Interview with The Lomas Brand Founder Sean Feeney
1.) WHERE DO YOU PULL INSPIRATION FROM FOR YOUR DESIGNS AND THE BRAND AS A WHOLE?
SF: Professionally, my inspiration when creating a piece comes from the challenge of finding a balance between - less being more and nothing not being enough- if that makes sense haha. That inspiration stems from growing up idealizing guys like professional skateboarder Jamie Thomas and world renown surfer Rob Machado, who actually lives locally in Solana Beach/Cardiff and I've had the pleasure of meeting. Their influence in the mid to late 1990's era of skateboarding and surfing apparel style I guess you could say mesmerized me. In those days I thought brands like Zero, Toy Machine, Vans were so cool and I watched iconic brands like Volcom and Hurley rise from obscurity with similar styles. If you go back and look at this era you'll find it was a time of simple, stylish looks that symbolized a lifestyle that represented skateboarding, surfing, a love for just living out your passion, whatever it may be. The style wasn't so much about flash but rather it took a simple logo and put it on a contrasting solid color garment and what you got was this clean and balanced, eye catching final product. Growing up immersed in this era, I think that look just inherently comes out in my collections' designs. As I got older my idol became Yvon Chouinard and the clothing brand he founded, Patagonia. Yvon made Patagonia reflective of himself on a stage for everyone to see. His passions, his cares, his standards for clothing, even his own personal story. He didn't care what the "latest trend" was, he made clothes that were for him and his lifestyle. He inspired me to do the same, which if you're a private person like I am, is a very difficult thing to have to do in a public arena. Patagonia inspired me to never use cheap material as well. They've taught me the importance of the material used and the lasting effect that reputation can have on your brand.
On a personal side, my inspiration comes from my dad. He's the hardest worker I know. He came from very little and left home when he was really young but determined his own future by relying on himself. I think I get my entrepreneurial spirit from him. He founded and owned a small Irish pub and steakhouse when we were young that him and my mom ran. Him and my mom raised my two older siblings and I with the understanding that 1:) Everyone of us work in the restaurant industry through high school and college and 2:) they would provide for us a loving home and a great education, but everything else was up to us. There would be no handouts. So when I started The Lomas Brand I looked to relying only on myself. I took my life savings I'd stored from years in corporate sales and self funded this venture. Everyday my inspiration when I wake up is knowing there is no safety net below to catch me if I fail, no one else's money on the line but my own to lose, and the success of this venture falls entirely on my shoulders. The best advice my dad has ever given me came from his days owning the restaurant: "Sean - A Miller Lite tastes the same anywhere you go, but its the way you treat people and the pride you take in your craft that makes them come back."
2.) TELL US ABOUT THE MATERIALS YOUR SOURCE:
SF: The reputation for quality and comfort of the items in my brand's collection is one of the things I'm most proud of to date. The material an item is made with is as critical, if not more critical, then the aesthetics of that certain piece. If you think about it, as a consumer, you only get to see the way you look in an article of clothing at most lets say 10% of the time whether that is through a mirror or in a picture. But you feel that item's comfort and fit 100% of the time while you wear it. And part of style is looking effortless and confident and that is directly derived from feeling comfortable in what you are wearing. That is why the months prior to opening for business I spent tirelessly researching, sampling, washing/drying, sewing different fabrics and blends of fabrics to determine which ones would be used in the collections. Its no coincidence that the biggest brands in the business like Patagonia follow this same formula.
3.) WHAT IS A QUIRKY OR UNIQUE TIDBIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
SF: Not a lot of people know this but The Lomas Brand is actually the second clothing brand I've started. The first one I started when I was 16 called Revival Clothing Company. It was just t-shirts and I sold them out of my backpack in high school. I had NO clue what I was doing but literally took out the yellow pages and found a beat up t-shirt printing place and somehow made a few t-shirts on a shoe string budget. My mom recently found one of the shirts in their attic and sent it to me. I now have it framed in my work studio to remind myself that I'm following a dream I set out to conquer almost 15 years ago.