Doing the dirty work eventually pays off

After a big and heavy discussion with his mother, Jone Nielsen was allowed to change the color of the shoelaces on his brand new sneakers. This was more than two decades ago, and Jone was going to get his annual kindergarten portrait taken. It was his first victory as a fashion designer. Today the (still quite young) designer is about to take his talent and career to the next level, as the new designer of TOMWOOD.

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Congratulations on your new job! How excited are you about this new opportunity? 

Thank you so much! I actually couldn't be more excited. Not just have I gotten a job (those are rare if you're a designer) but it's also THE job. TOMWOOD is not only a really cool brand with tons of potential, but also a place with fantastic work ethics and open mindedness for a freak like me. 

To take on a job like this, as a still quite young designer, can be a nerve-racking move for many. How do you feel? Any tips on how to gain or maintain confidence in the world of fashion?

As a designer, if you're not feeling on edge at every moment, that's when you should be worried. I like the feeling of not knowing and discovering challenges, and I take great pride in finding creative solutions, both in concepts and commercial businesses. For me, it has always been a good thing to believe in the power of overly exposed confidence. Being proud of my accomplishments and not caring about everything else that's said and done around me.

You're going to design for a brand with an already established style and identity. What's the most important thing to take in consideration for a task like that? 

It all depends on what kind of brand you're aiming for. Every place has its own history and has gone through different processes to get where they are today. Some want to stay in the environment they've already created, while others aim for something new or at least strive to change old habits. TOMWOOD is a company that has built their company brick by brick in a very sensible way. Already made famous in some of the best stores in the world (Dover Street Marked, Barney`s, Le Bon Marche, etc.) through jewellery, they are now taking new steps into the field of denim and ready-to-wear. To me, this is gold! Being a part of something like this from the get go, I have the opportunity to influence the direction for our brand. The most important thing in the process is to respect TOMWOOD's history, but also remember that they brought me in because they think I've got something to bring to the table.

How do you plan on developing TOMWOOD while maintaining your own style and taste in fashion? With you onboard, what can we expect from TOMWOOD in the future?

I've got a very different mindset and approach to fashion, and although our aesthetics are different, I believe that everything is continuously evolving in both our mindsets. I'm not separating myself from the brand, it's more of a process in which we slowly start to coexist. Hopefully this will result in something new, interesting and with a storyline that people can relate to.

To other young designers who are looking for an opportunity like this — what’s your best do's and dont’s to get there?

Network-network-network. It might feel odd and stupid at first, but in the end, all those weird events, late-night parties and small-talks finally gained me my favourite job. As for something you shouldn't do: You have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, gain experience, do the dirty work. It will all be paid back to you eventually. Promise.

Photography from the top left:
Flush Tiger Eye by Calle Huth
Gold Hoops by Johanne Log
TOMWOOD SS18 by Alexander Norheim
TOMWOOD SS19 by Simon Birk
TOMWOOD SS18 by Tetsuya Maehara
Day and Night Collection by Calle Huth