Dazed Digital


House of Billiam

March 1, 2012

The exclusive Dover Street Market Tokyo collaboration - a merging of Japanese style and east London spirit

  • Text by Alexandra Plesner

Thomas Bird was born in Nottingham as the second of four, all boys. He studied Philosophy at York, liked the studying, didn't much like York or university. Did a load of random jobs, taught himself to sew, learnt pattern making from a book and in 2009 kick started his fashion brand House of Billiam. Thomas and designer Rav Matharu not only literally like to dress up the streets, as the video proves, but show with their actual collaboration with the Dover Street Market that they came to stay. We spoke to Thomas Bird prior to the launch of the exclusive collection on the 16th of March in Tokyo and London.

Satellite Voices: What is the best advice you got so far?
Thomas Bird: Best advice I got so far is "it's only money" which is what my Dad says to me, everytime stuff goes wrong or my bank account is empty.

SV: What was your first passion and how does this passion manifests itself today?
Thomas Bird: My first passion is to be inquisitive. It means I get submerged in what I do, I love to know as much as I can about things I am interested in and I like to be interested in a lot of thing. I am passionate about learning and knowing things for myself.

SV: Can you tell us a bit about the collaboration with Dover Street Market?
Thomas Bird: The collaboration with Dover Street Market is for the opening of the Ginza store on March 16. We created, with DSM, eight variations on our reversible varsity shape using a range of different fabrics from English suiting to Australian duck camo print.

SV: What is your connection to Japan, why Tokyo?
Thomas Bird: We ended up selling clothes mainly in Japan because they were the first people to approach us about what we were doing, the company had only been going five months and they requested some samples and came back to us with an order for 300 units. I have never been there.

SV: With whom would you dream to work with for a project?
Thomas Bird: One dream project is indeed to revitalise menswear at Marks & Spencer. I would love to work with them to create something that will speak to the audience they lost and have not managed to win back. The quality of what they do is great and they are a great British institution.

SV: What makes you happy?
Thomas Bird: Blowing my nose in the shower, giving people directions and coming up with ideas makes me happy.

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