Shortly after architecture-graduate-turned-espadrille-manufacturer Oliver Tomalin met his future wife Rose in 2010, the couple travelled to India where they were introduced to Tara, an elephant that would inspire them to create a brand dedicated to protecting the endangered animals. The following year, Love Brand & Co. showcased its first range of men’s and boy’s swimming shorts in Selfridges. The company has since expanded into shirts, luggage and womenswear – it still sells espadrilles – with stores in Notting Hill and Chelsea. Each year, Love Brand & Co. donates two per cent of its net revenue to help protect elephants and other endangered wildlife – Tomalin takes us inside his London life…
Where’s home for you?
I live between the UK and The Bahamas with my wife and two young children. Love Brand & Co. is based in London but the brand was born in The Bahamas, where my wife has family connections. We say the brand was born in The Bahamas, and raised in London.
What inspired your love for travel?
My parents lived and worked all over the world. Without question this planted the seed for my life – I’ve always been hungry to explore and travel.
How’s business, post-pandemic?
The pandemic was tough, but the silver lining was that it hit a pause button at the right time, allowing us to reflect and make our business even better. Another silver lining is that the pandemic accelerated a movement towards shopping slower and more sustainably and being more conscious about the environment and wildlife.
Which are your best-selling swim shorts?
We only make one short. The Staniel. Named after the cay in The Bahamas with swimming pigs. They are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic, are quick drying, perfectly cut and feature our signature prints. My favourite print this season is ‘Elephant Palace’, which can trick the eye so that you either see elephants or Indian palaces.
Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven’t yet?
Egypt. We have a partnership with Abercrombie & Kent this year, celebrating its 60th anniversary with six exclusive prints for six decades of travel. One of the prints is inspired by Tutankhamun and A&K’s adventures along the Nile.
Which is your favourite hotel?
This summer we went to Marbella Club to celebrate another exciting collaboration. I designed a seahorse print to help its initiative to protect seahorses and their associated habitats in the Mediterranean. It is an incredible hotel.
Which is your favourite hotel brand?
If Love Brand & Co. did hotels, the closest would be Zannier Hotels. They are small, unique and careful with the environment.
What’s the best pool you’ve ever swum in?
The ocean is the best pool there is. The best part of living in The Bahamas is swimming in the ocean every day. The saltwater and the act of swimming I find so important and healing. I can’t live without it.
Which is your favourite beach?
Pine Cay in Turks & Caicos might just be the best beach on earth.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t bother with my advice. Just follow your gut and never give up on your dreams.
If you could relive one day of your life, which would it be?
Rose and I went to India only a few months after we met and had one of the best days I can remember. Swimming with elephants and tracking tigers in the Kanha National Park and camping at Kipling Camp.
Which book would you suggest everyone should read?
Born Wild by Tony Fitzjohn, a man who showed strength, grit and perseverance.
Outside of Love Brand & Co., what do you do to leave the world a better place?
Love Brand & Co. and my young family are all-consuming right now but if I get a spare moment I love to garden and paint – although I’m not sure how much the world is a better place for that!
Love Brand & Co. will be hosting a pop-up store at 20-21 St. Christopher’s Place, Marylebone until November 2022, visit lovebrand.com