The fashion culture in the Hamptons is one of its strongest attributes and we’re fortunate enough as a community to live alongside many of the designers that we wear on a daily basis. Husband and wife duo, Alex and Michael Toccin are the Founders and Creative Directors of two fashion brands, TOCCIN and LDT. While both of their careers were founded in Manhattan, they too, like many others, have found solace in The Hamptons community and spend much of their time Out East.
It’s clear from their social media pages, websites, and street credit that their brands have a clearly defined motto that can be simply defined as “effortless” and “contemporary.” Couldn’t we all use more of those qualities in our lives?
The Toccin’s brands truly speak for themselves, but what is most striking is their success as a husband and wife partnership. In a world where most people seek out success for themselves, the Toccin’s have decided to embark on this professional journey together. It’s clear to see that they’ve done an impressive job.
I spoke with Alex and Michael Toccin on their wildly successful fashion brands and the realities of working with your significant other in business.
First off, being a husband and wife duo in business is a total power move! What are your favorite aspects of this partnership and how has it strengthened your businesses over the years?
AMT: We met as college freshmen and we have been bringing out the best in each other ever since! We both have our own roles and strengths, which is the beautiful part of our partnership with both TOCCIN and LDT. We challenge each other for the better, which allows us to create practical, luxurious pieces for both of our collections.
TOCCIN’s slogan is “effortless contemporary fashion.” Can you talk a bit about the early stages of the brand? Did anything particularly inspire your work in fashion from the beginning?
AMT: Before Toccin, Michael was working with KaufmanFranco, and women were constantly asking him about classic pieces to wear for everyday occasions that didn’t cost $1,000. We saw a need in the marketplace and created the Stylists to a T platform in May 2016. Since we both have experience in the fashion industry, we were constantly getting requests from our friends and family – “how do I put these pieces together” or “how to stay on trend.” Once we started doing that, it really helped us speak to the larger community. We started with a focus solely on Women’s Apparel – we showed women what to wear, how to wear it and where to buy it. We broke down daily wear – work, dinner, etc. and focused on accessibility with the mission to make women feel special, no matter the occasion. Soon after Stylist to a T we launched Toccin. We wanted to provide women with luxurious, get-it-together pieces to fit any lifestyle that were both practical and functional.
You are the creative genius behind not just one, but two fashion brands. What are the distinguishing factors between TOCCIN and LDT?
AMT: Each of our businesses continues to serve as the foundation for the next — Once we launched Stylists to a T and built a community of helping women find what to wear, how to wear it and where to buy it, it was a natural next step for us to create TOCCIN, our first collection launched in September 2019 and was inspired by the wants and needs of real women.
Ultimately, the success and excitement for TOCCIN led to the creation of our newest brand that launched exclusively at Dillard’s in January 2021, LDT. This brand embodies our signature put-together aesthetic and infuses it with a bold yet ageless look and feel. LDT is named after our daughter, Liv Dakota Toccin. We wanted to create a brand that evokes a sense of youthful joy, while still serving up fresh fashion that women of all ages can wear everyday of the week.
It’s evident from your shared Instagram account that family is very important to you. What lessons have you learned as the Founders of TOCCIN and LDT that you’d like to pass onto your children?
AMT: Family is our number one priority! One of our goals as parents is to show our children firsthand the importance of having a strong work ethic and one of the most important values we want to instill in our children is to have passion in whatever they want to do.
In what ways do the Hamptons inspire you personally and professionally?
AMT: Personally, the Hamptons has been an outlet for our family to enjoy quality time together in one of our favorite places. Professionally, the Hamptons allows us to take a step back from the fast pace of the city to appreciate nature and our surroundings and have the quietness to think clearly about the creative development of our two brands.
What is one thing that you always agree on as a couple when it comes to your businesses and what is one thing that differentiates your style as business owners?
AMT: We always agree on our design philosophy for both TOCCIN and LDT, which is to bring women pieces that bring a sense of luxury but are also functional and effortless to put together. We have different strengths, which helps us identify which roles fit us best as business partners. Ultimately, we encourage each other to think outside the box and make sure all of our pieces are not only beautiful but also functional and effortless for the day to day.
As we transition into a new season, what fashion trends are you most looking forward to and what family activities will you be participating in Out East?
AMT: This fall, we look forward to layering, both by day and by night! Dresses are definitely the “it” item for summer out East and while we are transitioning into the cooler months, we love to see dresses layered back to sweaters and cardigans for a fun and comfortable way to dress.
Apple picking and family trips to the pumpkin patch are two of our favorite fall activities to do as a family! The great part about being out East is every season we are constantly discovering new, fun activities to do together as a family.
Your brands have amassed an incredible following, but I’m sure there were many lessons learned along the way. What is one thing you wish you knew at the start of your careers that you’ll always carry with you?
AMT: Make sure you’re networking with the right people in the industry who can connect you with key players. Just remember it takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. Don’t get discouraged, instead, use that to motivate you.