Who are you/what do you do?
We are Green Thomas, a design studio and accessories brand founded by Emma Green and Alan Thomas Dibble. We design and make in Scotland and England. Our ranges are stocked in independent boutiques and department stores in the UK, Europe, Japan, Australia and North America.
How has Covid changed your business?
Like most small businesses it’s not been easy! We built our business on selling wholesale via showrooms and trade fairs, obviously these haven’t happened and the future of that sales model looks tricky…As a result we are now focusing far more on selling through our own website and expanding our range of products that are exclusive to our own store.
Is there a story behind the name (if it's not your own?)
Emma and I came up with the name when we studied together at fashion college in London in the 90s, it was an easy mash up of our surnames and middle names. We used to walk past a shop near our studio and joked about how one day we would have our own shop in that location. 25 years later and we have the brand but not the shop in London!
How old is the business and how did you get started?
Green Thomas was founded in 2015, Emma and I both needed a change in direction after having worked for major international brands for decades decided it was time to do something for ourselves.
Do you have a style? What are you known for?
Statement graphic patterns and bold colours.
Who/what/where inspires you?
So many things! As designers we are a bit like magpies and take inspiration from a lot of places. Emma and I have the same cultural references from growing up and like to mix that with a bit of traditional heritage patterns from Scotland.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Dancers on Top of the Pops, Athletes in the Olympic Games or piloting the space shuttle!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust your instincts.
How did you learn your craft?
We both went to Art school and got a great grounding in drawing, painting, colour theory and how to develop ideas, being able to quickly sketch something is still a skill we use putting our collections together. The idea of being a designer wasn’t really on our radar then but we both studied textiles and fashion and realised we had a passion for it.
What do you do on your days off?
Walk the dogs. Swim in the sea.
Biggest highlight or achievement to date?
Being British we aren’t really used to blowing our own trumpet but will give it a small toot! We recently sent a scarf to a certain HRH at Kensington Palace and got a lovely note back to say thank you.
The benefit of there being two designers and more importantly friends running our business means we rarely disagree and when we do it easy to talk through and agree what to do. We can usually tell when the other one isn’t that into a new idea or direction! If we are dealing with difficult customers or retailers (which rarely happens) then we just continue to be polite and keep communicating in a professional manner.
What sparks joy in what you do?
We really love putting together our seasonal photoshoots. It’s hard work but great fun and we work with a great team of local creatives, photographers and MUA’s in doing it.
Dream stockists/brand to collaborate with?
We’d love to work with MOMA in New York on an exclusive range. And the other thing we’d love to do is do a larger scale mural in one of our patterns.
Any lessons you'd pass on?
Be patient, be persistent.
What's next for you and your business?
We’ve been busy working on a new Green Thomas menswear collection that will launch this year and also launch a col-lab we have been developing in the last year with a product designer from France.