An empty classroom can feel like a jarring setting to return to. No one wants to relive the anxiety of not knowing any classmates or showing up unprepared for a big test. But Tommy Bogo made the high school experience something to celebrate at New York Fashion Week last month. With his spring/summer 2023 collection, “For the Truant & the Fluent,” the Oakland-raised fashion and industrial designer returned to the beginnings of TOMBOGO.
“It kind of felt like a senior year moment,” Bogo says. “That, to me, was really special. It made me think about where I started and where I’m at now.”
The show opened with playful pieces that elevated traditional casualwear, like the bungee-cord skirt modeled by singer Teezo Touchdown. Vallejo producer Hokage Simon walked down the runway — a clearing between rows of desks — with a windmill-shaped leather backpack. Finally, the collection tied back to a piece of clothing integral to adolescence for Bay Area millennials: the oversized Girbaud jeans of the hyphy era, which Bogo reimagined as Girbogos worn by rapper Guap, a.k.a. Guapdad 4000.
TOMBOGO was officially founded in 2020, but Bogo got his start selling screen-printed T-shirts out of his locker at Oakland Technical High School. Today, his products can be seen on global superstars like J Balvin, who lent his name to TOMBOGO’s safety-goggle shades with LED flashlights. Bogo’s futuristic, workwear-inspired pieces often teeter on the edge of practical and illogically elaborate, and signal a confident, comfy cool. Big brands like Saucony and Dr. Martens have tapped him to put new spins on their classic designs. And although Bogo isn’t a household name quite yet, the 28-year-old has become a trendsetter with a growing global impact.