"It’s a daily task to find inspiration in places where I usually wouldn’t look for it, or wouldn’t anticipate to find it there. I believe the only limitation we have is our imagination, and we shouldn’t let our imagination get too lazy." Interview with The Greatest Magazine.
The Greatest Magazine: When and why did you come up with this amazing idea of a socially responsible and conscious brand?
Tom Adam Vitolins: At the time, I was on a trip to Japan with my family and I was absolutely flabbergasted by the Japanese aesthetics and attention to detail. I walked into an eight-story men’s fashion department store and felt like a little kid in Disneyland, but there was nothing that would align with my taste when it comes to underwear. You could see only big brands flaunted with massive logos on the underwear’s elastics and produced in either Cambodia or Vietnam. As I have a background in graphic design, at that moment I decided that was what I’d do – launch my own brand. From the way I was raised and the different influences that surrounded me, the only way I envisioned the making of the brand was in a socially responsible and conscious way, as we’re responsible for what we do.
TGM: More specifically, why’d you choose to make men’s underwear?
Tom: I really believe it’s better to focus on one specific thing and get to the essence of it. Once you’ve mastered one product and built your self-confidence, you can transfer the lessons you’ve learned. One of the core values of the brand has always been to create things that I want to wear myself and would have in my wardrobe. Underwear was definitely a really good starting point. When it comes to clothing, my choices are kind of conservative, so it’s not that important to create massive amounts of colours and cuts. What’s important is to keep it simple and not add to the over-consumption.
TGM: The brand is based between Paris and Berlin, but I saw that you’re producing everything in Latvia, the country where you’re from. Can you explain this choice?
Tom: It all came together in a very natural way. There’s an ongoing love story between Paris and myself. My parents still live in Latvia and there are old traditions when it comes to underwear production. It allowed me to kill two birds with one stone, spending time with my family while overseeing production. These days I’m mainly in Berlin, which gives me a great life-work balance, because of the more relaxed approach to life. Anyhow, I always feel the best when I’m on the move. Having the ability to be between both cities gives me more freedom and a broader range of inspiration.
"It’s a daily task to find inspiration in places where I usually wouldn’t look for it, or wouldn’t anticipate to find it there."
TGM: Where do you find inspiration?
Tom: In anything I see or experience. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, in his book ‘Being and Nothingness’, something along the lines of ‘if you walk into a café and you’re looking for a friend, then you scan over the room and everything else besides that friend becomes the negative space. If your friend is not there, you just walk outside of the café and the question is how much of the remaining space have you been conscious of?’. It’s a daily task to find inspiration in places where I usually wouldn’t look for it, or wouldn’t anticipate to find it there. I believe the only limitation we have is our imagination, and we shouldn’t let our imagination get too lazy..
TGM: Father and son, navigating two different generations and, maybe, two different points of view, do you sometimes find it difficult to work together?
Tom: Absolutely, yes. It took time for both of us to put our egos aside and understand that we’re working towards the same goal. It’s not about who can outperform the other, as we’re both very competitive, but how we can come together and help each other with our knowledge and point of view. We don’t live in the same country, and that helps to create a healthy distance. So when we meet, there’s not so much tension between us. Although, a quick game of table tennis can change it very quickly: when the competition kicks in and the tables suddenly turn, all the wiseness is gone.
Credits : Photography by Chris Abatzis
Assistant : Tabea Dunemann
Thanks to Taschengeldfirma & Friederike.