Meet Tom Lipop. The award-winning creative director behind T.Lipop and now A Fallen Poète.
With an eye for sharp tailoring and unique designs, Lipop made his name back in 2011 when he was awarded One To Watch as well as the design award at Pitto Uomo. If you’re not familiar with high fashion, then you’ll probably recognise Lipop from Project Catwalk, series 3.
Following the international success of the T.Lipop line, as well as creative collaborations for mainstream menswear labels, Tom now presents his latest project A Fallen Poète.
Here, journalist and sustainable fashion advocate, Charlotte Moore, talks to Tom to find out more about his background and what we can expect from AFP.
Afternoon, Tom. Can you fill us in on what you got up to before A Fallen Poète?
So, we started the mainline brand way back in 2011. We got started with London Fashion Week, when a Vauxhall fashion scout awarded us the One To Watch.
From there, we were part of London showrooms, presenting in Paris and Milan. We were stocked internationally, and over here, you could find us in Selfridges.
By 2016, the industry was changing, and we wanted change too. So, we met a guy called Jake Hall, who you might know from The Only Way Is Essex. We started the brand Prévu with him and, when we were ready to move on, Jake bought out our shares.
Which, pretty much, brings us to now and AFP.
A Fallen Poète is quite an unusual name. Can you tell us the story behind it?
We’ve always leaned into the theatrical. AFP is a nod to that, to the parts of fashion that feel like poetry. We’ve also always been inspired by different artists, from poets and architects to musicians.
It’s not really about what you make; it’s how you bring it.
What aspects from your previous creative work can we expect to see in AFP?
Tailoring. We’ve always looked to Saville Rowe for inspiration. The suits, the historical cuts - they’ve always fascinated me.
Some of the small details, like traditional lapels, are a nod to my previous work. But, also the cutting style and cloth. So, while we wanted to cut in England, we just aren’t set up here like we used to be. We brought the British and Italian techniques to Istanbul, which is where we do a lot of our production.
In terms of patterns as well, we’ve brought out archival patterns and print from T.Lipop. But, AFP makes the price far more accessible.
The AFP site mentions the brand has a focus on progressive men’s tailoring. Where does this stem from?
There’s a feeling, isn’t there? When you put a great suit on. I say this as someone that wears suits a lot. It’s not for everyone. So, I really wanted to capture that feeling of a traditional suit but manipulate it into something more contemporary.
A lot of Gen Z aren’t interested in suits, so we created loungewear and tracksuits with a really progressive cut. We basically wanted to make a suit for the people that don’t wear suits.
Can you tell us more about the first collection drop?
I find that a lot of designers really rest on their name rather than the quality of their products. Our first collection is about creating something that is all about delivering the best quality but at an accessible price. Something that really works for everyone. Regardless of age.
We’ve used this Yeezy type, American-vintage cloth, to create the lounge suits. Given lockdown and everything, I really liked the idea that they can be worn in and out of the house. They’re just really flexible pieces.
The first collection is also 100% sustainable. Everything is made from recycled, organic cloth and vegetable-dyed pigments. The swing tags are also recycled, and we’re currently working on seed paper labels.
It seems like sustainability is a real focus for the brand. Why is that important to you?
To be honest, my personal lifestyle changes started my focus on sustainability. I stopped eating meat a few years ago, and that, in turn, got me thinking more and more about the environment. It’s something I’ve really pushed on everyone I work with.
When we started AFP, it really got me thinking about what we can do. So, for example, our studio is built in the garden, out of sustainably sourced timber.
With fast fashion, there’s such a focus on making money but, there’s so little care. I really wanted AFP to be the antithesis.
You’re not a stranger to interviews. What question do you always wish people would ask you?
Honestly? ‘Why did you step back from T.Lipop?’
Why did you?
The industry really changed. The pressure of presenting just really took its toll. It was time that we took a break and focused on the stuff that we really gave a fuck about. That’s what AFP is.
What does the future hold for AFP? Can you give us the lowdown?
Well, we’ve got a few things that we’re working on. Our second drop is planned for AW21. It’s going to be playing with some really interesting tailoring and outerwear. We also have some really exciting stuff planned with luxury silks.
We’ve also been influenced by the world reopening. We really wanted to create clothes that you can rock in and out of the house. We’ve all been trapped at home, and we wanted to bring a bit of nature back into our wardrobes.
You can follow AFP’s for more collection news on Instagram @a.f.poete.