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Q&A with Michelle L'Huillier, founder of Tom & Teddy
OUR 2021 SUMMER COLLECTION
Inspired by the wonders of the Mediterranean
Q&A with our founder, Michelle L'Huillier
Why did choose the Mediterranean as your collection theme year?
The Mediterranean offers so much inspiration from the glorious food and picturesque islands to the distinctive vibrant colours. It symbolises everything that is so wonderful in a holiday. The whitewashed walls of Santorini, terracotta pots adorning flowered terraces and the colourful pottery that make a dinner table look like a masterpiece – images that put you in the perfect holiday mood. After the year we’ve experienced, it’s nice to get lost in holiday memories.
What are the designs that form the collection?
We’re fortunate to work with some very talented designers who produced some great Mediterranean inspired motifs. We’ve included Boats, Sardines, Citrus Fruit, Shrimps, Birds, Mediterranean Tiles and Sunset Stripes – all of which capture the essence of the Med.
Coral & Blue Shrimps
Ink Blue & Green Sardines
Marine Blue & Coral Boats
Teal & White Mediterranean Tiles
Ocean Blue Citrus
Aqua Green Birds
Is there a particular Mediterranean destination that inspired the collection?
Having lived in Australasia for 20 years, I had very little opportunity to go on Mediterranean holidays, so coming back to the UK has inspired me to investigate new places when time allows. I have very fond memories of the Amalfi Coast, island hopping in Greece and travelling around the South of France, but a more recent holiday to Mallorca reignited my passion for Mediterranean food and I’ve certainly been influenced by Mediterranean ingredients in the cooking I’ve been doing in lockdown. Read more about our trip to Cala Deia, Mallorca.
How do you approach your collection launches?
We start working on collections way before they’re publicly launched. To kick off the process, we brief designers and, once we’ve shortlisted the designs we want to take forward, we put together a number of colour options. Our factory then creates swatches and, from there, they produce Salesman Samples. We show these samples to buyers around the world before putting in an order that takes around four months to complete. We’ve just started working on our 2023 collection, so you can see that there’s a fair amount of advance planning.
What is so different about your designs?
We do believe our designs have a distinct Tom & Teddy feel about them. People often recognise our designs even if they haven’t seen that particular motif before, so there is definitely something about them that stands out from the crowd. We try to get movement through the patterns, injecting energy in the way the motifs interact; we try not to make them static or look like they’ve been placed in a uniform sequence. Our designers often hand-draw the images first so they’re truly authentic.
What do you have on the horizon?
Well, we’re launching a number of new products in the coming months to add to our swim shorts, rash tops, polos and t-shirts. We’ll stay true to our beachwear brand, so there won’t be any particular surprises, but they will certainly be vibrant and durable in-line with our other products. And of course, they’ll all be available for both father and son.
DISCOVER THE COLLECTION
We love to see where our trunks are and who’s wearing them, so send us your Tom & Teddy photos to email@example.com, or tag us with #tomandteddylife on Instagram.