Edvin Thompson’s latest collection celebrates cultures while simultaneously cultivating a new legion of admirers.
As creative director of Theophilio, Edvin Thompson has launched an impressive clothing brand for men and women that celebrates the intricacies of his cultural identities and ideology to design eco-conscious apparel doubling as a wearable biography. While upcycling fabrics has become a trend that ebbs and flows in some collections, at Theophilio, the concept is realized consistently with clothing that celebrates his Jamaican heritage as well as the southern and east coast of America that shaped his singular style.
Under the Theophilia label, Blackness is front and center, progressive, unapologetic, and decidedly sexy – a label that implores wearers to look and feel good as a personal mission statement.
Born in Jamaica, Thompson relocated to America at 9 years old, living in Atlanta and New Jersey. While still in high school, his love for design blossomed as Thompson experimented with various styles that piqued his interest and informed his fashion possibilities. Buoyed by these deep dives into fashion, it was not long before he made the decision to become a designer as a career and expand his repertoire.
The Inspiration Behind Theophilio
Inspired by the Trinidadian-born musician Theophilus London, Theophilio is more than just a fashion label – it first began as part of Thompson’s vision to incorporate his vision for fostering Black communities and celebrating the beauty present in various cultures. Beginning in 2013 at the Afropunk Festival, he initiated the process of cultivating his upbringing and personal history into his designs, all while simultaneously dismantling barriers and perceptions hovering across sexuality, racism, and sexism. With a clear perspective with each collection, Thompson’s intent has always been to ignite conversations and create safe spaces for the historically underserved and overlooked to thrive and flourish.
Theophilio’s Ongoing Contributions to Jamaican Heritage
Through Theophilio, Thompson’s pride and joy have been breaking down the stereotypes associated with Jamaican culture in the mainstream. Moving beyond Bob Marley, reggae music, and the omnipresent hues of yellow, green, and black, Theophilio goes beyond the expected by delivering on the promise to promote the vast beauty and hidden treasures that permeate throughout the island. By dismissing multi-dimensional culture through singular designs, Thompson utilizes an approach that fosters a more integrated community across the diaspora and a recalibration of body acceptance.
It is through the celebration of diversity that Theophilio truly shines as it proudly presents the traditional colors of the Jamaican flag while injecting New York-centered inspiration into the final designs as well. Fans of the brand have been deluged with a coterie of styles that merges the best of all worlds to leave an indelible design imprint.
‘Homecoming’ Encompasses Cultural Celebration And Recognition
Home is where the heart is, and with his NYFW22 collection, ‘Homecoming’, Theophilio serves an impressive wink and nod to all the various locales and cultures that have inspired his latest presentation. From Kingston, Jamaica to Atlanta, New Jersey to New York, Thompson dove deep into his personal history to take the best and most daring of these extraordinary cities to create a wearable biography that is inviting, enticing, and without question, sexy.
Enter A ‘T.P.’ State Of Mind
Spectators for the latest collection included Kollin Carter (Cardi B’s stylist), handbag designer to the stars Brandon Blackwood, and others.
What did they witness?
Precious plumage, fitted crop tops emblazoned with a spin on the iconic NY slogan, a la ‘I Love TP’, a fresh take and an instant classic. Pressing on with a decidedly upscale urban approach, Theophilio served up leather biker pants and cream jackets paired with glittery tees and accessories that demanded to be noticed.
Theophilio did not shy away from vibrant colors and textures to showcase physiques, no matter what size they come in, and throughout ‘Homecoming’, models of all sizes and shapes sauntered down the runway in bold designs that gave silhouettes normally reduced to the sidelines their time to shine.
Cultural history reigned supreme throughout the presentation that featured models in classic pantsuits paired with revealing bikinis, color-blocked pants with statement graphic tees offering a singular take on the ‘I Love NY’ theme – ‘I Love TP’ is set to be the new slogan permeating through concrete jungles in the seasons to come!
Sexy fabrics came out to play this season, with snakeskin glittering and shimmering down the runway paired with bold tops, gilded clasps, and daring headdresses that made the entirety of the spectacle impossible to ignore. In line with Carnival, Theophilio showcased the grandeur of the legendary celebration with signature Jamaican colors that were paired with accessories made in collaboration with Christabana – the earrings, belts, necklaces, and totes added mega-wattage to a show that was already sparkling and brimming with excitement.
Versatility was the name of the game, and Caribbean pride was in full effect and on display that paid respect to a multitude of influences in a sexy, slow-burn of a presentation. These attributes and more have endeared Thompson to celebrities like Keke Palmer and Summer Walker, with his designs featured in international editorial shoots.
Honoring his ancestors from start to finish for the latest collection, Theophilio pulsated on with a buoyance of energy and in-your-face sexuality that blurred the lines between menswear and womenswear by design, on purpose, and on point!
Fashionable eco-conscious clothes that play by their own rules and forge their own lane is what the Theophilio philosophy of glam is all about, and with ‘Homecoming’, Thompson has proven that designs can deviate from the norms and still resonate across the spectrum. Maintaining a healthy balance of sex appeal, cultural heritage, and definitive style, Theophilio defies perceptions and presents fashion to new environments through a unique perspective that is ultimately fresh, innovative, and in-step with progressive fashion. As an award-winning emerging designer to watch and on the rise, Thompson has taken his mantra to heart and presented it unfettered to the masses:
“You should look good while facing your adversaries.”