Spindle Magazine

Interview: I AM VIBES

In Carnaby Street’s Joe & The Juice, a journalist loiters around expecting to meet a designer decked in a central London suit. Meanwhile, sounding like the start of Sliding Doors, a designer looks around for a journalist armed with a filofax, briefcase and spectacles that scream business. Eventually the designer and journalist pinpoint each other, and immediately realise that this was a label and interview that was going to be peachy meet and greet.

I AM VIBES is the organic brainchild of Tom Hardless, representing a label that could have been adopted from a Glastonbury crèche that’s governed by Devendra Banhart’s acoustic bearing circle. Tom, with an envious beard that makes me look like a rugrat in comparison, is ‘one of those guys’ that exudes the bohemian spirit as if it was pencilled into his destiny. There’s nothing more distinguishable between a try-hard-hippy and someone who has a natural flavour for the offbeat arts, and thankfully Tom ticked the latter box with immediate charm on handshake. Meanwhile I tried to fit in by having the avocado flatbread during the sit down, pretending that a greasy sausage roll is an obvious sin.

So Tom’s story… Initially routed in the music industry, a connection to symbols with sacred geometric patterns and meanings led to the hunt for a home that could explore this further. Which is where our old friend fashion comes knocking, like a confident business partner that looks down upon coffee chains and wants to sell the meaning, not sell out to the trends. The idea of I AM VIBES is to open up a world of clothing that doesn’t just make you look slick, but also carries with it a spiritual charm. Positive energy is the purpose, and it just so happens that the aesthetic has a slamming throwback to the 90s that gets you wanting to dish out your old skateboard, or buy a new one if this is a new found calling.

Some labels go overboard on a graphic, and some rely solely on one word. I AM VIBES achieves a snug middle ground, with THE HAMSA logo holding a big beat design that’s intricate but not indulgent. It’s a palm shaped amulet, popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa that’s commonly used in jewellery and wall hangings, depicting the open hand sign of protection and defence against the evil eye. Stamping itself on oversized jumpers, tee shirts, leotards, beenies and distressed shorts, the clothes are bound to become your favourite grunged up religion for style healing connotations. With top models and international bands already supporting Tom, most of the line sells out in a flash, and it’s not surprising why, as the clothes encourage a freedom of expression, something rare when so often fashion can stereotype.

After being enlightened to this, we ended our chat sharing horror stories of our experiences with household mice, a topic I might start trending at the end of each of my interviews!