Love Brand & Co. is the brainchild of young London designer Oliver Tomalin. This new socially responsible lifestyle brand promises to take our waters by storm. Set up only last year, the company plans to expand through a series of ready-to-wear products, each intrinsically dedicated to a relevant charity. The first, ‘Trunks for Trunks’ (swimming trunks for endangered Asian elephants) inspired and motivated by the plight of the iconic animal. Tomalin saw a great opportunity to help the Elephant Family in a credible and savvy way, by creating his superbly designed collection of state of the art men’s swimwear.
The design is extremely thoughtful with notable details including the silver alloy drawstring aglets in the shape of elephant tusks. The connecting element is even stained red to act as a symbol of past ivory pouching. The Love Brand & Co. engraved eyelets are also used both for sport water escapes on the back and on the front waistband for smooth running of the
durable weave drawstring. The high performance fabric is extremely quick drying and is beautifully constructed with state-of-the-art craftsmanship.
Today we have the founder of Love Brand (pictured above) talking to us about the idea behind it all! Hello Oliver and Welcome to Design Splat! Tell us a bit about what you do and your brand Love Brand & Co.:
I studied Architecture at Edinburgh University rather than design school. I find my architectural training really useful in the design process.
As part of my Architecture studies I went to work for a Spanish architect in Madrid and ended up importing espadrilles (or alpargatas) to the UK when I went home. This was my first business experience and it was when I first started thinking about starting my own label.
Where did the idea for your clothing line come from?
Lots of companies retro-fit social responsibility, it was important to me to start a company that places socially responsibility at its core. So instead of selling lots of product, scratching heads and picking a charity to give a donation to, I start with the charity and the product, together, before I have even made a prototype. This is what I call bisociation or concept blending. The product becomes a vehicle for raising active awareness for the charity as well as donations and in turn the charitable cause too enriches our products. For example with our first concept “Trunks for Trunks” – swimming trunks for endangered Asian elephants, we fit our men’s trunks with silver elephant tusk shaped aglets for the drawstring ends, this is a special detail that reminds us of the cause the product supports.
What type of clothing do you design?
The brand is a classic fashion for charity project. The type of clothes I design is useful ready-to-wear apparel with excellent detail and quality, each blended with an excellent cause or charity. Hence the “love” in Love Brand & Co.
For our first Love Brand concept, Trunks for Trunks, we have a line of classic men’s and boy’s swim shorts, comfortably tailored and cut above the knee, available in a range of block colours, stripes and limited edition prints.
Who is your target audience?
Our customers are people looking for style, quality, luxury as well as that little something else, in our case this is our “feel good factor”, customers can enjoy donating to a deserving cause on purchasing Love Brand & Co. and also help raise awareness when wearing our charity blended products.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I plan to diversify our idea of “bisociation” through a range of apparel and accessories for men, women and children alike. In the next 5 years I hope we will see the opening a Love Brand concept store or two.
How do you rate yourself as a fashion designer?
My ideas are fun, playful and thought provoking. My designs are classic, simple and cool.
In your eyes what makes a good fashion designer?
Someone who is not afraid to design the way they want to, how ever sophisticated or simple.
Do you think the Fashion industry is difficult to break into?
Starting a label is fun and exciting and everyone sees the good times in the media, but it ‘s not always so enjoyable, it is difficult at times and breaking through takes time, hard work and a bit of luck always helps.
What do you think it takes to become successful in the design industry?
It takes talent, focus, persistence and bit of balls.
What to you is the most important aspect of creating a garment, the planning, design or implementation and why?
The whole process is important. Any mistake at any stage is costly. For us the planning is very important as we are so conceptual but equally we spend great care and attention to design and manufacture. Finally seeing my design in its complete form is always the most exciting single moment for me.
What drives you/give you the ‘go’ to keep at it and do everything?
Every day is different. Every day is exciting. I don’t really have any day off, even on holiday I am being inspired or designing in my head. I don’t want a day off. I love what I am doing so much I don’t even want to go to sleep.
Does fame attract you?
Yes and no. I would like Love Brand to keep becoming more and more famous, I am not so bothered about personal fame, I am a happy with my family and friends, fame it not the aim for me.
Where can we buy your clothes?
At a number of international boutiques, including Salt in London, Yube in Madrid and The Box in St-Tropez for example, as well some of the world’s best beach reports, including The Six Senses Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, One & Only Le St Geran in Mauritius and Lux Resort in Reunion for example.
Three words to describe yourself?
Positive, Fun-loving, Workaholic.
Hobbies and other interests?
Film, Art, Food & Travel.
Any Tips or advice to share with aspiring designers?
I am sure it is befitting for me to give advice quite yet but I would say follow your dream and stay focused.