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Functional fashion is about problem solving. Tommy Bogo has the solutions on deck


Sustainability, for designer Tommy Bogo, is about offering a lens to see the world otherwise. One thought he has been exploring by means of his work is therapeutic. When his TOMBOGO assortment Nature Is Therapeutic debuted at New York Vogue Week final yr, fashions emerged by means of the skeleton of a greenhouse in earth tone parachute pants, vegan leather-based tote luggage and wood-grain knitwear units. Flanked by houseplants, they picked up books and walked out, symbolizing the tip of our pandemic isolation interval and a return to the surface world.

Since 2019, TOMBOGO has used sustainable supplies to rework multifunctional items into collections which can be younger, earthy and designed to the beat of world occasions. Nature Is Therapeutic was a important spin on what at the moment are basic pandemic memes: scenes of Lime scooters dumped into lakes, dinosaurs in Instances Sq., polar bears on lawns in Ohio. Bogo’s assortment invoked the surrealness of speeding again to normalcy whereas paying homage to the need of nature.

An artist has many canvases. Past his collections made with considerate supplies, Bogo works throughout media, objects, ideas. He typically drops his personal takes on merchandise like LED sun shades, digital cameras, even digital restore goggles. Design is the area the place Bogo pursues his inventive inclinations and obsessions. “Design begins for me with taking one thing that I like or am impressed by and attempting to make it into one thing new and practical, like including practical options, after which exploring supplies and the way we are able to incorporate sustainable supplies into that,” he says.

The who-wore-TOMBOGO-best reel runs deep: Khalid, Dangerous Bunny, Child Cudi and Kehlani are just some who’ve been caught within the threads. Bogo has designed pop-ups that doubled as occasions for rapper Larry June. Oakland music producer Drew Banga collaborated on a customized monitor for considered one of his exhibits. “Euphoria’s” Angus Cloud is a rotating mannequin. TOMBOGO lookbooks have featured rapper Guapdad 4000.

Portrait of designer Tommy Bogo.

“I feel that preliminary Bay mind-set not less than bought me to the place I’m in the meanwhile,” Tommy Bogo says. “However now I’ve entered this different enviornment, and the subsequent chapter begins.”

Contemporary off a shoe launch occasion in Paris and a Saucony collab that bought out in minutes, Bogo is in the course of getting ready for New York Vogue Week. Once we met at his DTLA studio, he was largely tight-lipped in regards to the launch, however he did say this upcoming assortment is impressed by his childhood in Oakland.

Bogo can’t absolutely credit score the Bay for what has turn out to be of TOMBOGO. After a stint in New York he’s been in L.A. for 2 years and has discovered inspiration in Paris, Japan and Italy. At 28, Bogo desires his upcoming assortment to inform a narrative about his evolution from highschool child promoting shirts out of the trunk of a automobile to world designer.

“I feel that preliminary Bay mind-set not less than bought me to the place I’m in the meanwhile,” he says. “However now I’ve entered this different enviornment, and the subsequent chapter begins.”

TOMBOGO section break for Image Issue

Bogo’s mother and father labored in tremendous artwork, however they inspired him to not observe the identical profession path. They did the ravenous artist factor and didn’t need that for him. However Bogo wasn’t enthusiastic about lots of his educational lessons at Oakland Technical Excessive. He performed the saxophone and his buddies made music. He was an avid skateboarder and adorned himself in skate manufacturers. He sketched on a regular basis. At some point he turned his sketches into display screen prints, introduced a crop of T-shirts to high school, and made $100. This doesn’t appear a lot just like the ravenous artist profession that my mother and father have been speaking about, he thought.

He was impressed by his mother and father whereas following their recommendation to decide on a steady profession path. After highschool, he studied visible communications and product design at San Francisco State College. Outdoors faculty, Bogo’s buddies have been exploring their inventive paths too, and he break up his time between design and collaborating with musicians. “Numerous these artists turned huge artists; this was years and years in the past, earlier than any of us knew what we have been doing,” he says.

The Bay’s gravitational pull is robust: its artists and musicians, the teachings it taught him. Oakland was the place he picked up a scrappy mind-set that helped him get issues finished with no matter sources have been out there.

Bogo creates from a spot of downside fixing. He designed his lately debuted Butterfly, in collaboration with Saucony, as a response to headline he examine a runner finishing a half-marathon in Crocs. “I believed, That’s cool, good for him,” he recollects. “However his toes in all probability harm after that.” He designed the shoe to be snug like a rubber clog and sneaker-like sufficient to help a run.

