Toronto Men’s Fashion Week
Interview with Tom Caldwell of Thomas Henry Made by Michael.j.Murka
FM: Why did you decide to become a Fashion Designer?
PD:I’ve always enjoyed design, though I come to fashion later than most. I think I’m clearly different from most designers in that I didn’t always know I wanted to be in fashion, and it’s been a journey towards a real love for tailored clothing, and a well-made suit.The short story is when I first started out in the corporate world (I’m self-taught in fashion), I never wanted to be a “suit” and was more reserved about showing my personality. Over time, and as I slowly tried out new things - in particular custom suiting, I really started enjoying wearing a suit to work every day. That got me into trying...a lot of stuff. Off-the-rack, made-to-measure, bespoke, high-end, low-end, you name it, I tried it.
Eventually that was all I could think about, and one day while I was sitting in my office in New York looking down 5th Avenue dreaming of my summer suit designs (again…), and realized I needed to follow my passion.
FM: What is your favorite part of being a Fashion designer?
PD: The opportunity to put together a cohesive collection and tell a story gets me going. My design is all about subtle details, and I love being able to create a scene through textures, patterns and silhouettes. It’s what I would be doing for fun anyway, and being able to get up every day and do what I love is a blessing.
FM: What were your inspirations for the designs you created?
PD:The theme for the collection is the Cote d’Azur and the French Riviera. Think of all of the beauty of the Hotel Negresco in Nice, the red carpet in Cannes and the elegance of the Casino de Monte-Carlo and you’ve got the idea.
FM: How would you describe your style or aesthetic?
PD: Thomas Henry is made for a sophisticated, urbane man who is an experienced menswear customer and appreciates the importance of the twin combination of proper fit and quality fabric. The Thomas Henry man is confident, stylish and appreciates subtle, tasteful details.
FM: What differentiates your line from others? Are there any problems you noticed with other products that you tried to do differently?
PD: Firstly, fit. Fit is absolutely the most important thing with suiting, and you can’t do anything if you don’t nail that. We have a great, tasteful cuts that are a proper European silhouette - meaning it is cut closer to the body, rather than being too boxy or too slim fit and trendy. Otherwise, even though there are a lot of other options out there to buy a suit, I found that there wasn’t really one go-to option for great fit, quality fabric, excellent construction and genuine customer service. I kept looking for something that was the right mix of everything and I never really found an option that was on point – and add in that important little detail of finding all of that at the right price (it’s not the sexiest thing to think about, but it matters at the end of the day).
Instead of continuing to search for myself, selfishly, I decided to offer the product and experience I thought was missing, and I that’s what I’m trying to do with Thomas Henry.
FM: What are your plans for the future?
PD: Staying focused. I am going to make sure to continue to do what Thomas Henry is good at, which is well-fitted, high quality tailored suits and shirts. There is a master plan of course, and in five years from now I’m sure you will see Thomas Henry continue to develop. I’m just not going to lose the emphasis on ensuring I keep all of my clients happy, and continue to grow and build with them to develop a long-term relationship.
In the meantime you can follow us on social media at https://twitter.com/thomashenrymade, https://instagram.com/thomashenrymade/ and https://www.facebook.com/ThomasHenryMade. We also do private fittings for full custom suits and shirts here in Toronto and in New York City, so check out www.THmade.com.
FM: What was it like being part of Toronto Men's Fashion Week?
PD: It was a great experience. It was my first runway show, and I think it went extremely well. It was definitely a crowd pleaser, and it was amazing to see a set of looks I’ve spent so much time putting together, finessing all the details and agonizing over to make perfect really come to life. The show also was really helpful in terms of being a learning experience, in terms of getting a better sense of what I need to do to really nail the collection. From the way the crowd reacted to the show, I definitely think I’m on to something with my particular aesthetic – but I care about the details and making it perfect, I’m going to focus on starting from first principles again, going back to the drawing board and making sure my next collection isn’t just great…it’s perfect.
Tom Caldwell of Thomas Henry Made has recently been a part of:
World MasterCard Press & Buyers Breakfast F/W \
Toronto Men’s fashion week TOM*FW SS16
Fashion on Yonge
World MasterCard Press & Buyers Breakfast S/S16
Photos by Shayne Gray