My London: Tom Davies – Eyewear Designer

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Tom Davies is an eyewear specialist who began creating bespoke, made-to-measure frames under this own name in 2000. His Sloane Street flagship store opened earlier this year in February and offers visitors state of the art clinical eye testing and the chance to view the luxury collection, including collaborations with Meadham Kirchoff. His mantra? “When it comes to eyewear, why compromise? Style and comfort come as a pair.” We caught up with him as part of our Q&A series.

1. When did fashion/a sense of personal style first become important to you?

When I was 12 I asked my mother for a full length mirror. I was the laughing stock of the family, but I couldn’t understand why, I just wanted to make sure I looked good. I earned my own money from the age of 13 washing pots at a local restaurant, and I spent most of it on clothes. I remember spending £100 of one outfit and my parents thought it was outrageous, but I was washing up 3-4 nights per week and my income went from £1 pocket money to £70 per week.

2. Who is your style icon (living or dead)?

I know I should come up with someone really cool here, perhaps James Dean or someone, but the truth is I rather like the way David Beckham is styled.

3. How would you describe London style?

I love the eclectic mix of styles. You can see personal style everywhere. People express themselves through clothing and accessories in London far more diversely than in other countries I visit. Of course, you can spot the fashion tribes, but overall, I think Londoners reflect individuality and creativity in their personal style.

4. If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be (and why)?

My wife is German and I love Germany, but I’ve always wanted to live in New York. I think that at some point I will open a ‘Bespoke’ store there.

5. Limited to just a suitcase, which items from your wardrobe would you have to take with you?

Pyjamas – wVery important. I travel a lot and whilst this might seem a bit “practical”, sleep is always a challenge for someone going through time zones. Hotels have different standards. For example, I was in Germany last week and the room was freezing, since that is how they like there it, and the covers were goose down, so it was too hot. Pyjamas allow you to regulate the temperature. Then, you go to Asia, and you are lucky to get a sheet on your bed. So, appropriate bed ware makes all the difference when it comes to regulating your temperature and getting a good night’s sleep.

Other than that, I need a change of shoes, a cardigan (very versatile) and a scarf. Don’t under estimate the power of a good scarf. It can look stylish, and going from air-conditioned planes or hotels to desert heat or clubs… it really works.

6. What are your most used grooming/beauty products?

A fingernail set. I am always showing details on frames and I like my fingernails to look nice.

7. When and where did you look your best?

I think I looked best at the launch party for my London store. I designed my own suit for it (it is a hobby of mine) and I really got into the cut of the suit and how it made me look and feel. I’ve made myself about 30 suits now and I am learning from each one.

8. Which is your favourite season of the year (and why)?

I love autumn – it’s a really positive time of year. Things are changing, the colours are amazing, the temperature is still warm, but fresh, and I start to look forward to a new set of clothes. Summer is fantastic, but it is really limiting in what you can wear and for some reason that bothers me.

9. Who in your own family most influenced your sense of style?

My wife. She is my critic and my judge. I think she is the only person who really tells me what she really thinks.

10. If life was a movie, which film would you most like to live in?

2001 Space Odyssey. I love the vision of the future in the film and the styling. I actually modelled the clinic where we conduct eye tests in my flagship store on this film.

11. Which grooming or fashion mistakes most irk you in others?

This is the easiest question for me – glasses. I am so amazed how badly people judge their eyewear. I see glasses which don’t fit, slip down the nose, squeeze the head and make people look old. NONE of these things are necessary. Eyewear worn correctly can be an accessory which you WANT to put on, and that enhances your looks.

From time to time, I will bend peoples glasses in to shape or fit them correctly (over dinner tables, public transport and once even in a lift).

12. Cat or dog?

Dog.

13. What lesson would you pass on to younger people following in your shoes?

Don’t copy other people. Be inspired by your surroundings and value your creativity above all your other skills, because this is your currency.

14. What motivates you in your career?

People. I love designing for people. I really like working at a personal level. The most popular styles in my main collection have been created together with a customer or a friend. I don’t really follow other designers. I like to discover what is going to look amazing on someone, make them feel good and I take influence and motivation from it.

15. If you could trade looks with anyone who would that person be?

I don’t really have an answer for this. I wouldn’t want to trade looks with anyone else. Maybe a ten years younger version of me! Ha!

16. What category of clothing are you most drawn to/are most likely to overspend on?

Shoes. I love shoes. I have more than my wife (which is a constant irritation for her) and I’d have even more if we had the space, although it’s time for a shoe cull as it is.

17.Which is your most treasured sense?

Sight.

18.Name three elements of a perfect holiday

Other children for my children to play with, a safe environment and sun.

19. If you could change a single aspect of your appearance what would it be?

More hair. Sniff.

20. Your ideal lunch venue and guest

Buckingham Palace, the Queen.

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