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Tost are a brand new alternative clothing company based in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion. They produce a range of interesting designs across an even bigger range of products. T-Shirts, hoodies, badges – you name it, they do it.
We sat down with founder Lara Roberts for a quick chat about the company, her work and her experience with the Welsh language.
Can you tell us exactly what Tost is?
Basically, Tost started out as just a T-shirt company, but has quickly grown in to a clothing brand, and our mission is to create unique merchandise inspired by alternative culture, street art, music and the Welsh language.
Why did you start Tost? What was the main reason?
Well, I’ve always been in to alternative fashion and culture since I was a teenager. My choices were shaped by the music I’d listen to – lots of punk music, accompanied by lots of skateboarding, hair-colouring and guitar playing. I found that there was a serious gap in the market for Welsh language clothing with an ‘alternative’ edge to it, so I decided to try to fill that gap!
There are lots of companies who do things like this, but you are the only company that I know of who do it in Welsh. How important is the language to you?
The language is very important to me. I was born in Swansea, I am Welsh and proud to identify as a Cymraes. I am hoping that the designs I create for Tost will reach further than just us who can speak the language, and maybe inspire others to learn, or even just to raise awareness of the language.
What is your story with the language?
Well, I decided to start learning Welsh at the end of 2016 because I felt that as a Welsh woman, I should be able to speak the language of my country! I used Say Something in Welsh, watched a lot of “Pobol y Cwm” and listened to a lot of Welsh language music at the start of my learning journey. I’m still learning, and believe I will always be a learner, however I can live my life and work through the language, and of course chat with my Welsh speaking friends over a few beers!
Also, you work for a famous company in the Welsh world – Siop y Pethe. Have this helped you at all when you were setting up the company?
Siop have been great, they’ve been very supportive of the idea and want to stock my designs as soon as possible. I’d like to work alongside them to create a one-off design for their collection.
Music and art has been a massive inspiration to you. What type of things do you like at the moment?
It varies to be honest, although I always go back to listening to punk bands, usually from America! At the moment I’m listening to The Wonder Years a lot, but I could be listening to Manic Street Preachers one day and Good Riddance the next. Yeah, I have an art degree so art is a very important inspiration to me. Just like with music, my favourite artists change. Although, I’ve always been a huge fan of street art, in particular the Belgian street artist ROA. I saw a lot of his work on the streets of Brussels when I was out in Belgium in 2016, which was cool.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been really positive. We’ve had a lot of interest from all over the world, which is great because it means the Welsh language is spreading far and wide!
What are your plans for the future with Tost? Are you planning anything exciting?
I’d really like to be able to eventually do everything myself. At the moment, in order to keep costs down I’m using an external printing company to print & send orders, but I plan to essentially have a one-woman-band where I can control every aspect of the service! Other than that, having some sort of prescence at the Eisteddfod would be awesome!
Finally. How can people find out more about Tost?
It’s super easy, you can go to www.dilladtost.com and go from there! We have hoodies, t-shirts, badges and bags. More merchandise will be added soon! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using @dilladtost