Note: to get the full effect of Tom’s voice, please visualise sitting in a nineteenth century living room and listening to a gentleman on the radio expunge on the nature of appropriate accoutrements for men’s fashion and the proper way to tie a cravat so it is out of the way when you storm the barricades during the revolution.
Hey Tom, thank you for sitting down and talking to me!
Oh, no problem at all – you wanted to know about my favourite project, yes? I don’t know if you’ve heard about this one yet, so please tell me if you haven’t; I’d be delighted to explain to you.
Oh, great! Let’s start with some background, then – you were an actor, originally, yeah? On the West End?
Well… yes – ten years in London in total, including my training, and then a stretch of time on stage – and then, I wanted a change of career, so I started working in fashion PR, but even then, it was like something was — missing. I got contacted by the guys here, who were looking for someone to fill a creative role, and they took a bit of a chance on me — I don’t they’ve seen my CV, still…
Amazing! So are you the go-to person for things like sourcing out props and hiring actors?
I would—hm. In a sense, yes – though everyone pitches in so that’s not entirely accurate… I’m on the artistic side of things, and so my focus is always on what we can achieve visually, what elements we’re working with – things like how much space we have to work with on the website or in an event, on a print ad, on a video set – those are things I consider, to see what the overall effect is going to be – but everyone helps out, everyone pitches in.
Have you ever had to source something really weird for a shoot?
Something really weird… Well, the most stressful thing I ever had to source was a Juventus t-shirt. The actor, ah—refused to wear it, because he was a Milan supporter, and so he absolutely did not want to put it on – in the end his girlfriend ended up wearing it. So that was the most stressful thing I ever had to find, just for the sheer trouble it was to then use it—-but the weirdest thing…
[a contemplative, distance-gazing pause]
The weirdest thing was probably a 1970s sofa. We wanted it to replicate the look and the feel of an airport lounge in the 70s for a recent pop-up event we organised for Kinnie at the Pink Fashion Show, and it took quite a while of internet trawling to find what exactly we were looking for. I was really pleased, though, with the end result.
Really? Oh, that’s super cool–what about your favourite project? Anything like that happen?
My favourite project… My favourite project would have to be the Lore and Fitch rebranding, in Cologne. Are you familiar with it, or–?
Not very – could you elaborate, please?
Of course. Are you familiar with Lore and Fitch, in St. Julians? It’s a concept restaurant that we did the branding for, and when they opened up a second restaurant in Cologne, they asked us to do the branding and the shooting and — everything, really. We’d already done their first restaurant, and so we were familiar with the brand, so Ed and I flew out to style and shoot their new restaurant.
It was just Ed and I in Cologne, and we spent three days styling and shooting the restaurant, and eating terrifically well. The surroundings were stunning, and what I really enjoyed was having the run of the restaurant — there were no massive time constraints, no need to rush, we could really take our time and enjoy what we were doing, and focus just on the one client. It was work, of course, but working at that pace, and with that single-minded focus, is sublime.
Wonderful! I’m curious, is there a general — aesthetic or look you keep in mind when you’re working on a project?
The thing is, with the work we do, there’s no such thing as a standard look – it’s wonderful, really, because you get to try so so many different aesthetics as the times change, and things fall out of fashion, or come back into fashion, or are so short-lived you can’t really take advantage of them. It keeps you constantly on your toes, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
Thank you so much for talking to me, Tom!
And with a graceful and elegant wheeled-chair scoot, Thomas goes back to his corner of the office, slips on his headphones, and resumes his inscrutable existence as Switch’s creative brain.
We’ll be taking a short break from Meet the Team (shutdown is in a week, guys, and we don’t want to leave off in the middle), so for now, we leave you with the ephemeral whimsy of Thomas Camilleri, creative visionary, actor, stylist, DIYer, timeless classic, and more.