We meet… Tom O’Dell
5th December 2017
Shopping’s just not the same without some truly original store windows to admire. We know this, you know this, and Tom O’Dell knows this. Tom is the artistic power behind this season’s window in our Soho store and a seasoned expert in the art of shop-keeping. We sat down with him to learn a little bit more about where his inspiration comes from.
How did you get into retail?
My first ever job was in a gentleman's outfitters in my hometown, aged 14. This is where my love affair with shop-keeping, menswear and design began.
I continued to work in small independent men's stores throughout my studies, moving on to work for a handful of respected menswear brands in London in my 20s, across marketing, strategy and design.
After years of learning the tricks of the trade and working for others, I decided it was time to follow my dream and open my own interiors and menswear store.
The store, called O’Dell’s, was tiny and situated in the heart of Shoreditch. Put simply, a tiny shop selling a carefully selected inventory of well made goods. After three and a half successful years, I decided to move on to pastures new and follow my other dream of working within the field of interior design and menswear styling.
Where do you find inspiration?
I have always had an interest in both interior design and menswear but didn’t see many shops doing both together, and where they were, most weren’t doing it well.
That’s when I decided London needed a new addition to its menswear offering. I take influence from trips to Scandinavia, vintage markets, album covers, old books and black and white photos.
Everything I have consumed has been stored away in my head ever since I collected my first day’s pay cheque for £25 all those years ago.
Describe your signature style.
To sum it up: timeless products, beautifully made and beautifully displayed.
What was the inspiration behind our store window?
I wanted the window display to have a nod to the history of the brand and therefore combined Ivy League styles with Mod themes within the photos.
At the same time, I wanted it to look like a traditional Christmas window from yesteryear. A simple but elegant window showing off lovely pairs of shoes. The greenery and logs give this traditional feel, also adding texture and warmth.
I, like many, have always had a relationship with the Penny Loafer and I wanted the images to show this. A couple enjoying Bass together!
How did you discover G.H. Bass & Co.?
Coming from Bedford, I’ve always had an interest in great shoes; both working in a menswear store from an early age and also being so close to England’s home of shoes, Northampton, fuelled my love for classic footwear.
I have always enjoyed dressing smartly and around the age of 17 I discovered Paul Weller and The Style Council. Great music and brilliant style hand in hand.
I would always try (and more-than-likely failed) to dress like Paul Weller. My favourite look was black loafers, white socks, slim jeans or trousers, light knee length mac and a silk scarf.
Do you have a go-to pair of G.H. Bass & Co. shoes?
My black Penny Loafers – a classic!
Like what you see? Follow Tom on Instagram.
You can see Tom’s stunning window display at G.H. Bass & Co., 35 Beak Street, London, W1F 9DP.