by Michelle Norris
FROM Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren to Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss, men are taking over the catwalk and the high street.
And this year Essex born designer, Tom Wells, is hoping to break into the male market with the launch of his T-Shirt brand Heretics.
A self-taught designer from Barking, whose desire for fashion began in his early 20s, the 28-year-old is proud of his debut collection for men, which includes risqué images and controversial prints.
“We are in a time when nothing seems to shock anyone anymore so Heretics uses risqué imagery to challenge peoples’ concepts of safe and conservative versus modern and out there,” says Tom of the collection, which includes a print of a woman holding a diamond-encrusted gun to her head with the words, It’s All About Me (pictured above). “By definition, Heretics is a word that describes those who go against the grain.”
Not conforming to an attitude or principle, the collection features sexualised images of women as well as flashes of colour and urban detailed artwork.
“I wanted the T-Shirts to live up to their name; to be bold, daring and at times controversial so I understand they might not be to everyone’s taste, but that’s okay,” explains Tom. “The whole point of Heretics is to push boundaries so while some people might respond sensitively, others embrace the images. I find it interesting to see how people react in different ways.
“Fashion can change everything about someone and that’s fascinating to me,” he adds. “If I put something on and it transforms me, I have to buy it and it was that feeling I wanted to inspire in people.”
As one of the only T-Shirt brands for men manufactured in London, Tom hasn’t yet ruled out designing future lines for women.
“I’m a man and I know how I want to feel when I wear something so that’s why I initially started with men’s wear,” explains Tom. “But developing a female range is definitely something I plan to do in the near future.
“I’m really proud to see people wearing Heretics,” he adds. “It’s a great feeling to know that my ideas and designs are liked and people are buying it! It’s given me passion for future collections and just adds to the desire to become a world wide known brand.”
Heretics T-Shirts retail between £25 and £30 each and are available online at heretics.co.uk and in retailers throughout the UK.