A New Wave of Jumpsuits
Editor: Ashanti Brown
Meet the founder of Tom Foolery, Shannon Ashford (in the middle).
Most women will agree that a jumpsuit is one of those staple pieces that belong in every closet. They are flattering on all body shapes, versatile and easy to wear. Well, they’re easy to wear until it’s time to go to the little girl’s room. The task of going to the bathroom in a jumpsuit is an awkward experience that many women share. It requires you having to double check the bathroom lock just to make sure no one accidentally walks in on you fully exposed! Needless to say, it can be a little uncomfortable.
Shannon Ashford has decided to put an end to the madness. Her unique clothing brand Tom Foolery designs jumpsuits with an open, overlapping seam with a drop down seat. Ashford not only wanted to make it easier for ladies to use the bathroom, but wanted to create a classy garment that offered mobility and beauty for the everyday girl. When Ashford first started she was sewing all the products herself. Currently, she works with a manufacturing company called Indie Source in Los Angeles. Tom Foolery is environmentally conscious when it comes to how their clothes are produced. All the fabric is made from plastic bottles that were collected in Haiti. Their partners at Thread International develop environmentally sustainable fabrics while using the production process to create jobs and end poverty in developing countries. When interviewed by VoyageLA, Ashford had stated that “every jumpsuit is made locally in Los Angeles under fair conditions. Producing locally cuts down carbon emissions by eliminating international transport.” Tom Foolery as a brand is one that is socially responsible and ethically sound.
As if the brand couldn’t get any more perfect, Ashford worked with Elimu, a non-profit based in Malindi, Kenya that is passionate about giving women opportunities to start their own businesses. Elimu offers sewing classes to graduates and gives them the tools they need to become independent and successful. Ashford worked with many of the women who graduated from the sewing college to help create a collection that was shown during Paris Fashion Week! Many of the environmental issues like bottles and littering that Tom Foolery wishes to solve are prevalent issues that Malindi faces. With the help of the locals in Kenya, Ashford was able to complete an 8-piece collection that took trash and turned it into fashion. Just reading about it makes you feel like you are there, hearing the laughter and conversations Ashford shared with these incredible ladies.
The passion they had for sewing reminded her of herself when she first started making clothes. It is refreshing to see this kind of dedication in a body of work that inspired so many people on the other side of the world. For the women Ashford employed, the art of sewing was seen as a lifeline not just a way to pass time. The careful attention to detail showed in the clothes that appeared at Fashion Week. It is something to be admired when you can see the joy and technique that goes into making the outfits. The bond Ashford shared with the sewing students of Malindi was present in every piece. Although, showcasing a collection at Paris Fashion Week is the ultimate goal for any designer, there is so much more to look forward to when it comes to Ashford and her jumpsuits. The hope for this amazing brand is to have sewing shops in Kenya and LA! Whatever the plan is, we won’t be seeing the last of what Tom Foolery has to offer!
For more information, please visit tomfoolery.la to check out more of these designs.