29 May 2012

I chat//Oliver Tomalin (Love Brand & Co.)

(c) Love Brand & Co.

New British luxury swimwear company Love Brand & Co. is taking the UK by storm. They are beautifully made, interesting swim trunks with a purpose - that's not something you come across very often. The brand's social responsibility has been at its forefront from the very beginning. 

Timing is everything, it's no coincidence I'm posting this now - there's no doubt a pair of these trunks would make the perfect Father's Day present. Yeah, they aren't cheap but who needs cheap when you can help endangered animals.

I spoke to Oliver Tomalin, the brains behind the brand, about its beginnings, Robert Pattison and the future.

How did Love Brand begin? Did you start with the concept of starting up a company that is socially responsible or a design?

Lots of companies retro-fit socially responsibility, it was important to me to start a company that places social 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.

Oliver Tomalin (c) Love Brand & Co.
Do you have a background in fashion or design? Is it something you studied formally?

I studied Architecture not fashion. 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 next - starting my own lifestyle label.

The 'Trunks for Trunks' concept is very simple, yet fantastic. Did you come up with that yourself? Why did you chose for proceeds to go towards elephants? 

I came up with ‘Trunks for Trunks’ on a beach about 3 years ago. I started Love Brand & Co. by thinking of lots of ‘bisociations’ between products and charities. ‘Trunks for Trunks’ was the one I decided to launch with. It seemed right as I also decided to use the elephant as the motif for the brand.

To be honest, I chose elephants not because I was always an elephant enthusiast (it is only since starting this and started understanding elephant conservation and have fallen in love with the animal). I blended elephants with trunks because the were catchy together and it was also a co-incidence that whilst I was thinking about these ideas I read an article about the Elephant Parade in London, which made me aware of the charity Elephant Family and that Asian elephants were endangered.

I love all the various names! What's your favourite name and design out of all the swim shorts?

For the collections names, my girlfriend and I came up with them when we first went to Kerala to see what Elephant Family were doing in the elephant corridors. We had fun coming up with them and wanted them to be light-hearted. I think my favourite is Loud & Lucky (the lady bird print), its an apt name as they are the most daring from this collection and are set off amazingly with a suntan.

Oliver's fave trunks 'Loud & Lucky'.

Who would you most like to see wearing your trunks?

I’m not sure, perhaps Robert Pattinson. He would look great in a pair and I believe he is a big Asian elephant enthusiast.

What is the companies biggest achievement to date?

Starting. Love Brand & Co. has been a long journey in the making and launching anything new is tough. We launched our collection at the end of last year and the reaction to our first collection and concept has been unbelievable.

Where would you like to see the brand go in the future? What are your development plans?

We plan to develop across ready-to-wear for men and women. Continuing to bisociate our luxurious and classic style with worldly and inspirational causes. There is a lot in the pipeline but for now my lips are sadly sealed!

Visit Love Brand & Co online for more information and to buy online. Prices start from £118.
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