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timo-weiland
Image Courtesy of Timo Weiland
Interview

Timo Weiland, Alan Eckstein, and Donna Kang

10.24.17

Timo Weiland is a household name at this point in the industry. But, their scope of work and aesthetic has quite changed since we last spoke with them in 2011 right before joining the CFDA Fashion Incubator program in 2012. The brand is well known for their eclectic collections inspired by music and art, and of course living in New York City. However, with the changing tides of retail, contemporary brands have had to adapt- and they have done this in various ways: narrowed their focus, introduced diffusion lines, dropped their price point or raised their price point, among others. Timo Weiland has transitioned to a direct-to-consumer brand with a strong emphasis on collaborations and launched a creative agency. Their most recent collaboration has been as style directors with InterContinental Hotel Group’s Crowne Plaza.

Interview

How has the Timo Weiland brand changed since we last caught up in 2011?

Timo: As a brand, Timo Weiland has transitioned into a direct e-commerce brand and creative agency. We have been focusing on what works best for our business, which has been exciting!

Alan: It’s been an interesting and enlightening journey. We have shifted our business to focusing more on collaborations and special projects as we can wear many hats. We have some really fun projects in the works which have us in uncharted industries for us.

Can you describe how your experience in the CFDA Fashion Incubator program affected your growth as a brand?

Timo: It was the very best business and brand development platform that we could have ever had. The mentorship has made all the difference in our collective and individual career trajectories.

Alan: It’s total support that comes with a network of talent that is integral to thrive in this industry. I reference the incubator all the time because most of the programs were logic that we learned then and there. So we’re big fans of that experience and the CFDA in general.

How did your collaboration with Crowne Plaza come about?

Donna: We were approached by Al Silvestri, who runs Coffee Labs. He and his team specialize in these unique and innovative partnerships between brands and designers like us. It has been a great team effort amongst all the teams.

What was the greatest challenge in designing with another brand in mind?

Timo: It is always a challenge to enter a new project for a brand with an existing multi-national client base and identity for decades. The unique combination & alchemy of minds brought in to start closely working together for the first time on a common goal.

Alan: Collaboration is the most personal experience one can have in a group. You have to learn to deal with everyone’s thoughts before you can lay out your own. Crowne Plaza was so organized when we worked together that we were able to come up with ideas right off the bat. But in other cases, when you don’t know another brand’s agenda, you have to start there and it takes a while to get it out.

Are there any other brands that you’d like to partner with for a capsule collection?

Timo: We love collaborating with friends- some top of mind include AWAY Travel & BaubleBar.

Alan: I’d love to work with the glasses company, Cutler & Gross. They just make the most chic and well done glasses in the industry. It would be cool to see the inner workings of such a staple of craftsmanship.

What about the New York City spirit is reflected in the Timo Weiland brand?

Timo: We came together over a shared love for the New York music scene and art world. The film “Basquiat” by Julian Schnabel was one of the first films we watched together as a team Alan, Donna and I. We also DJ often so it is fun to collaborate with people in the local nightlife.

Alan: It’s the most major element, I think. We’re fortunate to always have constant inspiration from here.

How does the creative process work among the three of you?

Timo: It is an all-hands-on-deck process from day 1. We divide and conquer.

Alan: We all wear different hats. Timo is more big picture, I’m more men’s and Donna is more women’s.

Has the Timo Weiland shopper changed since the you first launched the brand, or are they evolving with you?

Timo: The shopper has grown up with us. It is great to be dressing more than just cool, downtown kids in NYC. Now we must think about everyone including entrepreneurs and professionals in cities like Atlanta, Austin, Nashville and San Francisco.

Alan: We all feed off of each other. It’s a dependent relationship.

What aspects of living and creating in New York do you find most inspiring?

Timo: It never stops. There is a constant flow of inspiration and excitement, which is why we will always call New York home.

Now that you’ve successfully launched your first collaboration, what’s next for the brand?

Timo: It is actually not our first global corporate collaboration. We have also worked with brands such as Champion Athleticwear, Banana Republic, and Urban Outfitters. The next phase will include much more of this- more compassing of the full lifestyle rather than just apparel.

Donna: We are currently in early discussions about a global expansion of this program and are excited about how we roll this out into other markets. More to come on that very soon!!

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