Dachshunds and Disc Jockeys at Timo Weiland
Timo Weiland are more of a collective than your standard fashion brand. Even though Timo himself—who heads up the gang—started his career on Wall Street via a degree encompassing economics and engineering and vocal training at college in Nashville, they sum up the spirit of Williamsburg: left of center creative hipsters who funnel their eclectic lifestyles into a fashion line, which their customers buy directly right into. At their studio in the CFDA incubator space I am greeted by an over-enthusiastic dachshund called Coconut, who is sporting a scarlet sweater with his own image on it—a joke that has turned into one of the label’s best-sellers.
Milk Made: How did you guys meet?
Timo Weiland: “After Wall Street, I needed to be in another industry that had similarly driven and similarly creative people to me. I’ve always been interested in individual style and people, so I started a branding consultancy company. I met Alan and Donna through that process – they were one of our clients.
Alan Eckstein: I had a line with a friend of mine where I had no idea what I was doing, and Timo started consulting on it. I had met Donna once at FIT and a friend of mine suggested I meet her. A 45-minute meeting turned into five hours talking about what we loved. We did this first line with Timo as our consultant—he was doing all this fun stuff with us so we just decided we should all be together and start something new.
TW: It took us a while to really develop into what we are now, we launched accessories to start which and that was kind of the test. Then we launched men’s and women’s ready to wear for spring/summer 2010 with Barneys and we’ve been with them ever since.
MM: And when you decided “Let’s get together and do a label," what did you feel wasn’t out there in the marketplace—what niche was it that you wanted to fill?
AE: It’s just our personality. It’s clothing suited for us, and it’s about making attainable clothing that’s beautiful. We really feel that we have this voice in that market and that our voice is different and special.
TW: And also wearable is the key. We’re not making one-time wear clothes. We’re kind of uniform people and we kind of dress for the weekend.
MM: Your approach is very real, and you guys are your own muses. But outside of that framework, where do your visual ideas come from—film, art, architecture, music?
Donna King: Music is one of our main themes.
TW: We’ve been DJ’ing as a side job since the beginning.
DK: We’ve all had musical background training: Timo went to music school; I studied piano for many years; Alan studied jazz history in college. We have really trained ears.
MM: So let’s look at that musical DNA. How does that actually translate into what we see on the rack in store?
DK: Its an attitude.
MM: Such as?
AE: The Rolling Stones, The Strokes, Jay Z. We have some musician friends and they care so much about what they wear, because of that performance element to their art. Music adds a certain tone and gives you a mindset. You listen to a new band and you are thinking, "THIS IS FUCKING COOL."
MM: That’s so interesting. And does that go for womenswear as well?
DK: For womenswear we don’t look at female singers for style references. Male artists are a little more toned down, whereas the female artists we love tend to be a little bit too "blingy" to take direct inspiration from, but we are inspired by the people like our friends who listen to them.
TW: We have this showroom model who’s in a band. She inspires us.
MM: Is there like an in-house motto you guys throw around?
TW: “Do your best and don’t worry”—something that we tore out of i-D Magazine.
MM: If we look at the classic Timo Weiland woman and the classic Timo Weiland man, what would their relationship be? Would they make out?
AE: They could make out; they could date…they could be brother and sister…or travel companions.
MM: Where are your favorite spots to hang out in New York—or around the world?
AE: We just went to Mexico City and we were blown away. I don’t know that we expected—I think we expected it to be dangerous but it wasn’t. We thought it was so tasteful and so magical. The restaurants are amazing; we’d eat two lunches and two dinners a day! We all travel a lot. We went to Bali this year and we’re all going to L.A. in a couple weeks together. We travel a lot together. But we love New York – it’s our home. When you’re a New Yorker, you really bring New York with you everywhere you go. This upcoming collection is inspired by a trip we took to upstate New York. We rented this huge barn for Haylee’s (Alan’s girlfriend/stylist for Timo Weiland) birthday and we were eating, drinking and hanging out.
DK: It comes as part of the job—the boys DJ and you go out with them at night because they’re DJ’ing and then we come back in the office and they’re still playing the same music! We all hang out—inside and outside of work.
AE: And we fight! And have our successes!
Photography by Mario Torres
Photo direction by Erick Ruales
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