TOMOTO - Original clothing that inspires individuality

Stella Saastamoinen

Stella Saastamoinen

The Leeds based TOMOTO is one of the freshest t-shirt brands that we know. Tom Chadwick, the talented designer of TOMOTO tells us about his brand and opens some stories behind these amazing print t-shirts!

DISCO Bamboo & Organic Cotton T-shirt

Fresh T-shirts that are not only limited edition but also responsibly produced? We're loving the concept behind TOMOTO, one of IVALO's most exciting brands when it comes to streetwear cool.

TOMOTO is an unisex streetwear brand, that specialises in premium limited edition bamboo tees and organic cotton sweaters. Ethically sourced, hand printed and exclusively designed prove how TOMOTO has put their passion into every detail to ensure that everything that they create is of the highest quality and made with the planet and people in mind. The brand's vision is to create original clothing that inspires individuality.

We're excited to present Tom Chadwick, the talented designer behind this amazing brand. Read our interview with Tom and get into the stories behind the fresh TOMOTO prints!

BALLOON Bamboo & Organic Cotton T-shirt

Tom Chadwick, the designer of TOMOTO, how was TOMOTO born?

Tomoto began in the spring of 2015, working out of my bedroom in Hyde Park in Leeds.

At the time it had been 3 years since I graduated in Design from uni. I’d been travelling in Thailand and Australia and then moved back to Leeds with no real plan of what to do next. After a year of working in bars to pay the bills I was hungry for a creative outlet and the idea of making T-shirts continued to pop up in my thoughts. 

Since I was a kid I’ve always loved doodling on MS Paint and my friends have always asked me to put them on T-shirts. Now seemed like a better time than ever so I took the leap of faith and learned the business side of things, sourced my materials and designed 4 T-shirts for Series 1. With the help of my cat Moto, I decided to name the brand Tomoto. It started as a side project for fun, but the brand quickly gained momentum and I found that a lot of people seemed to really like the tees. Tomoto has been growing organically ever since and we’re now approaching our 3rd birthday with Series 8 coming out in April

Can you tell us about the designing process of the TOMOTO tees?

I’m not entirely sure to be honest. Some designs come very naturally and just work out straight away, other times I’ll be battling with a design for weeks until it looks right. My best time for inspiration comes at 2am, as I’m just about to fall asleep. I always keep a sketchbook next to my bed for those rare moments of illumination. 

Once I’ve got an idea, I’ll sketch it out on paper, illustrate it digitally in Adobe Illustrator and then play around for hours until I’m happy with it.

The Spinewave t-shirt and The Puppeteer t-shirt

What values are you incorporating into your designs? 

I try to tell stories or highlight issues in the designs where I can. Our ‘Boxman’ design is one of my favourites because so many people can relate to it and seem to get the message without being told. It shows a guy stuck in an unfulfilling job, wanting to break out of the box and live an extraordinary life but not sure where to start. It’s not the most positive message, but it does seem to resonate with a lot of people and hopefully might encourage some to take that first step into the unknown. 

Some designs are just to make people smile while others are quite political. ‘Kintsugi’, one of our latest releases, is supposed to illustrate how broken and divided our world feels at the moment.

On top of the designs I source all our garments responsibly, only using ethically certified suppliers, organic materials, eco friendly inks and recycled packaging.

What is your view on the modern fashion world?

I think it’s got a lot of work to do. Fashion is one of the most polluting and wasteful industries, second only to oil, and rife with low wages, poor working conditions and unsustainable materials. 

Fast fashion is also a big problem. It doesn't seem right to me that people in less fortunate parts of the world are working long hours in terrible conditions for minimum wage (or less) to make cheap clothes for us in developed countries. The worst thing is these clothes are often considered disposable, only being worn a handful of times and then discarded into landfill or ending up in our oceans. It’s shameful and needs to stop.

I hope that more people start asking questions about where their clothes come from and encourage the larger brands and retailers to consider the triple bottom line in their business model, including their social and environment impact, not just their profits. ‘Good On You’ is a really helpful app I found recently that researches and rates brands based on these criteria, encouraging more transparency in the industry and saving you a lot of time if you want to shop more conscientiously. 

Kintsugi is one of TOMOTO's latest releases, that illustrates how broken and divided the world feels at the moment

Where does your creativity come from?

Music inspires me more than anything and I love going to gigs and festivals to experience it as often as I can. I also love to travel, see nature and learn how people in different parts of the world live; traditions and cultural differences are fascinating to me and I always get ideas by looking at the world from a new point of view. 

What is your current favourite piece from your own brand?

My favourite design is the ‘Cranes’ tee. It’s simple, elegant and has a good story behind it. In autumn we’ll be releasing this design on a limited edition run of 100 hoodies and I’m super excited for it - definitely one to look out for!

Sounds exciting! Thank you so much Tom!

See more awesome TOMOTO designs on their IVALO-profile!

The 1000 CRANES t-shirt is one of Tom's current favourites from his own brand

Remember to follow IVALO on Instagram and Facebook so that you won't miss any of our upcoming designer interviews!

Stella Saastamoinen

Stella Saastamoinen

Content Creator

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