News broke a few weeks ago that Vicky Gregory, Bloodstock Director and main band booker was to be dressed this year in the incredible designs of Canada based alternative metal wear supremo, TOXIC VISION.
The uber talented designer and founder, Sharon Ehman took some time away from her studding to chat to MetalMouth about her Toxic Vision creations, what track she’d have sex to and her attendance at this years Bloodstock Festival.
So Sharon, where did you grow up, and was it a largely metal community or did you feel like an outsider?
I am from central Canada, my parents live on a slice of forested land in the countryside of Saskatchewan close to a small city. This is where I grew up before I moved out on my own to Toronto, Canada when I was 19 years old. Growing up, there was a very small metal community, just a few people. I wouldn’t say that I felt like an outsider, I’ve always done my own thing and never really looked for a place to fit in.
It wasn’t really a plan, it was just a matter of putting all my time and effort into something I loved and just running with it. I can’t remember a time in childhood when I wasnt building or crafting something so it probably isn’t too much of a surprise that I ended up choosing something creative as my career. ‘Career’ sounds funny… what I do- really doesn’t ever feel like ‘work’ or a’ career’ or anything like that…more like the path I’ve chosen in life..I live in my own self-created utopia.
How and when did Toxic Vision begin?
When I was 16/17 years old- I started my first(and only) job and I realized how much I disliked working for someone else. I quit and promised myself that I would be my own boss from that day forward. Immediately after this Toxic Vision was born. Another important component that contributed to the beginning of Toxic Vision was the lack of clothing at stores that reflected my style or how I wanted to dress.. so I had to make my own. There was a time when you couldn’t even find a studded belt at stores, especially in middle Canada. There were a lot of plaid shirts….not a lot of studded black leather…
Are you the sole designer for Toxic?
Yes, Toxic Vision is a one-woman show. I do everything myself! Everything Toxic Vision is created completely from scratch by me – from start to finish.
What IS Toxic’s vision?
Toxic Vision is my dream world. If I ruled the land, everyone would dress like this.
All your clothing is highly detailed, how do you start planning new pieces and how long do they take to create from idea to supply?
I usually create about 15-20 new pieces every week, so the process is pretty quick. Most of the time, I just get an idea in my head and if I can visualize it, then I can create. It really depends from piece to piece, there are some things that I have slaved over for days and other things that I can bang out in significantly less time.
Do you create custom, one off pieces? Have you supplied any “celebrities”?
Everything I make is one of a kind, I create new collections almost weekly. I do create custom pieces on rare occasion if I am very excited about the project. I have dressed a few ‘celebrities’, some of my favorite pieces have been created for stage use, tour wardrobe etc – which is always very rewarding to see my work worn by musicians whose music has inspired me for a long time.
You have the body of an athlete, A) are you an athlete? and B.) How do you stay so trim?
I get asked this question a lot! I am not an athlete, maybe at studding leather but that is not an official sport yet.
I go to the gym a couple of times a week and eat healthy – that’s really it. No special potions or magic tricks.
Because of your appearance, have you had stalkers? If so, how do you deal with them?
If I have had any stalkers, they are either really good at it, or they got bored because I don’t go out alot because I am always working. I live in a highrise so its impossible to have any window lurkers..I kinda got the bases covered..I think….
You are working with Bloodstock Festival this year, how did that come about?
I am so excited to be working with Bloodstock Festival this year! I got in contact with Vicky Gregory, one of the directors who was looking for a clothing sponsor for the event and we started bouncing some ideas back and forth and then everything just fell into place. I have had such a great experience working with Bloodstock already and the festival hasn’t even started. I can’t wait for the actual event, the lineup is killer – so many great bands and it is my first time to England.
What was your “vision” for the Bloodstock pieces, what did you want them to convey?
Toxic Vision bodysuits are such a popular item that I thought it would fit perfectly for the Bloodstock giveaway. It’s a treat for the girls and the boys 😉
Do you have a Toxic Vision store, or do you ever plan to have one?
Toxic Vision is available exclusively in my online store. I do have plans for expansion but a physical retail store is not in my sights right now. The internet opens the doors to a worldwide audience and a physical retail store limits to one specific region.
Are you aiming for worldwide domination or do you want to remain “boutique”?
Worldwide domination!! I won’t stop until everyone in the world is wearing studded leather pants. If you set your goals high, then you are always climbing the ladder instead of walking the plank.
What is your most popular item, and why do you think that is?
It is really hard to say – everything I make sells out so quickly. The band shirt bodysuits seem to be very popular, but also the pants and jackets..and well…everything! My favorite items to create are jackets and vests because it leaves a lot of room to get really creative.
Do you create menswear too?
I do make menswear, but mostly stage gear for musicians etc – on very rare occasion. A full menswear line is something that will come in time with expansion of my company.
What’s the most outrageous item you have ever been asked to design? And did you create it!
I have switched the meaning of outrageous and normal in my vocabulary..I guess the things that other people would think are outrageous are what seems normal and exciting to me. Things like track pants or khaki’s or button up shirts would seem outrageous to me. One time a girl asked me to create her dog a sweater with her favorite sports team on it.
That seemed outrageous to me and I did not create it.
For fans that are interested, what does Sharon Ehman do for fun outside of work?
My favorite things to do… snowboarding, hiking, sky diving, fishing, dirtbiking, rock climbing, travelling. Anything thrilling, outdoors, adventures. And going to concerts of course.
You’re obviously metal, but who are your favourite bands?
There’s so many….but if I had to pick a few top all time favorites…… Iron Maiden, Savatage, Judas Priest
Right now in heavy rotation while I’m sewing: Ghost, Watain, Riot (Thundersteel album) In Solitude, and Marty Friedman (Scenes album)
What metal track would you select to :
Get ready for a night out? – the entire KISS Destroyer album minus track number 8.
Play at a funeral? – Heir Apparent – Keeper of the Reign
Go to sleep to? – Death – Voice of the Soul
Have sex to? – Jason Becker – Altitudes
What’s your opinion on the Randy Blythe situation?
From what I’ve read, it looks like he got stuck in a very unfortuate situation. It is always very hard to tell what is actually going on though, unless you are directly involved. There always seems to be alot of rumors and specualtions on the internet – it is often difficult to decipher fact from fiction.
What are your plans for Bloodstock? Who are you most looking forward to seeing, and will you have plenty of merch available in plenty of sizes!
I am very excited to see Iced Earth and Dimmu Borgir because members in these bands will be wearing Toxic Vision stage gear. I am also looking forward to seeing Watain, Evile, Sanctuary, IamI, Alice Cooper and hoping to see alot of great new acts that I haven’t heard yet on some of the smaller stages.
Lastly, what phrase or saying do you want on your headstone?
I don’t want a headstone… I want my ashes to be thrown off a cliff.
Bloodstock Director Vicky Gregory is equally excited about the union and comments:
Bloodstock are over the moon to be working with one of the most respected and up and coming clothes designers in the metal world!
Toxic Vision designs are beyond incredible and completely unique, we gave Sharon free reign to come up with something for the fans and she didn’t disappoint!
She’s making me some outfits for this years Bloodstock so people can see how amazing her designs are in the flesh and I’m so happy to be working with her !!
Thanks to Sharon and Vicky for the interview, we realise you are prepping for BOA and we appreciate the time!
Find out more about Toxic Vision
BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL begins in just 14 days, so you need to get your tickets NOW!
Check out the TOXIC VISION Video for Bloodstock Open Air below.