If you've ever searched for artisan heavy metal clothing or stage wear, you've probably seen amazing photos of Toxic Vision's clothing, especially the studded, post-apocalyptic motorcycle jackets.
(This page contains copyrighted images that are being used in accordance with Fair Use.)
Who is Toxic Vision?
Toxic Vision's designer is Toronto-based Sharon Ehman. She started her line in 2004. Not only does she design and sew all of her creations, but she's also Toxic Vision's model. Neat, eh?
And let's be honest, her stunning figure MUST be a key part of her success. Her... ahem... assets are almost always prominently displayed on the artistic photo shoots she does. No wonder she has millions of followers.
But let's get back to her designs. Ehman has great taste. Her style could be described as 1980's glam metal, meets Mad Max, with some bohemian thrown in. A lot of her more recent designs have a modern witchy fashion vibe as well.
Toxic Vision releases small, one-of-a-kind collections on an ongoing basis (sometimes weekly) and they always sell out.
While I don't have any serious issues with Toxic Vision, there are a few things that might be worth noting.
Unconventional Business Model
Sharon Ehman seems to have taken scarcity & exclusivity to an extreme.
First, some of Toxic Vision's clothing only comes in Sharon Ehman's size. She calls these "red label." At some point, she started outsourcing production to a small, local team that makes a few additional copies in multiple sizes. She calls these "black label."
Second, Toxic Vision's clothing is only available on her website, if you're lucky enough to snatch one of her pieces up. It seems like she only makes one of each item. (For what it's worth, Toxic Vision used to be on Etsy at one time.)
Third, while it may seem obvious, Toxic Vision doesn't sell men's clothing. So if you're that 50% of the population, you will probably have to go elsewhere.
Don't bet on getting her to make you a custom piece. She's only willing to do custom clothing for "very special projects" or for a "musician/band/performer." However, she ensures everyone has a fair shake at buying her collection pieces.
All sales are final. No returns. Paypal only.
And while I truly believe $1200 is a fair price for a one-of-a-kind, Canadian handmade leather jacket, that's a huge pill for some of us to swallow.
And by the way, most of the above can be referenced on Toxic Vision's FAQ page (update: as of August 2022, there doesn't seem to be anything but an "x" on the FAQ page).
(I'm not trying to judge Ehman. If this model works for her, more power to her. As a matter of fact, many of her competitors also adopted it. But it may not be for everyone.)
Unconventional Zipper Insertion
While it may seem trivial or even pedantic to the untrained eye, there's a curious thing I've noticed about Toxic Vision's moto jackets: the main zipper is inserted in an unusual way.
Virtually every classic motorcycle style jacket has the zipper inserted into the seam on one lapel, and inside a seam on the body on the other side. This requires inserting the zipper during the construction of the jacket. Like this:
Toxic Vision's moto jacket zippers seem to be sewn ONTO the jacket, rather than worked into the seams. This means that you can see the zipper tape on the exterior of the jacket, and not just the teeth.
As someone who has patterned & made my own motorcycle jackets, I can say that this is a peculiar choice that seems more like a compromise out of convenience (or lack of proper resources) than an intentional creative decision.
Add to that the lack of "top stops" on the main zipper (the little pieces that keep the zipper slider from coming off at the top of the zipper) and it really makes you wonder why Ehman would put so much work into her $1200 jackets & not do the main zipper justice. After all, it's probably the most functional & used parts of any jacket.
In researching this post, I did a search for "Toxic Vision reviews." I was a bit taken back that there are a lot of customers out there who have had issues with the quality of Toxic Vision clothing, order fulfillment issues, and with Ehman's customer service. Instead of going into it here, take a look at this website (update: I have linked to the web archive from July 200, since the site appears to have gone down).
Brands like Toxic Vision
If you're curious if there are other brands similar to Toxic Vision, you're not alone. I have found several designers who offer similar styles. Perhaps one of these is closer to your region, & will meet your specific needs. Here's my list:
My Little Halo
The most similar brand to Toxic Vision would undoubtedly be UK-based My Little Halo. Started by designer Emily J Horner, My Little Halo features designs that stay within the shiny, glam metal style.
Like Sharon Ehman, Emily is self-taught, makes only one of each design to fit her, and also models her own outfits. The similarities are so close, that you often can't immediately tell if a random photo is of Ehman or Emily.
Emily has been making alternative clothing since 2009, and you can see how she's progressed over the years on her old blog:
After a brief rest due to health issues, My Little Halo returned with a new website:
Emily doesn't take custom orders. All sales are final. No returns.
Reviews seem very positive:
German-based Kultchen popped up on the scene in 2017. A one-woman brand, many of her pieces are clearly inspired by Toxic Vision, but the variety and creativity show that she can stand on her own two feet. Some of her pieces are a bit more punk than metal, featuring scrap work & safety pins.
Kultchen releases a new collection every month or two, and is also accepting custom orders.
Fashion designer Ausrie Felice started this latex-based project in 2012. She seems to be based in Hamburg, Germany, although Peterborough, UK is listed on her Etsy account.
Her items seem to be one-of-a-kind pieces.
Marta Gabriel is a Polish heavy metal singer & guitarist. It's unclear when she started making rock star clothing under the name Thunderball Clothing.
Unfortunately, Marta felt it was necessary to shut her business down in 2018 after an incident involving a photograph of Arch Angel's lead vocalist wearing her products. You can read about it here:
Day Raven Clothing
Chaosville Creations Clothing
A Few Other Options
While there aren't many more brands out there that have a significantly similar vibe to Toxic Vision, here are some brands that you might like for different reasons:
Wicked Lester Clothing
Yet another UK-based brand, with a similar overall look. One-of-a-kind pieces sold every 2-3 weeks. Heavy metal/glam style. Hoodies, bathing suits, tops, pants, etc. Lots of colors and patterns throughout her designs.
Milan, Italy-based one-woman show.
Boston, Massachusetts-based brand created by Mulan Duong. Formerly known as Lustful Doll. The look is less heavy metal and more New Goth, which means you won't find any studs or denim here.
Tod Waters co-founded Junker Designs in 2001 with Giuliana Mayo. Junker Designs is less glam and a lot more post-apocalyptic & dystopian, and focuses a bit more on men's fashions.
Tod loves leather & using super heavy-duty materials that will last a lifetime.
He's made outfits for Motley Crue, Marilyn Manson & a host of other rock stars & musicians. He's also been working in the movie industry, creating clothing for movies like Alita: Battle Angel.
Kylla Custom Rock Wear
Kim "Kylla" Dylla is a heavy metal vocalist who started making stage wear for professional musicians & wrestlers in 2012. She prides herself on making affordable, handmade rock star clothing out of upcycled garments.
She is known to have worked together with the 70,000 Tons of Metal heavy metal cruise.