If you live in Austin (or you have tattoos), the name Thomas Hooper will probably sound very familiar. Working out of Rock of Ages on South Lamar, he’s a guy in high demand, with a long waiting list and a reputation as an extremely skilled artist. Although this is how a lot of people know him, Joshua first knew him as a family man. Dropping their kids off early at preschool, their two families connected and didn't lose touch even after time passed and their children went off to different schools. When asked what drew him to Thomas, Joshua says "He doesn't change faces or demeanor for anyone and always believes in or stands for what he does without judging other people. When you find someone with a personality and a strong base of who they are it's smart to be with them when you can - helps remind you of who you are and where you came from." This was a central reason behind naming a shoe after him - admiring his steadiness, talent and drive, it only made sense to.
It wasn't until after 5 years of knowing each other that Joshua sat down in his tattoo chair. Last year he had decided to get his old tattoos blacked out, but Thomas had a better idea. He started to work around them and draw up custom designs that built off of what Joshua had instead of just blacking them out completely. Thomas Hooper is well-known for his intricate and geometrically inspired designs, and after a few sessions he had created something that even Joshua's wife approved of. Spending more time with him just solidified the decision to name a style "the Hooper," and as Joshua says, "We need more people like Thomas."
In typical HELM fashion, we had Thomas answer the questions we like to ask everyone who has a HELM style named after them, including (of course) "what sign are you?"
How do you know Joshua?
Our kids went to preschool together and we just hit it off, later discovering that we had a lot of mutual friends.
What three words do you think he would use to describe you?
Not really sure - creative, hardworking and rarely on time.
Have you ever had anything named after you before?
Not really, I do have my own line of apparel that is under the Hooper name though, and I have worked in fashion before with a few brands. One of them was Helmut Lang - I did some textile design for their spring/summer collection 2013.
What is your favorite fashion staple/clothing item you own?
I have a 'thing' for wabash indigo polka dot shirts. I think my favorites are from KT and H in Japan, known as 'e-workers'
What is the most important thing you look for in clothing or footwear that you buy
Longevity of the product and who owns it. I'm fortunate to know or be friends with some of my favorite brands.
Has Joshua ever asked you what astrological sign you are?
No, all Joshua usually asks me is when he can next get tattooed. I play hard to get.
I'm a Leo.