A few weeks ago in the blistering London sunshine, MFM went to meet Mr Tom Kilbey to talk about his new contemporary street wear label Merge LDN. A fair few of you guys and girls may recognise Tom from the reality show The Only way Is Essex. A show based on over-exaggeration and self-loathing which Tom does not fall anywhere near. In fact he has escaped the show all together to totally focus on Merge LDN and shy away from the reality show attention. “The main reason I quit the show was so I could be taken seriously within the industry”- He mentioned though how well fellow reality star Ollie Proudlock has done with his clothing label while still being involved in a similar show. There was also an option of following his reality counterparts in being involved with already set up brands to promote and make money from, all for just a few words promoting on twitter or instagram. For Tom that was never an option. “It would have been easy to have been set up with something like that but for me I couldn’t be involved in something I’m not passionate about”. An admirable and mature statement from a fellow only in his early twenties. “I just want to share the experience of what I love and to inspire”- Kilbey replies when MFM puts to him the question of what inspired him to create Merge LDN. We then started talking about our mutual appreciation for the Japanese style and their take on fashion. Tom was actually asked by esteemed online fashion magazine Houyhnhnm to guest blog for them detailing what goes on in his day to day life while running Merge LDN.
So what is Merge LDN all about then? “Tailored British Street wear” as Kilbey answers. “It’s a merge between music, lifestyle and menswear”. Tom goes on to explain his love for music and how it’s been a big inspiration for the label. The range is also inspired by the Japanese street wear scene, modern contemporary Parisian design and a retro nod to the early 60’s west coast surf culture. The range at the moment is put together in a small capsule but regardless to the fact there is a real strong identity within its staple pieces. There is also a real emphasise on quality and the fabrics used. Tom told MFM of how important it was to him that there was a real attention to detail when it came to manufacturing and how quality would not be compromised. With his hands on role he has makes frequent trips over to Hong Kong where he has built up a great relationship with his manufacturer. “It’s absolutely essential that we have a good relationship which is built upon trust”.
Here are some of the cool pieces that MFM has picked out of the Merge LDN range.
The “Tuntil” jacket
This has to be MFM’s favourite piece out of the collection. A statement utilitarian jacket with style. The metal clasps on the jacket are a real standout feature and give that point of difference.
The “Life” T shirt
The slubby cotton used for the tees are great quality and all year round wear.
The “Alfred” sweatshirt
The sweatshirt is a must have in any guys wardrobe and MFM love’s the contemporary contrast sleeve with Merge print.
The “Josh” Trouser
Again the Merge team use the finest slubby cotton which is great for all year round. Is there a garment that combines practicality and style as much the cotton trouser?
The “Charles” shirt
MFM loves the Charles shirting from Merge. Whether dressing up or down, a button up in the wardrobe is essential guys.
Check out the full range on the Merge LDN website www.mergelondon.com/