Illustrator and T-shirt designer Tom Taylor loves the Kardashians, adores Tom of Finland and was once recognised by a Drag Race: All Stars champion!
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally a Battersea boy. I grew up in Wandsworth, then moved to the suburbs of Surrey – Banstead, to be exact. Don’t pretend you’ve heard of it.
And where do you live now?
Currently in Morden with my boyfriend of three years. I’m pretty much the only pet we can keep.
What do you love about London and why?
My favourite thing about London is all the people who inspire me every day on my Tube journey to work.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
The first gay venue I ever went to was a small gay club in Kingston called Escape. It was a pretty poor excuse for a club, and the guys were worse.
Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?
I’m probably going to have to say G-A-Y. Judge me all you want! The music is always great and it’s a great place to take visitors and friends for the perfect London gay experience. Cheap drinks help too. A lot.
Which artists or designers have influenced you the most?
When it comes to artists I’d have to say Tom of Finland for his overtly sexualised images, with no apology! As for designers, anyone who doesn’t give a fuck about people’s opinions, so Jeremy Scott for sure. I also adore Tom Ford, but can’t really afford anything by him… yet.
Who, real or fictional, would you like to draw but haven’t yet?
I’ve never really drawn myself. I get asked a lot if I’d consider a self portrait and I just couldn’t do it.
What was the last theatre show you saw, and what did you think of it?
I’m not really big on theatre but the last show I saw was The Wind in the Willows with my very talented friend Evan James. He’s my Judy for sure, I’d go and see anything with him in it.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I know I share this with a lot of you out there, the Kardashians! If you say you’ve never taken an interest in at least one of them, I could never trust you.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
Erm, well it’s really random and it was a long time ago, but when I was 15 I lost my mobile phone a week before my birthday, and even before my parents had a chance to replace it my best friend Rachel replaced it as a birthday surprise! We were like 15, how the hell did she manage to buy me a phone?! I mean, come on…
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
The highlight of my career so far would have to be either Jean-Paul Gaultier buying my T-shirts from me or Alaska from Drag Race approaching me in a hotel bar and asking if I was Tom Taylor Illustrated, as she followed me on social media.
If you could go back in time, which year would you choose and why?
The 70s for sure, all the free love, the casual drug use and I’ve always wanted long hair.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
I have to say any house party I’ve ever been to! People don’t have house parties anymore! People are so concerned with outdoing each others birthdays and events that no one just invites people over to party! I miss throwing up in a stranger’s toilet and falling asleep in someone’s parents’ bed.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice was given to me a year ago when I started stocking at Prowler. I wasn’t sure if the T-shirts were going to be as successful as they were and a colleague told me “Believe in your slay.” And as flippant as that sounds, it’s stuck with me.
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
On a personal level, Touko Valio Laaksonen (Tom of Finland). Learning more about him with the release of the film and knowing his struggle with his personal life and being accepted for his work was a real eye opener.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?
I was really invested in the Kim/Katy/Nicki/Kanye/Taylor beef this year. I love a celeb feud, the pettier the better for me.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die?
The pyramids in Egypt, but only if I can dress as Lara Croft and run around them for the day.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
If there was one thing I wished I’d learnt earlier in my life, it would definitely be to not be so consumed with being liked or people’s perception of me. Life is a lot more liberating when you don’t give a fuck!