During his 30 years as a stylist, David Thomas has worked with some of the most iconic men of our times. Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, David Beckham and John Legend are just a few highlights from his dozens of A-list clients across the entertainment world.
Now he is launching his own menswear brand, David Thomas X, drawing from his three decades of experience at the peak of an industry where he is known for his talent and drive. He began his working life as a plumber in Gloucester, UK, devouring fashion magazines and newspaper showbusiness columns in between fixing leaky taps and blocked pipes, before making the bold decision in 1988 to leave that profession to follow his dream of working in fashion. He spent weekends washing dishes in a café and evenings as a lavatory assistant in a West End nightclub while building his career by working as an assistant for free. By 1990, he was a fully-fledged stylist himself, and just a year later he became the world’s youngest fashion editor for British Esquire Magazine. At the time, Esquire had a ‘no models’ policy, so David filled the pages with men who were excelling in their creative industries, and became a pioneer of celebrity styling. He would go on to work as contributing fashion editor at Vogue Homme, L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Hommes International and Interview as well as contributing to Vanity Fair and British GQ.
Now his own menswear brand, David Thomas X, will incorporate all that styling experience and feature collaborations with folks from his unrivaled contacts book. Here he tells us a little more about the inspiration and philosophy behind his new venture.
How long have you harbored the idea of launching your own brand?
Having done multiple collaborations previously in my work, with fine jewelry brand Jason of Beverly Hills, artist Kid Zoom and ONESHIRT, launching my own brand felt like the right next step for me.
I wanted to create a brand experience where I can collaborate with brands and artists to create great menswear, hence the name, David Thomas X. For the debut David Thomas X collection, I am partnering with Jack Victor for Tailoring, Golden Bear for Outerwear, and collaborating once again with Kid Zoom.
What inspired you to do it right now?
Having worked in fashion for so many years, this felt like the logical next step. I am always looking for a great suit, knit or jacket, so I decided to create exactly that with David Thomas X. Fabric, fit and color are all important to me, with staple garments that can fit into anyone’s closet, mixed in with a few standout pieces in the collection.
What difference did it make launching the brand within the pandemic timeframe? Did you have to delay?
While the pandemic did cause us to delay the launch of David Thomas X by a year, I am a great believer that things happen as they are meant when the timing is right, so it didn’t phase me or my vision for the brand. We believe that now is the perfect time to launch the brand given that myself and many others haven’t purchased new clothes in a while, and are really looking for something fresh and new as the world re-emerges from lockdown.
What experience from your years of styling helped you design?
With my styling experience, I’ve learned what really looks great on men and I approached the collection in a practical way – some examples include zippers on sweatpant pockets to help you not misplace any items while moving about, but not including them on the back side so you don’t scratch your leather furniture or car seats. The cashmere roll neck sweaters and crew necks we created are cut to be tailor fitted and not baggy, such as styles you usually find, and are light-weight and made in colors that are unique. The varsity jacket in the collection is made from Loro Piana wool, which is super soft and light, making it a year-round piece whether you’re outside in chilly weather or inside at a bar with your friends, keeping you stylish at all times. As well, our tailoring is well-thought out. We have a slightly higher waist and a larger lapel on slim but flattering pants.
Who are your main inspirations and which designers inspire you?
I find inspiration everywhere from musicians, to art and film and beyond. I am constantly inspired by designers with specific projects I’m working on, but always err to European menswear as a rule. Some favorites include Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent. There are also relatively new brands with their own unique approach coming out of LA now, which I find inspiring!
What are your aspirations for the brand? Can you describe the brand in one sentence?
By continuing to collaborate by working with new brands and artists, David Thomas X will remain fluid season to season to create elegant, thoughtful, and timeless menswear.
Tell us about your manufacturing. Where is it made?
We keep most of our manufacturing close to home, with the pieces in collaboration with Golden Bear made in San Francisco and the tailoring with Jack Victor in Montreal. Our goal was to not have the pieces travel too far. We only produce select items in the collection that are made abroad.
What changes do you see happening in the fashion world right now? And what other changes would you like to see?
I’ve always felt that people want quality clothes that last and can be worn repeatedly – staple pieces that don’t need to be discarded after a season. I’d like to see more consumers purchase in this way.
David Thomas X launches in October. For more details visit their website.