Rise of Fashion South: Anna Toth

Asheville, N.C.
Clothing available at Shelter Collective in Asheville and select boutiques in California, Illinois, New York and Washington State.

$50 - $375 


ANNA TOTH FITS RIGHT INTO the relaxed, creative atmosphere of Asheville, N.C.’s River Arts District, a place that has nurtured her hand-sewn, custom-fit, denim-based clothing company Bow + Arrow since 2010. A Charleston native, Toth first made her way to the bustling Western North Carolina city as a ceramics major at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Enthralled with the functionality of the art form, but feeling the urge to be more expressive in her work, Toth then turned to printmaking as her preferred field. Ultimately, a need to combine utility and creative expression was the driving force behind her decision to finally pursue patternmaking at the Apparel Arts Institute in San Francisco. Drafting clothing patterns by hand gave Toth the opportunity to explore both aspects of what she has always loved about art.

A simple girl, often spotted in her favorite pair of worn, blue painter’s overalls that she scored from Goodwill in high school, Toth decided to try her hand at making a new version of the favorite standby as soon as the well-fitting pair croaked. Take a peek at her denim-inspired line today, and you’ll see that one of Bow + Arrow’s most popular items (and the first piece ever for sale) is an overall jumpsuit with a side zipper modeled after her infamous lived-in pair that started it all.

Every last inch of Toth’s high-quality denim is grown, milled and processed in the United States, which is a point of pride and rarity with today’s ever-increasing carbon footprint. “I love that we live in a part of the world where we can really see our resources from seed to finish. We can work as a team to make products that all of us can use,” Toth asserts. The style of the Bow + Arrow line, inspired by workwear, menswear and the combination of functionality and elegance, turned many heads at Charleston Fashion Week in 2014. Toth walked away as co-winner of the Emerging Designer Competition and winner of the People’s Choice Award — a great honor as she continues to push the boundaries of denim apparel. “I’ve really had to creatively approach the confines of denim and embrace the challenge,” she admits. But there’s a simpler idea behind what drives her vision of custom-fit pieces with single-needle construction and hand-felled seams: “I like the idea of being able to not really worry about your clothing too much ... to ride your bike or roll down a hill in it, and then just throw it in the wash,” Toth muses. And she’s excited to continue to introduce this versatile style into a realm of Southern fashion that can easily translate cross-culturally to other locales like California and New York.