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An example of the Tomollo range, the work of Christine Omollo and Tom Byrne.

Clare architect goes from building design to clothes design with African partner

A COUNTY Clare architect, currently working in the Middle East, has joined forces with an African fashion designer, to launch a new brand of clothing.

Tom Byrne from Kilkee has teamed up with Christine Omollo, a talented and experienced Kenyan designer and both have lent their name to the new brand – TOMOLLO Fashions Limited.

Tom, originally from Dublin, moved to Clare when his quadruplets were babies.

A former Kilkee Town Commissioner, he already had very strong Clare connections and spent his summers in Kilkee growing up. Tom’s mother Mary Lillis from Kilkee, was born in Harlem, New York in 1928.

Tom had his own architectural business until 2009 before moving in 2012 to the Middle East, where he is now managing multi-billion euro development projects.

Tom admired Christine’s fashions online and they corresponded and planned the business over two years, resulting in the formation of TOMOLLO.

It wasn’t until the annual St. Patrick’s Day Ball in Bahrain this year that they finally met when they co-sponsored the event.

Tom has been living and working as an architect in the Middle East for the last ten years on many projects as Saudi Arabia heads towards its 2030 Vision using its investment power to create a more diverse and sustainable economy and its strategic location to build its role as an integral driver of international trade and to connect three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe.

Living there, Tom has been heavily influenced by Middle Eastern Fashion and his many trips to East Africa over the last five years.

This coupled with the awareness of Africa through the Black Lives Matter movement inspired him to expand his design and project-management capabilities.

TOMOLLO’s range varies greatly from ready-to-wear funky clothing, uniquely and meticulously tailored from African and Middle Eastern fabrics, to custom-made bridal and party-wear.

The range also includes made-to-measure haute couture, casuals and a range of accessories, hand-crafted in Kenya using environmentally-sustainable sources with local skills as the bedrock of TOMOLLO’s ethos.

Each garment’s name varies from tribal villages in East Africa to townlands and towns in County Clare. Its modern designs and quality fabrics take advantage of African fashion global appreciation which is set to grow exponentially.

Already TOMOLLO has 30 loyal clients as its base, from all ages, with a view to expanding to a much wider and appreciative customer group.

All its production is currently Kenya-based with dedicated, hardworking and talented operatives and the mission is to spread the pride of quality, funky and fashionable items made in Kenya and sold globally.

The Irish Embassy in Nairobi and the Business Ireland Kenya have been of huge encouragement and assistance to the fledgling business.

They are well aware of the very competitive market but they firmly believe that there is a niche for their stunning designs with the African Continent set to have a huge bearing on the fashion industry worldwide.

Quality is not sacrificed for quantity and TOMOLLO’s meticulous attention to detail is second to none. As a result, TOMOLLO’s prices reflect such quality and far outweigh the benefits of the ‘fast-food’ type mentality of inferior goods which are all-pervasive in the fashion industry.

Both Christine and Tom wish to bring it from its now embryonic state, to being a brand leader in terms of men’s and women’s Fashions, not alone in Kenya and Ireland but elsewhere in the Middle East, Europe and further afield in the USA in time. Currently it has outlets in Nairobi, Dublin and online.

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