TOM IN CONVERSATION WITH EMANUELE FARNETI
Milan as a cultural, fashion, design and architecture hotspot
They discuss the city of Milan, a constantly changing landscape and current global hotspot for culture, fashion, design and architecture.
‘Milan is a bit like London… in that it’s impossible to kill Milan. London has these resurgences, it gets battered… but London keeps on coming back and reinventing itself. And that seems to be Milan as well’. (Tom).
Although similar to London in its ability to bounce back, Tom explains that their design scenes are historically different. When Tom began designing in London, ‘there was no real love of design – it was still very classic decoration, very nostalgic and not very modernist at all', compared to Milan, where evereryone 'really respected design and believed in [it] as transformational.’ (Tom).
'[In Milan], the pleasure of which everyone talked about design – whether that was the grandmother of the brand or the workers in the canteen – they all spoke about design with passion, which doesn’t happen in the UK’. (Tom).
Emanuele and Tom compare the fashion and interior industries. Although Tom has collaborated with sportswear brands Adidas and Lacoste, he says that altthough fasion and interior have 'similar dynamics in turns of creation', fashion has a 'much faster and much more complicated cycle. Interiors are very, very slow in comparison.'
‘The interior world is much less globalised than fashion, film, or any other profession. People have quite local ways of living around the world.’ (Tom).
When discussing the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on creativity, Tom, who spent lockdown staying by the English coast, says that:
'[During lockdown] I was finally, for the first time in 25 years, able to be alone with no commercial brief at least a couple of days a week. Making things with my own hands again taught me why I started doing design in the first place, just from the pure joy of making things with my own hands.’ (Tom).
‘For me, it’s been very healthy to have that space, and I just like everybody else, was spending too much time rushing around the world talking about what I was doing, rather than actually doing it.’ (Tom).
‘When things change, when there’s chaos, there’s definitely more opportunities for designers if they’ve prepared to be elastic, flexible, and adapt to circumstances…. When things change, is when you have to design new things.’ (Tom).
Emanuele and Tom debate whether production can ever be sustainable:
‘Sustainability is even more challenging for the fashion industry, because its not just the process of trying to produce what you’re producing by reducing impact on the environment… the other half of the problem is that it’s a business made out of convincing people to buy, things that they don’t necessarily need’ (Emanuele).
‘If you make an object that has integrity in terms of design and in terms of material and build quality, it will last several generations in a way that fashion generally doesn’t. it’s a much slower cycle in terms of consumption, and also it is naturally reused… antique shops…’ (Tom)
WATCH the full conversation below.