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Interview with Thom Clark of the British Couture House Thom Laurence

Thom Clark
Hours of delicate work goes into a Thom Laurence couture creation. Feminine, modern and contemporary are a signature of Thom Clark’s aesthetics who imagines unique pieces handmade in his London atelier.

In an interview with Arabian Moda, the talented designer talks about his passion for fashion, his inspirations and latest project with renowned photographer Mariano Vivanco.

AM: Thom, please tell us more about your career path up until the establishment of Maison Thom Laurence?
It all started when I was at college studying textiles. I didn’t really have much knowledge of sewing at the time. However, when learning to stitch by hand combining different techniques and materials, I discovered I could be a lot more creative when using my hands. There was one thing missing though the understanding of garment construction. The process of enhancing the natural beauty of the wearer soon became my leading interest especially when learning the art of tailoring on Savile Row. There is this slowness of creating a handmade suit; time seems to standstill when stitching by hand as it is such precise work. Thousands of stitches being concealed within the suit to help form an elegant silhouette. You need a lot of patience, yet at the same time it is very therapeutic when most things in life are set at a much faster pace. It is the dedication to create the highest form of craftsmanship which ultimately led me to establish Thom Laurence.

AM: And why did you open a couture house in particular?
For me couture is a form of art which ready-to-wear can’t compete with! I got my first taste when at Bruce Oldfield, like Savile Row, there was this timelessness when creating couture. However, with a lot more creative which is something that I was missing being at Savile Row. When I look at a couture piece, I envision the creation more as a piece of art then I do an article of clothing. It is the “human connection” that symbolizes a couture piece for me, the meticulous attention to detail you go to at every stage of the garment’s journey to create the highest form of luxury.

Thom Laurence

AM: Describe your creative and production process before the launch of a collection?
For me my process always begins with what inspires me. My Inspiration comes from so many fields, from muses to architecture, from art to nature and beyond. To be honest it can be messy to begin with as there are so many different ideas floating around in and out of my head. However, I prefer this to having a controlled design process as I feel it helps me to become more creative. I like to mix traditional craftsmanship with technology. There is a huge amount of detail in a couture creation, every process requires a different skill and approach. Using craftsmanship alongside technology can help us find possible solutions quicker. While minimizing the slightest mistakes that can be found in certain processes. Then comes the adjustment process, that can go back and forth hundreds of times. A path filled with trial and error, sending many hours with my pattern cutter, embroidery designer, art worker and seamstresses to settle on the perfect materials and silhouette. While my name is on the label it is my artisan that help bring my ideas to life, it is an imitate journey of creativity and construction.

AM: And wow would you describe the Thom Laurence woman?
The Thom Laurence woman has so many different faces in today’s world. Embodied with strong sense of femininity and timeless simplicity. An aura of elegance symbolizes their everyday life: “Elegance is never rushed, it manifests within the individual.” 

Thom Laurence
AM: The “Made in London” label seems to be part of your brand DNA. How does the city inspire you? And how do you think such a label attract clients worldwide?
London has always been one of the best fashion capitals in the world, if not the best in my opinion. Inspiration can be seen all over the capital from the iconic architecture, to the green parklands and the vibrant culture. The city effortlessly blends the old with the new - something I like to do in my designs. Being one of the world’s great modern capitals, London attracts clients from all over the global regardless of what industry you happen to be in. I feel it is important for our brands heritage to connected to such an iconic city.

AM: Do you feel that at some point the house should be present in Paris where most couture brands are showcased?
Definitely! We are planning on holding an intimate yet exclusive showcase for our next couture collection.

Thom Laurence

AM: Tell us more about your collection shoot with Mariano Vivanco; why did you select him and how did it take place?
Mariano Vivanco is one of the world’s leading editorial photographers, regularly shooting for well-known brands and publications. He has an office next to my PR agency. As gowns moved in and out of the studio it was only a matter of time before we met and worked together. I am a huge fan of his black and white portraits, nudes, and editorial works. Mariano envisioned a simplistic mood for this collection which I loved, no styling, minimal hair and make-up and natural lighting. It was very stripped back and raw, which made the imagery all about the dresses. I am very honored he shot the collection and it won’t be the last time!

AM: Finally, what is another project you are currently working on?
We are currently developing our next collection. We are going to be introducing bridal which has been in the pipeline for a while now. I feel with the collection in development now, it is truly going to illustrate our house style and reinforce our values.  

Photos by Mariano Vivanco.

Visit Thom Laurence here.