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Stories

(15): Tom Wood

A jewellery focused lifestyle brand are making Norwegian fashion a promising affair.

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Edited by Robin Douglas Westling Written by Jimmy Guo

Oslo, Norway — Tom Wood is the alter ego of Mona Jensen who quit her successful career in marketing to pursue her dream of designing and running her own brand together with her husband Morten Isachsen. Embracing functional, simple and timeless designs with great attention to detail and materials, their jewellery line quickly became one of the rare lifestyle brands to successfully emerge from Norway. In 2017, they’ve just expanded their range to include both men’s and womenswear which, just like their jewellery, focuses on great materials and craftsmanship.

Mona, why did you decide to start Tom Wood?

— After working in the marketing and branding industry for 15 years, I needed a change. I wanted to test my own theories on how to build a brand. It just happened to be in fashion and after doing quite heavy marketing analysis I launched a jewellery collection first season. Tom Wood is a contemporary brand, trying to move as the market moves. By listening to the market, we have also changed our brand from the very beginning. We started out with jewellery, but the plan was always to become a full-range brand. The name, Tom Wood is my alter ego. In the beginning, it was nice to hide behind a strong imagined man and to build the brand around a character that was not myself.

What is it about jewellery specifically that interests you?

— To me, jewellery is something personal that can update any outfit. I to work in silver because it shapes with its softness. After a while of wear and tear, you can really tell how much a person has worn a ring. It becomes even more personal with small scratches and bulks, defining the history of the piece.

Your first success was a signet ring. What is it about this shape that interests you?

— The first collection was three shapes of the classic signet ring, inspired by vintage pieces and my own wedding ring. That ring was the first piece of jewellery I ever cared about — a vintage silver signet ring with our wedding date engraved on the top. I like the weight of a signet ring and the bold feeling. I also like the history of it, when kings used their rings to seal official documents with their family crest.

Why did you decide to create clothing?

— To be a part of the fashion industry and not just be a jewellery brand, it was important to start several categories. Due to the instant success of the jewellery, we had to launch the ready-to-wear earlier than planned. We didn’t want to be stuck as a jewellery brand. It is kind of the opposite way to start with accessories and then do clothing. But the clothing industry is so overcrowded it seemed impossible to be able to get any attention.

Morten, who is the typical Tom Wood client?

— It’s probably a mix of all the people at work and all the people we know, blended into one customer. Style is so fragmented these days, and it makes it hard to pinpoint a specific profile. In the end, it’s a lot about gut feeling and what you want to buy and wear yourself. If your team don’t believe in a style, it’s usually a very good reason to scrap it.

What are your inspirations when you create?

— First of all, my own perception of the world — with all of its noise and beauty. Then all my great colleagues at the office with their brilliant minds. While ideas can pop up from absolutely anywhere, nothing beats a visit to Tokyo for inspiration.

Mona, what do you think of the Norwegian fashion scene’s development?

— As a country, we definitely have to step up the game, but that takes time. Without a long fashion history, we need to find our own path, learning by doing. Norwegian fashion is a pretty new category and we are slowly finding our way out of Norway and into the international market. I believe the norm-core trend and a general tendency towards investing in high-quality garments, could help Norwegian fashion even more.