Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin met as fellow fashion undergraduates at Sydney's University of Technology in 1998, but it wasn't until 2011, following lots of late night conversations centered around how runway shows should look that they launched their line, Tome.
'It was an unspoken agreement… we just knew that one day when we did it, it would be together,' says Lobo, who worked across the industry as a buyer, stylist, journalist and brand consultant after graduating, while Martin honed his design talents in the ateliers of Alberta Ferretti, Derek Lam and Jean Paul Gaultier. Plaudits were immediate for their 'clean cut essential dressing': only two years later, they were nominated as finalists for the 2013 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund.
White shirts, culottes and lace slip dresses have since become Tome signatures, all of which appeared in the Resort 2016 collection alongside crisp cotton shirt dresses, pleated skirts and summer-weight trench coats. Sharp-tongued American writer Dorothy Parker provided inspiration for the clothes, which took shape via neat Twenties duster coats and boyish V-neck knits in soft pink, tan and retro stripes.
'Primarily it was the wit and whimsy in her work that began the discussion. We pictured her, in layers of soft silk pyjama stripes and masculine cotton camel coats, typing away, mint julep and cigarettes nearby, banging out hilariously acerbic indictments on contemporary norms,' says Lobo. Talking more generally about their woman - fans include Dakota Johnson, Indré Rockefeller and Karlie Kloss - its almost as if Martin is referring directly to Parker when he observes, 'Women don't want or need to be dictated to.'
Martin then fills in the details for ideas that Lobo unearths. 'Ryan and I have always talked design, art, theatre, film, music… the stuff that inspires us. Our two different approaches to the same subject is where the conversation starts.'
Last year, the pair launched The White Shirt Project in association with Freedom For All, the foundation raising awareness to combat modern day human slavery. 'This is an ongoing mission that is an essential part of the Tome brand,' says Ramon, revealing that the next installment is due in December 2015. 'Watch this space.'