Edvin Thompson, the creative genius behind the clothing label founded in 2016, Theophilio, is more than a fashion designer. Thompson uses his label to create a community celebrating his Jamaican heritage through his clothing.
The inspiration for his label was to represent often-forgotten stories about himself and others that look like him. He fuses nostalgia from his younger years in Jamaica with the progressive style represented in New York City. His mission is to root the label in a cultural identity that inspires people to dress in a way that makes them feel good.
Born in Jamaica, Thompson moved to America at age 9, where he lived in New Jersey and Atlanta. Thompson and some friends created a club his freshman year in high school dedicated to trying various fashion styles weekly. He experimented with different styles and textures, which piqued his interest in fashion. Soon after, he found the site Tumblr and discovered infinite fashion possibilities. It wasn’t long before Thompson started thinking about becoming a designer.
Fashion, Community, and Environment
Theophilus London, a Trinidadian-born musician, helped inspire the name for Thompson’s label. London has seen and spoken with Thompson about the collection, and they both bonded over the cultural beauty it has to offer. Thompson uses his brand as a way to bring his community together. It was at the Afropunk Festival in 2013 that he began to cultivate his vision for finding and fostering black communities.
Thompson draws inspiration from Jamaica and his childhood, especially in the colorways he uses. In the latest Theophilio spring collection, Edvin Thompson’s Jamaican roots shine in traditional colors from the Rastafarian flag exquisitely combined with New York-inspired silhouettes, including catsuits, among other body-skimming styles.
Thomspon aspires to use his brand to make space for black communities to share their own stories and visions that may otherwise lie stagnant, due to lack of resources and visibility. Thompson continues paving his way and serves as a pathway for aspiring designers in smaller communities to do the same.
Thompson’s goals for his fashion future are to look for more sustainable fashion solutions to combat the carbon footprint made by the fashion industry and to see Theophilio appear in fashion weeks around the world.
It is the vibrant colors, silhouettes, and textures found in Theophilio that set Thompson apart from his competition. Recently, Thompson won CFDA’s Emerging Designer of the Year Award for 2021.
Thompson’s philosophy: you should look good while facing your adversaries. He certainly has that in the bag!