Clash talks to the designer about working with a high street brand.

From frozen beards indoors and a Mexican day of the dead in June, to a chap that chats to an alligator (or possibly a crocodile). These are just a few of the ways Tom Lipop’s label has debuted its wears.

While the former two give reference to T.Lipop’s static presentations as part of Fashion East, the latter describes a scene from the label’s new film with River Island, directed by Aoife McArdle

The first menswear brand to collaborate with River Island’s Design Forum – following three women’s wear lines – for AW13 T.Lipop has created a range that sits in the same vein as the premium line, focusing on quality.

Clash spoke to the man behind the mash-up, but sadly missed out that crucial croc/gator question…



How did the River Island collection initially come about?
We were shortlisted/recommended by the BFC alongside around five others, and then it was a case of presenting our portfolios and concepts and going from there. Luckily enough they loved our style and we loved the company, and the rest is history!

And what was your inspiration for the line?
I guess the inspiration was the fabric. We wanted to push the fabrication with rich fabrics, colours and texture, very true to that of the T.Lipop label. We played around with cuts and finish and really wanted to create a luxury collection on quite a commercial front.

Do you have a favourite piece?
I guess the Crombie and Down jacket, it has a detachable gilet that can be taken from one and attached to the other and vice versa.

Did you have much input with the film that accompanies the collection; how was it working with Aoife McArdle?
Aoife came up with the concept and I guess it was a collaboration in terms of details and refining the plot, etc. She's absolutely amazing at her job and incredibly talented. I was hooked when she told me the story in our initial meeting!

Can you remember the first piece of River Island clothing you owned?
Yeah, it was a leather biker jacket when I was 16 or 17. Very clean and simple with two white lines on either arm.

And the last you bought?
Yeah it was the navy single-breasted trench from the Life Of Tailor range, real sharp silhouette.

What's next for the T.Lipop brand?
We have just launched a sartorial shoe app for customising classics like the brogue, Oxford and slippers. The new collection will be out in January and we have potential collaborations on the horizon.

Finally, what artist, album or track is the most played in your studio right now?
Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’ and the Soul Clap Podcast episode 87. Cracking summer tunes!

The 16 piece collection will be available to buy in-store and online from September.

Interview: Zoe Whitfield


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