That dedication to upping performance repeats: TOMBOGO’s signature design, convertible Double-Knee Pants, are a multifunctional everyman staple that has turn out to be a template for designers from Louis Vuitton to streetwear manufacturers. Bogo’s New Period collaboration snapbacks include removable storage.

Photo of Tommy Bogo sewing on a street in DTLA.

Oakland was the place Bogo picked up a scrappy mind-set that helped him get issues finished with no matter sources have been out there. He creates from a spot of downside fixing.

The road-to-club vibes of L.A. or New York Metropolis are captured in girls’s crop tops that convert into 5 completely different kinds. Chore coats with detachable sleeves and sherpa bucket hats trace at an improve to Bay Space style, the place the fog rolls in and makes you miss your jacket, or the place it’s common to identify fleece pants at a flowery brunch.

Nonetheless, his items don’t really feel overly utilitarian. The number of supplies lends a fluidity to collections. There’s a scrappiness too. In the best way L.A. assemblage artists challenged commercialized gallery methods, Bogo makes use of discovered supplies to problem quick style. Recycling was simply part of life as a child, he says. Deadstock material, upcycled and thrifted materials, even transport packaging discover their method into designs. He produces simply sufficient to fill demand, consciously limiting extra stock.

Subsequent, he has his eyes on working with sustainably made denim.

TOMBOGO section break for Image Issue

Bogo is a storyteller at his core. Since he began designing by assortment, his means to create narratives by means of clothes has crystalized — most potently across the pandemic. His Fall 2020 assortment took goal on the methods we adopted a freelancer-type mentality within the pandemic. Fleece-lined cargos anchored a Consolation Zone capsule launched in early 2021, designed for max coziness from outdoors to inside. Conceived whereas Bogo moved from coast to coast through the pandemic, items from Misplaced & Discovered featured thrifted classic materials and heavy wools and knitwears representing the safety and stability that emerged by means of his travels.

Nature Is Therapeutic was presumably essentially the most cohesive illustration but of the model’s ethos round sustainability and collaboration. His buddy Leon Xu, an artist and San Francisco native, spearheaded the present’s set design. An ethereal customized monitor from Oakland R&B artist Elujay swirled by means of the air. Recycled nylon materials have been juxtaposed with patterns impressed by leaves and wooden.

“It’s actually these issues I’ve simply been doing naturally with out placing a label on it which have turn out to be the core pillars of the model,” Bogo says.

Following these inclinations, Bogo pours his creativity into merchandise past clothes. He’s made branded spray paint, a carabiner that doubles as a compass and bottle opener, packing tape styled like a ruler dubbed “measuring tape.” It’s nothing new for him: as a child Bogo personalized random objects, placing a paintbrush to a disposable digicam as an illustration and gifting it to his mother. The NostalgiaCam, a branded a 1080p digicam outfitted with a customized welcome sound and display screen is considered one of his newest expressions. It’s a greater nod to the reemergence of Y2K model than trucker hats and low-cut denims, and a instrument for his viewers made up of creatives and artists.

“To supply my very own model of those instruments that all of us use on the day-to-day is basically an thrilling idea to me,” he says.

Essentially the most pivotal piece for Bogo could have been his LED scouter glasses, which have since advanced right into a TOMBOGO and J Balvin collaboration of industrial quality lenses in a rainbow of colours outfitted with adjustable sizing and LED on every lens. Within the early days of his model, when the designer had solely 3,000 Instagram followers, J Balvin slid into his DMs enthusiastic about copping a pair. Bogo hand-carried them to the Colombian singer’s New York condo.

“Nothing had actually popped off but. It simply blew my thoughts that one thing I made bought to him and he took be aware of it after which went out of his option to attain out,” he says.

Photo of designer Tommy Bogo in his DTLA studio.

In the best way L.A. assemblage artists challenged commercialized gallery methods, Tommy Bogo makes use of discovered supplies to problem quick style.

The truth that one thing he designed might intrigue the famous person made him suppose his journey as a designer could have reached a turning level. It proved to be a invaluable lesson illustrating the connections Bogo could make to the remainder of the world through the use of design as a canvas of his introspection.

“Once I design, I simply try to design by means of my very own lens however discover issues by means of that lens that different individuals can perceive,” he says.

Ferron Salniker is a meals and tradition author with a give attention to id, origins and the methods. She additionally pro- duces meals and spirit occasions throughout the nation. She grew up in Oakland and relies in Los Angeles.

Lettering design by Vivi Naranjo/For The Instances; typeface: Goliagolia/The Designers Foundry

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