With a spin of the globe, places visited far and wide and a passion for adventure, comes TFPR & Co a brand for whom the appeal of internationality is innate. Originating in New Zealand, now living in Australia and both with considerable exposure to foreign locales thanks to personal sporting pursuits, Rose and Ryan Roselli embarked on the love affair of a lifetime not only with each other but also with fashion.
While the places they have been impacted their style directive, it was a certain face that left the biggest impression on the couple and ultimately their brand. The birth of their son, Theodor Fraser Paul Roselli in 2014 set the entrepreneurial wheels truly turning, albeit unintentionally. “We have both loved fashion for a long time, and when we fell pregnant with Theodor we were excited by the prospect of being able to dress the baby in stylish clothes,” says Ryan. “When we decided to get him a snapback one day, the struggle we found was that in baby sizes, we couldn’t find anything that wasn’t intentionally designed for kids.”
Uninspired by the stereotypical and overtly childish items on the mainstream fashion market, the pair were on the lookout for something different. “A chance conversation with a work colleague who had just been to the Canton Trade Fair led to us looking for a supplier to make us some hats,” says Ryan, though he admits that the “matchy matchy” appeal that has grown with the success of their brand was a USP factor they stumbled on accidentally. “We were both jealous of Theo getting a new hat, so designed a couple more in adult sizing so we could have one too. We never meant the whole thing to turn into a small business, but once the hats arrived, especially with the matching adult hats, we saw a hole in the market that we could explore, and jumped at the opportunity to start something new.”
Four hats comprised the debut range for TFPR & Co, boasting a unisex appeal with a desire to challenge modern-day stereotypes. Citing feedback at markets from customers afraid to mix pink with boys, Rose and Ryan actively eschew such limitations in their design choices. “We love bright pink as a statement colour, we think it adds a lot of attitude to any design. We have never been afraid to put pink on Theo.” Adding that historically pink was for boys and blue for girls, it is this attitude and similarly fresh, innovative and bold ethos towards fashion that sets them apart from the crowd.
The exotic influences of cities across Europe, South America and Asia left an indelible mark on the couple’s sartorial consciousness which saw them create and launch their label TFPR & Co in 2015, which has quickly become the uniquely stylish destination for all things hat. Exposed to the cultural and fashion trends of the places they visited, the pair found these experiences filtering through to the designs they created. “It was the basis of these trips that we took our inspiration from in the naming of our hat styles,” says Ryan, “and each geometric print we have released, initially anyway, was named after a country we had both visited.”
“The designs are often two directional. We either think “oh, we’d love to do a certain colour hat” which would form the crown, and we then take inspiration from a city to design the brim, or we find ourselves chatting about how much we loved this place, or that place and mock up a design. It often involves looking through our photos or a quick Google search, finding the quintessential photo of the memory we have, and using that as a starting point. We go through much iteration to find the right balance in colours, and we always have colour swatches of crown fabrics in our bag to refer back to,” says Ryan.
Welcoming a daughter into the Roselli fold in early December and thus seeing out 2016 on a definite high, Ryan and Rose looked yet again to global geography for inspiration in naming their family’s newest addition. Specifically, The Netherlands, a region where TFPR & Co is quickly becoming a household name it made sense to draw from it the name for their little girl. “Before we had Theodor, we had a name sorted for a boy and a girl, and we have finally had the chance to use that name with our newest arrival, Holland. It was actually after Willa Holland, and we love that it is different without being weird. So for that reason, I think there is probably a Dutch inspired hat that would need to be designed. Obviously visiting the country would be ideal, but for release 1.0, we are going to need to rely on the internet unfortunately,” says Ryan.
Set on making new memories with little Holland, it is exactly that desire to create a sentimental footprint in life which drives the couple in their pursuit and passion for travel. Drawing on their memories of places like London, Santorini, Singapore and New York is what led the design duo to create their collection in the first place, “Our experiences previously weren’t had in the knowledge of the design process of hats,” asserts Ryan. “For this reason, we probably experience places differently now and not just because we have two children in tow. Previously we have enjoyed a place for what it is, now subconsciously we would be searching high and low for the perfect inspiration. Whatever the way, memories are the best way to take something away from a place.”
