T.Lipop

SS15 T.Lipop
T.Lipop SS15
Image source: T.Lipop

I’ve been a huge fan of T.Lipop ever since I stumbled across the lookbook of his debut collection two years ago. Using a neutral palette of camels, tans, black and white, the collection’s fresh and refined approach contrasted that of his London contemporaries, who preferred bold prints and an oversized silhouette. With each season, Tom Lipop honours a progressive, technical approach to cut in luxurious fabrics.

Honing his skills as a senior designer at Nathan Jenden, Griffin and House of Holland, and after participating in Sky One’s Project Catwalk – the UK equivalent to Project Runway – Tom Lipop decided to launch his line, T.Lipop in 2011. “ I wanted to develop a new and innovative cut of the everyday man’s staple wardrobe whilst looking at tradition and detail. To run the label and design, I was driven by what I want to see everyday rather than for someone else’s vision”, he explains.

T.Lipop SS15
T.Lipop SS15
Image: T.Lipop

The challenges young designers face when it comes to sustaining a business is a hot topic, with Louise Grey and Meadham Kirchhoff recently succumbing to the pressures of creative vs commercial discords. With Tom as the creative head and his friend-turned-business-partner, Eser Aydemir, heading up the commercial side, Tom and Eser have developed a formula that ensures business is not forgotten as creativity continues to thrive. “I met Eser while at University [of Bournemouth]. He was my flatmate and studied an MSc in International Business, and wanted to work for himself when I had just started putting ideas together for the label. When he finished his Masters, I was working for Nathan Jenden and that was when we went about setting up the brand. Eser handles the business and I run the creative (although I get involved in everything). It’s certainly a good thing having a business partner, I think there is simply too much to do on your own!”

Having made his runway debut in Spring/Summer 2012 at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, he moved over to the Fashion East: Installation umbrella two seasons later. It was at this point, sitting alongside Kit Neale and William Richard Green, that T.Lipop demanded our  attention. T.Lipop quickly established a flourishing reputation making clever pieces that men could wear. Since graduating from the Fashion East platform and receiving NewGen sponsorship, T.Lipop has evolved tremendously, participating in the second instalment of Selfridges Bright Young Things Initiative as well as collaborating with high street retailer, River Island.

SS15 T.Lipop
T.Lipop SS15
Image source: T.Lipop

“The brand has evolved quite a lot since Fashion East and Bright Young Things”, Tom exclaims. Launching the line in the heart of the economic downturn, the buying reaction was “tough at first to be honest. Buyers were buying safe and we were trying to enter the luxury end of the market, but gradually as time goes on and the brand is becoming more established, we are seeing an easier path to the market. In terms of design, the cuts and details have been refined, the colour palette has toned down, and we work much more on the range plan than previously. I guess you could say we have grown up and focus heavily on the business side. In terms of development we have created 25 or so signature blocks to work with each season. These are specific to T.Lipop and not something that can be copied easily given the intricacy of the pattern. The other element that has developed substantially is details: fastenings, trims, signature elements.”

There’s a definite sense of timelessness to T.Lipop. Tom creates an era defying wardrobe while experimenting with shape, cut and form. Not as traditional as a tailoring, he places a firm twist on traditional British craftsmanship pushing the boundaries of pattern cutting to create intelligent pieces. This design mandate is certainly expressed in the Spring/Summer 2015 collection which utilises “a multicultural reference that experiments with elements of Japanese culture while working with a traditional silhouette in a new and modern technique of cutting.”

With a knack for developing well-considered and highly desirable collections, it wasn’t any wonder to see T.Lipop on the Pitti Uomo line up for Autumn/Winter 2015 alongside Marni and Hood by Air. As their largest collection to date, boasting 25 looks, one can only wonder what’s next for T.Lipop. “I can only hope it’s onwards and upwards so I’m hoping for bigger and better as each season passes!”