Talking about design fails and slowing down with our Berlin stockist - Freiraum

"A natural rawness that can only come from cold but cosy Nordic beach days, mixes with the amiability of relatable family characters and manifests in an ethical swimsuit and underwear collection." Foreword and interview by Nele Tüch from Freiraum.

Even though we’re not placed in Scandinavia, the tom àdam world transfers us into a Lindgren-like universe: A natural rawness that can only come from cold but cosy Nordic beach days, mixes with the amiability of relatable family characters and manifests in an ethical swim- and underwear-collection. What feels like a small knitwear-brand made by Grandma and sold from her very own porch, is the Latvian label created by Tom Adam Vitolins and his father. Out of his own frustration, the Berlin-based graphic designer founded his eponymous brand by producing minimalist swim-shorts and boxer briefs for responsible and honest men. Up until tom àdam showed up on the European undergarment map, most swimwear products flaunted with big names and logos. The founder wanted to break this pattern by not using any: The result is monochrome swim- and underwear inspired by the tailored pants an Italian would have worn in the 20s. Casual but chic and timeless – aesthetics mixed with ethics. The family business is based on their love towards each other, towards nature and their commitment to creating a conscious and sustainable brand. The brand is transparent as the water you swim in with your ocean-cleaning-swim-shorts made from recycled plastic. It is fair, natural, organic, recycled, recyclable, traceable, certified, water-saving, local and personal. The small factory, taking care of the tom àdam production, is based in Latvia and comes with a close personal relationship towards the owner – this is what makes the label so appealing in the first place. It is relatability and identification. tom àdam is not just another swimwear brand showing unattainable tanned supermodel-bodies under palm trees on Tel Aviv’s Gordon Beach, it is about the friendship of a man to his father – about a genuineness that can only be found in real relationships and real spaces. This is why the models of the campaign are Tom Adam Vitolins himself, as well as his father and, as of late, his sister and grandmother who are presenting the new hand-knitted Alpaka-sweaters and unisex pyjamas. We find the family in the garden re-planting some flowers, on the beach playing a round of chess, in the woods reading a book or in a park playing a round of table-tennis.tom àdam goes back to the basics and shows us how the little things in life can turn into the big ones – a good book, a walk in nature, a run on the beach, family and friendship. The Bullerby’s interpretation of a swimwear brand does not need 36 degrees, blue sky, fancy logos or extravagant details. 

Freiraum: What is different about tom àdam? 

Tom Adam Vitolins: My goal has always been to create things that resonate with myself. All the garments crafted are something that I would want in my own wardrobe. I think you have to make a decision between having a brand as an extension of yourself and designing for yourself or separating those things and designing with a certain distance. In music, David Bowie is a great example for that: He would create different alter-egos and this would allow him to change his personalities very rapidly. Another example is the discreetness revolving around Martin Margiela. The beauty in that is that there are no restrictions in what the brand has to be like. 

As it was very natural to have tom àdam as an extension of myself, the usual behind the scenes, becomes the forefront of the brand – from myself and dad hanging out together to going for a walk with Benjamin (the cool doggo in the photos). What makes it different is maintaining this personal and honest string throughout all aspects of tom àdam.