Timo Weiland Saves The Day
In a sunlit studio in the center of New York’s garment district, Timo Weiland is putting out a fire. A crucial delivery has gone astray, and somewhere between a fitting with Linda Evangelista and last-minute preparations for their runway show just days away, he has to fix this disaster.
As Weiland enters the studio, he apologizes for the delay and kindly introduces himself. Despite the crisis and the clock counting down to their Spring – Summer 14 runway show, he gives us his undivided attention and begins to describe a predicament familiar to many up-and-coming designers.
“You can do so much right, but you can’t control everything," he says. "The production is the hardest part of our business. It’s so complicated and there are so many moving parts."
As a designer, it’s imperative to have your mind, heart and production all in sync. Timo’s Men’s Designer, Alan Eckstein, goes into detail about the companies production side: "When we first started, we made a lot of changes and I think our production is at a really high quality. Our production operation is pretty good, but we try to control as much as we can. It’s a very hard part of our industry — it’s a very hard part of our job."
The amount of attention that goes into their garments must equal the effort made in finding the right people to work with. The name of this game is quality, and that is clear, not just in the pieces but in the people they choose to work alongside. As the brand grows, it has encountered new challenges. A recent struggle has been how to compete against fashion labels with bottomless pockets. “As a growing company, paying a hundred thousand dollars for a show is just not an option,” says Weiland. “We’re definitely dreaming of that scale just not necessarily executing at that scale.”
Instead of hindering the brand, a smaller budget has proved to be an impetus of creative inspiration. “We have so many ideas that are within our budget at Milk. You can do spectacular things there. You can make it look like a million dollar space and do a lot with a little. Our budget at our process allows us to be that much more creative.”
Their upcoming collection promises a strong use of“hues of blues,” along with the combination of masculine stripes, floral prints, and an element of cool femininity. The real brilliance lies in the materials used to make the garments, as all of the textiles are dreamt up by the designers themselves. Timo’s women’s designer, Donna Kang, is the mastermind behind the line’s floral prints. The collection this season drew inspiration from the designers’ recent trip to Bali, where Kang was drawn to the indigenous flowers from Indonesia.
As Kang likes to say, their vision as a design team “gets better every season.” She compares the development of the brand’s aesthetic to the process of an artist finding her voice: “It’s like actors. The best actors act like themselves, naturally. The best designers can do that too.”
“When I started out, I really was trying to do as many different things as possible to try to and shake things up," Eckstein says of his goals in design. “In the end, what I really want is something extremely wearable, attractive and different — but sophisticated and just different enough.”
Photos by Francois Lebeau