to take the time to really immerse myself in learning every aspect of what it takes to run a business,” she says. “It took me 10 years, and now I’m here.” Though she’d always dreamed of creating a clothing line centering sustainability, Voto cites her time working with Gabriela Hearst—whose eponymous label is known for its planet-first policy and impeccably crafted designs—as what encouraged her to make the leap.

The Designer Crafting 40sInspired Clothes From HighEnd Castoffs
The Designer Crafting 40sInspired Clothes From HighEnd Castoffs

For months before the launch, Voto flew back and forth to Europe to see Loro Piana yarns and textiles by the storied Maison Bucol in person, shipping her picks home from the hotel since she wasn’t able to board a plane with bulky bolts of fabric in tow. Once she’d traveled the world to find all the high-end fabric castoffs she needed, or as she puts it, done “lots of schlepping,” she decided to produce the line locally. “As a product developer, you really spend a lot of time with factory owners and workers and pattern makers,” Voto explains. “And you fall in love with everybody—or at least I do.” Seeing as how this past year has been a particularly difficult one for New York’s garment district, Voto—who’s self-funding her business—is as proud as she is grateful for the chance to have worked with local firms. “It goes both ways. I need them as much as they need me, and that’s why it’s such a strong partnership.”