As far apart as those worlds may seem, they’re what have got me to this point, and have lead me to launching my very own brand, TOM-O.
FACT: EVERY YEAR an estimated 300,000 tonnes of used clothes - about £140 million worth - goes to landfill in the UK (taken from Fashion Revolution)
MY MISSION: to save clothing from landfill and start celebrating the sentiment of garments we already have in our wardrobes. Upcycling these pieces into something new, vibrant and tailored to you - a new way of fashion that has less damaging effects on our beautiful planet.
#I GREW UP ON A FARM,THEN GOT INTO FASHION!!!
#MY PATH TO PATCHWORKING...
This started in 2018! I studied at Sheffield Hallam University and for my final collection decided to patchwork together local farmers old workwear - celebrating the wear & tear they acquired over the years - inspired by the marks & memories in each individual garment! This is where it all began. I don’t think I ever got the same feeling from working with new fabrics, but creating the 'The Farming People', my 6 look collection at uni was where I found my feet as a designer & realised what it was that inspired me as a creative.
In 2019 I graduated from Sheffield Hallam, getting that 'foot in the door’ of the fashion world was a struggle! Alongside my inbox full of job rejection emails my collection 'The Farming People' was gaining interest!
#SCOUTED BY FASHION CROSSOVER...
I was scouted by 'Fashion Crossover London' to join their Graduate Talent Programme in 2019 which brought some amazing opportunities! Most recently a feature in the May 2021 issue of ELLE magazine.
In Feb 2020 I was invited by Graduate Fashion Week to showcase 'The Farming People' at London Fashion Week in the 'Positive Fashion' Showroom which celebrated & showcased the work of sustainable & ethical designers - it was an amazing experience & event to be part of even more so as only weeks after the nation went into lockdown!
Lockdown brought me home to the North East, to the family farm I grew up on & after losing my job due to Covid it wasn’t long before the patchworking began again!
I launched TOM-O on 28th March 2021 from it’s first home, 8 Recreation View. A small space renovated into a studio in Moorsholm Village ‘in the middle of nowhere’. This space was the perfect place to grow my brand, from ready made patch work garments & also bespoke pieces.
Some of TOM-O’s best moments in 2021 included, upcycling with Caroline Issa, editor of TANK magazine through the platform RETURE. Winning 'Best New Entrepreneur' at the Tees Valley Business Awards & above all seeing my small brand grow & more people wearing TOM-O! Read more about TOM-O moments here...
#CREATING SUSTAINABLE FASHION PATCH BY PATCH!!
And to top off the most incredible first year of TOM-O I signed for my very first physical space in The Corn Exchange, Leeds. Which I opened Saturday 5th Feb!!
So if you’re in Leeds be sure to pop in & say hello in the new shop/workshop where I’ll be...