LOVE BRAND & Co. is the British luxury men’s swimwear brand committed to saving elephants. Founded by Oliver Tomalin in 2010, the brand has been distilling a feel-good summer lifestyle with a charitable purpose at its heart. Oliver marries his passion for summer lifestyle together with his desire for a brand with greater purpose to help protect the natural world. Motivated by the plight of elephants, Oliver dedicated the brand to helping save them and since day one the brand has donated a percentage of their revenue - not profits - to elephant conservation charities. The brand centres around good times on holiday, family, sustainability and conservation, coining its concept ‘Trunks for Trunks’ - swimming trunks to save elephants!
THE FULL STORY
Having trained in architecture, Oliver Tomalin (Founder of LOVE BRAND & Co.) decided to swap designing buildings for board shorts! With a love of the summer lifestyle and seeing men's swimwear as an exciting space, Oliver was set on creating a men's swimwear brand with a loving ethos. But what greater purpose could it serve?
Oliver believes everything in nature, as in life, is connected. Elephants have always been a special part of his life. Adventures in Africa as a child is where it all began and then as an adult when Oliver was deciding on the philanthropic direction for his eco-beachwear dream 20 years later, fatedly elephants were on the streets where he lived in London. Not real of course but an exhibition of painted elephant sculptures raising awareness for Asian elephant conservation. The fact that Asian elephants could be extinct in Oliver's lifetime struck a deep nerve, as Oliver has always been in awe of these majestic, intelligent and beautiful animals. Since entering the world of elephant conservation, Oliver's love and thinking has grown. Oliver believes elephants hold the key to the changes of attitude which are required for a healthier planet in the future. Oliver explains:
"Elephants are our largest land mammal; they demand a huge amount of wild space to survive. We have to decide whether we are going to share our planet with wildlife or not. Elephants are immortalised in fiction and widely scientifically studied, wrapped up in a history of wildlife crime, tourism crime, geo-political wars and ancient and modern culture. They are fascinating creatures and ask from us all the right questions. Elephants are on the front line of our planet’s battle of space and resource, endlessly waged between man and nature."
On seeing the Elephant Parade in 2010, Oliver had a eureka moment, his swimming trunks could save elephants and it clicked 'Trunks for Trunks'. The mission and loving ethos was set and LOVE BRAND & Co. was born. Immediately after seeing the elephant sculptures in London, Oliver went to see the charity benefiting from the exhibition, Elephant Family. He had a meeting with the late founder Mark Shand. Mark was in full support of Oliver's idea of swimming trunks to help wild elephants. With a nod of approval from the charity, Oliver designed the vision and values for his brand.
There is also another love story here. At the same time as developing the brand, Oliver met his wife Rose. Even designing the brand's logo - of two elephants forming a heart - on a napkin during their first date together. Soon after that Oliver asked Rose if she would like to come to India with him for 3 weeks. It was quite a bold move after only knowing each other for a month. The purpose of the trip was to meet an elephant called Tara. The elephant from Mark Shand’s book - Travels On My Elephant - where Mark rescues and rides Tara across India to a safe sanctuary. To Oliver's surprise and delight Rose said yes. And off they went to the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, right in the middle of India, to find Tara at Kipling Camp. It was a make or break trip for the couple, with frogs and spiders in their sheets and eating delicious curries with their hands and sharing a small shed-like room in the jungle with no bathroom door. But it was magical as they watched Tara the elephant graze at dawn and washed her feet and toenails in the lake. Tara, even as a domestic elephant, continues to inspire Oliver and Rose and their mission to help wild elephants each day. Every day since meeting Tara, Oliver and Rose have been building the brand together and are now married with two children.
Oliver has come to believe that the greatest luxury is having the ability and resources to save the planet we have taken so much from. As a brand that is motivated and inspired daily by travel, adventure and nature, it would be wrong for us not to give back to it. Furthermore, the luxury industry has a huge platform from which to speak to a very engaged audience, so we have a responsibility to use it and educate, inform and inspire. Oliver thinks that from a financial position, as a company or as an individual, if one is in a position to help the planet, you must.
LOVE BRAND extends the same loving ethos throughout its business, including its approaches to manufacturing, processes and design. Oliver designs all aspects of the brand and has built a reputation for a tasteful, tropical, timeless and understated style. His architectural experience comes to the fore, with his store design of upcycled scaffold boards and driftwood, combined with unpolished brass elements and rustic woven furniture. His print design is subtle with elegant geometric patterns of charming hand-drawn motifs with purposeful and engaging narratives.
“Nice Shorts, good karma” - Vanity Fair
“Charity genius” - Beach Tomato