Mark Thomas Taylor is the new eponymous menswear label that has just been launched with a vibrant and uplifting campaign for Spring/Summer 2012. The collection includes basic jeans, t-shirts, shirts and accessories in bright colours that we suspect will garner much attention by male consumers. The fabrics are comfortably light, and key colours for the range include fuchsia, levels of indigo and blues, orchid purple, sunshine yellow, emerald green, and fluorescent touches can be found in the jersey tops.
The label (that can be found at Lookk.com, Beach Tomato, and 123 Bethnal Green Road Boutique) is entirely designed by Mark Thomas Taylor, and produced by small teams in Thailand and China. The denim is Premium Thai Denim spun and woven locally and the other garments are made of Thai cotton following a traditional method of weaving called Pha Khao Maa. The yarns are also locally spun in ways that make the fabrics cool, breathable and comfortable in hot weather.
The Style Examiner met Mark Thomas Taylor to find out more about this promising new label and about the man behind the collection.
Tell us about you and how you started in fashion.
I’ve actually always been a painter and wanted to study Fine Art but when I came to study in the UK from the USA I fell in love with the idea of working with fabric and working in fashion so decided to pursue that instead. I studied Fashion at Kingston University which was great for me! I still think it’s one of the best courses around these days as students leave well-rounded and ready for whichever level of industry they choose to work in. I started working at Abercrombie & Fitch as a designer and moved to work on their creative team in London. After that I moved to rebrand for Henri Lloyd before deciding to start up my own brand.
How did the idea to have your own label come about?
After working in the corporate side of fashion for such a long time I started to feel constrained. I actually resigned from my job and went on a trip to Thailand and Bali, started a blog about my journey and called it quits for a bit. I think in the back of my mind I always knew I wanted to do my own brand but needed to regain inspiration and that’s exactly what that trip did for me. I had an amazing time in Thailand, went and met a child I have been sponsoring for some years now, and also participated in some charity work. It was when I came back from my trip that I decided I was going to start Mark Thomas Taylor.
In general, where do you find inspiration?
I think as a designer I’m constantly absorbing ideas and taking notes of what I see. I love art and spend a lot of time visiting galleries in London, whereas in Thailand I experienced a fantastic sensory overload. In a way, I see the brand as a bringing together of worlds. My colour definitely comes from the vibrancy of Bangkok and Thai culture while my understated detailing comes from British menswear. I’ve spent many years designing and living in the States so perhaps it’s fair to say there’s an undertone of Americana in there too.
What were your sources of inspiration for the current collection?
A lot was from my trip, the colours, all the amazing fabrics that I saw in Asia. And I have always been obsessed with vintage, particularly when it comes to denim! I also think that clothes are an extension of yourself, and illustrate how you feel, how you want to be perceived. I got bored of menswear being so serious and drab, and I really feel that guys want more colour in the wardrobes these days.
Which designers or labels inspire you?
I admire Marc Jacobs and love the energy that is so evident in his clothes. I also like Oliver Spencer for his clean understated aesthetic, and I’m a bit of a denim lover so I love vintage Levis, Edwin, and RRL.
What do you think of the fashion currently produced by London-based designers?
I love the number of smaller menswear labels emerging. It’s a sign that it’s a growing market and that guys are becoming more and more fashion conscious. I think it’s great that there’s this new wave of young entrepreneurs putting out their own styles. You see a lot of this in Hong Kong, Japan, or Thailand where you have entire shopping areas that only sell emerging designers work. It’s great that it’s happening here in London now!
Where do you see your career going next? What are your expansion plans?
It’s such early days with the brand but I definitely want to branch out internationally. From summer our Jersey tops will also be unisex as it seems we’ve had a very positive response from girls wanting to buy our tops. I do see a women’s range coming soon too but that won’t be for a few seasons yet.