Tom Rebl has made quite a name for himself and his brand over the years, which distinguished itself for its rock and sartorial style that appeals to stars like Justin Bieber, Green Day and Gianna Nannini, to name just a few. As the label is going to celebrate its tenth anniversary with the new SS18 collection launch, we passed by the Milanese showroom during Fashion Week to speak with the designer about “the biggest achievements and failures throughout these ten years” and to discover what’s behind his latest creations.
Born and raised in Germany, Tom Rebl later moved to London where he pursued his studies at the prestigious Central Saint Martins. After starting his career, he decided he wanted to be closer to his production’s site, so he packed his things once again and moved to Italy, where in 2008 he launched his eponymous label, first as menswear and then, from Spring/Summer 2015 onward, also as womenswear.
Even if the main production line focuses on males, what defines Tom Rebl’s clothes is gender nonconformity, which means there is neither a rigidity between the two lines nor, likewise, any gender constraints among which items a customer can buy and ultimately wear: bomber jackets, trousers and sweatshirts can be worn by either gender, but, for a better fit, there are female versions of male items, and vice versa.
Tom Rebel inspires stripes Spring Summer 2018
Rebl has placed an emphasis on tailoring, quality of fabrics and finishing processes rather than on gender distinction. Experimental and deconstructed volumes, raw-cut edges and garment dyeing are some key elements of the collection which tie in deeply with its rock and roll DNA. Music has, in fact, always been at the core of the brand along with influences from the world of design and contemporary art.
Taking the work of American writer and painter Jean-Michel Basquiat as its inspiration, the SS2018 collection has, as its centerpiece, a light bluish-green sweatshirt adorned with the distinctive crown of Basquiat on the front and a quote, written in the braille alphabet, on the right sleeve which says: “every line means something”. These lines, which we find in the form of stripes (five of them specifically), as well as the kind of stripes, are mixed together, one next to the other on some pieces reminiscent of artists’ uniforms.
In addition, totally black outfits, absolute mainstays of the brand, leave space for patterns and touches of colours like yellow and green. The fabrics are mostly natural, for instance, cotton, linen and leather, but there are also technically modern materials to respond to customers’ needs. Everything from a reinterpretation of the classic bomber jacket in python or a pleated white python to a jacket in memory nylon which prevents it from crumpling is available in the collection.
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What are the biggest achievements and failures you’ve had throughout these 10 years? How have these experiences influenced you to succeed?
“When looking back at the last ten years since the founding of my brand, there have been several highlights. The biggest achievement of them all was to establish and expand my brand, a brand now responsible for selling items in the world´s finest boutiques and concept stores. Throughout the last decade I also had (and still have) the honor to collaborate with many personalities from show business and the world of music like, for example, Justin Bieber, Adam Lambert, Boy George, Green Day, Conchita Wurst, Diane Pernet, Chris Cab, Gianna Nannini, Eros Ramazzotti, Dieter Bohlen and Arturo Brachetti. I also remember the cooperation with Masterchef Italia quite well. Carlo Cracco and Joe Bastianich dedicated one episode to my Spring/Summer 2015 catwalk show and an aftershow party in Milan, where the contestants cooked a menu inspired by the collection for my guests.
I enjoy collaborating with creative personalities from areas like music, art or acting. It is very inspiring for me to be around other creative minds to share and discuss perspectives and ideas.
It lets you forget the moments when you are stuck and blocked creatively in your everyday work process.”
The rebellious side of the brand, along with its openness to gender fluidity, combined with workmanship that could only come from Italy, as well as attention to materials and handmade processing make Tom Rebl’s clothes unique and different allowing its customers to embody their individuality and feel good about it.
Photo Credit: Tom Rebl