Brand Watch: Tome
Harper's Bazaar: Do you consider Tome an Aussie brand?
Ramon Martin:We are an NYC label. We are both based here and proudly manufacture everything in Manhattan. We both have roots in Australia and are stocked there but really our focus is the USA.
HB: Ryan, how did your work as a stylist prepare you for having your own brand?
Ryan Lobo:I actually think years in retail and as a buyer were better preparation for Tome. Styling is fantasyland and it's all about the right image. Retail and buying deals directly with consumers, so you get to know about women's wants, needs and desires.
HB: How do you two work together? What's the process?
RL:It's very organic. Ramon researches with books, while I find inspiration in museums and galleries, film or online. We are constantly talking about our findings so by the time we come together and Ramon sketches them out it's definitely a fusion of ideas.
HB: How would you describe the Tome ethos?
RL:Tome is about clothing that satisfies both want and need through garments that are pragmatic and serve a practical purpose. Philosophically, we are concerned with uncomplicated, functional dressing that is stripped of superfluous meanings.
HB: Who is the Tome girl?
RM:She's definitely a woman — we speak of her by referencing the women we know. In a very practical way, we try to make sure the clothing that we make is relevant to them. Each friend, each colleague, represents so many others that have the same needs, habits and desires when it comes to fashion.
HB: What brands do you look up to in terms of both business and aesthetic?
RL:The Row, Victoria Beckham, Dries Van Noten, Stella McCartney, Prada, Lanvin and 3.1 Phillip Lim are all favorites.
HB: What was your inspiration for Fall 2013 season?
RL:For Fall 2013 we were inspired by the legendary American painter Georgia O'Keeffe—the woman and her art. It was her self-chosen isolation in New Mexico that really touched us. Her obsession with the clear, open blue sky and the barren brown desert sands, as well as her depiction of skulls and flowers, were an influence on us. In the clothing we literally tried to depict the folds of flower and bone, whilst also picking up on her colour palette of barely-there whites and intense reds and blues. This collection is very much about interesting textures layered upon each other—natural shearling against techy taffeta, suede against silk, cotton with brocade. It is the subtle contrast and harmony found in O'Keeffe's work that truly influenced this collection, not to mention her own personal style!
HB: What have been your biggest challenges and what do you consider your largest success so far?
RM:The challenge goes hand-in-hand with the success. We have no outside investment in the brand. It's just the two of us, and yet in just over two years we have never made a loss. We are sold globally across many territories, and the women who buy and wear Tome love it! Of this we couldn't be more proud. It's such a validation of what we do.
HB: What are your goals for Tome?
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