Here To Disturb The Peace
Paula Thomas is really pissed off about design theft. Sure, there’s the obvious; copyright infringement, loss of sales, and disbursement and homogenization of brand DNA. But for Thomas—the founder, CEO, and creative director of Thomas Wylde, an international brand in its eighth year—this is also personal, the pilfering committed by “mindless people who have no creativity of their own, that feel it is okay to take someone else’s hard work and creative process and make money on it.” Thomas follows with a vigorous: “Shame on them!” And while the designer has a wealth of experience with this particular theft—she’s long sounded off on the piracy of her creations—in a world filled with fast fashion, she’s gotten crafty with her defense strategy: “For me, not doing a fashion show was the best move because by the time my product reaches the market place it is still fresh and exciting.” This seems to naturally lead towards a greater focus on the presentation of the finished product, and thus the launch of her flagship in Los Angeles this spring seemed apt. The designer’s West L.A. stronghold presents: ingrained intensity, neutral interiors bathed in marble, high ceilings, and, of course, a skull garden. However, the actualization of the brand’s home base was not without its challenges: “This process is intense because I don’t have a big house behind me supporting me financially. This is the doing of [myself and] people who work with me.” It’s clear that, for Thomas, the only reason to do anything is if that thing matters, right down to the wall decor: “The photographs in the store are my personal works. I created and curated the photography ideas and invited other people to come on board and collaborate with me. In the dressing rooms we have images from my second book called Ten Times Rosie, and in the fine jewelry room we have an image from my first book, Death Valley.” [Incidentally, Ten Times Rosie—in collaboration with Rankin and featuring Rosie Huntington-Whiteley—was featured in Flaunt #112: The Big Bang Issue, in which a blissed-out Thomas, fond of hanging out with her pups in the California sunshine exuberantly proclaims, “Fuck New York.”] The space aims to create a nuanced experience with an “educated staff that know how to service their clients with lifestyle elements, not just fashion,” as a way of fostering a “much more rounded experience.” And while many of these promises can ring flat when funneling through a retail outlet, Thomas approaches with dexterity and perception: She describes her personal style as “mature and sophisticated, but always has a rock vibe,” counts Ridley Scott as a friend and collaborator, and the likes of Rihanna and Angelina Jolie can often be seen draped in the brand’s habiliments. Next for Thomas? “Denim, fragrance, eyewear, shoes—one day hotels, and then homes! We have a lot to do.” And we hope at that point, still, a skull or two.