As memories are compressed and preserved into squares and tweets and carefully constructed posts, I would be remiss to exclude the significance of social media in manifesting the success of modern day businesses, particularly those in the fashion industry. “Social media has become the new medium for viewing fashion,” agrees Ryan. “Magazines like Vogue still have their place, but nowadays, and especially in support of the obsession with right now, social media gives customers, fashionistas, and socialites the opportunity to get a 5x5cm glimpse into the current trends as well as to curate their own gallery.” Creating a culture of accessible fashion, Ryan and Rose have embraced the bridge that social media provides between “the catwalk and the couch” as the immediacy and availability of fashion “minimises the divide between models, influencers and customers.” What empowers the Rosellis is that influential platform social media allows in serving up their designs direct to their target audience. “You don’t need to be the best designer or the biggest fashion house; your work can still be seen by your customers. It also takes your fashion to the world,” says Ryan. “It only takes a minute for someone to jump onto Instagram, and you are dialled in to designers and brands from around the world.”
Of his and Rose’s own investment in Instagram and its peer channels, in furthering their brand, Ryan admits, “We went into it all completely blind not knowing a thing about business marketing, and have self-taught/assumed along the way.” Treating their brand in the truest business sense and getting to know their customer down to a tee are the key values that have earned TFPR & Co over 10.5 thousand Instagram followers. Acknowledging the fashion conscious mothers and the trend for #twinning so rife across social media accounts, not only between friends and siblings but also parents and their offspring, Ryan and Rose channel much of their creative energy into catering to a market that demands cool kid accessories while also appealing to female fashion consciousness. “Men are much easier to design for,” says Ryan, “as I think inside we all have a bit of boy that wants to break out, and the divide between boy’s and men’s fashion is a lot smaller.”
Himself growing up on Osh Kosh, while a young Rose opted for autonomy as the greatest accessory to her own personal style, Ryan’s man-drobe (read: adult wardrobe) comprises a capsule of black tee, jeans and boots in a nod to understated style with an air of power, perfect for his businessman mentality. So which of their brand’s capsule collection features most in the pair’s current daily styling? “Probably the DD which is our double denim,” says Ryan. “Of our print hats, the London is classic, versatile and goes with my always black attire, and I’ll always love the Parrot. The pops of colour in that is an absolute winner.” Rose opts for The Luxe, “It is a classic piece, the materials are exquisite, and the softness of the leather allows me to easily bend the brim,” she says.
Versatile style is undoubtedly a trademark of TFPR & Co with the designs lending themselves to complement anyone’s personal style. On that note, I had to ask if any celebrity names were on Rose and Ryan’s design bucket list. “Someone like Barack Obama would be pretty great,” says Ryan. “He is such an influence to so many people and the stature he and his family carry themselves with is inspirational. Plus he’d rock our snapbacks like there’s no tomorrow. We’d look to draw inspiration from Hawaii where he was born and naturally, utilise red, white and blue.” President Obama immortalised in a TFPR & Co design sounds pretty awesome to me, particularly in light of his impending White House replacement. “Another would be Cara Delevigne,” adds Ryan. “She has such an eclectic style and can pull anything off so to work with her to design something personal would be great.”
From individuals that inspire to fellow brands, Ryan confesses to having a huge style crush on Nor-Folk, which he ascribes to being an organic entity that encapsulates not only a collection of products but more so a way of life. “We absolutely love Nor-Folk where they have built so much more than just a brand. The lifestyle they promote is very minimal, and we love the Scandinavian influence in their pieces and everyday style. This aligns with our long term goals, and a collaboration would be an incredible experience affording us the opportunity to work with someone so respected.”
Collaboration is something the Rosellis have entered into with both success and lessons learnt along the way. “We had a failed collaboration,” Ryan recalls, “we produced a full range of samples with someone who at the last minute pulled out stating they weren’t good enough, yet went straight to our supplier asking them to produce the same hats for them.” However he puts a philosophical slant on the experience, saying “It hurts to know that our time, money and effort to produce what we thought was the right product was so blatantly taken and reproduced, but I guess they do say imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
From the negatives to the moments that make it all worthwhile, seeing their designs out in the public makes the bad fade to oblivion and the hours of work all the more meaningful. Ryan notes looking up one morning on the train en route to work and seeing their Wild Child snapback atop the head of a guy toting a suitcase and surfboard. “To see someone in public for the first time wearing our product was an incredibly warming experience, and to know that people wake up in the morning and make the decision to wear something that we created from scratch makes the late nights and all the stress worth it.”
So as 2017 gets underway, what can we expect from a brand whose approach to fashion is simply “be different”? As the design process for their 2017/2018 release continues at TFPR & Co HQ, Ryan promises more of the label’s signature geometric prints, “they set us apart from the crowd” but hints at stylistic changes ahead, pun intended. From strategic shifts and the possibility of extending their reach to the US and Europe to a presence at international trade shows; the new year looks set to hold great potential for TFPR & Co. So keep those snapbacks on people, because the best is yet to come…