A New York-based fashion line for both men and women, Timo Weiland is designed by Timo Weiland, Donna Kang, and Alan Eckstein. Now a full-range designer clothing line, Timo Weiland had originally launched in 2009 as a neckwear collection. The brand has grown quickly, first getting a big break as part of the 2012 Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Incubator Program. Weiland and Eckstein won the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award in 2014, and in 2016, Timo Weiland received a CFDA x Cadillac grant.
The last 12 months have been especially important for Timo Weiland. Beyond a high-profile showcase at New York Fashion Week, the company partnered with Zenni Optical to open its first brick-and-mortar location in New York City. Popular producers and EDM duo the Chainsmokers had jackets designed by Timo Weiland. But perhaps the highest-profile move for Timo Weiland was Weiland, Kang, and Eckstein being jointly announced as style director of the Americas for Crowne Plaza hotels. The trio unveiled Momentum by Timo Weiland as part of hotel group’s $200 million Accelerate program, which included a redesign of Crowne Plaza’s uniforms, cocktail menu, meeting rooms, and living areas. The work of the Timo Weiland team is especially evident at the new Hudson Yards property known as Crowne Plaza HY36 Midtown Manhattan.
To learn more about the past, present, and future of Timo Weiland, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Timo Weiland, Donna Kang, and Alan Eckstein. The three designers exemplify how hard work and perseverance can pay off when matched with originality. More on Timo Weiland can be found online at www.timoweiland.com.
Before you became a famous designer, did a lot of people ask you about Scott Weiland? No relation, right?
Timo Weiland: Yes, many people did indeed ask that. I am not related, but continue to be a huge lifelong fan of his work even after his tragic death.
Your brand started off as a neckwear collection before evolving into a full-range womenswear and a menswear designer clothing line. Was the plan always to do full-range fashion? Or did you simply want to make neckwear?
Timo Weiland: The brand evolved organically from an accessories brand to a full lifestyle edit of modern classic prep inspired by New York City.
Alan Eckstein: It was always a plan to evolve into a full lifestyle range. We felt inspired by every aspect of each other’s lives, from our accents and accessories to daily “uniforms” in our creative offices to the interiors of our homes. The initial goal was to always be evolving, which we have continued to do since our founding in 2009.
Donna Kang: I knew from the beginning that it would be bigger than an accessories line but had no idea where it would grow into. We were all very open and driven, so it came together very naturally.
How would you describe the style of Timo Weiland?
Alan Eckstein: Modern classic. Prep with a New York-inspired streetwear twist.
Timo Weiland received the inaugural CFDA x Cadillac Retail lab grant. How did that happen? Did you apply with traditional grant paperwork?
Timo Weiland: The CFDA Retail Lab is a career highlight for us; such a huge honor to be the inaugural designer brand to win the grant. We applied through the CFDA and took the opportunity to explore and experiment within the brick-and-mortar space at Cadillac House. The mentorship aspect was also incredibly impactful, and we have developed lasting relationships with that esteemed board of industry leaders.
— Navarre Caldwell (@NavarreCaldwell) October 8, 2017
And how did the opportunity come to work with Crowne Plaza? Had you stayed at a lot of their hotels before?
Timo Weiland: We connected with the team from IHG for coffee, then the project evolved from there. It was a naturally strong alignment as we are the core customer — global business travelers. Yes, I had experienced and stayed in Crowne Plaza locations around the world, therefore I was already a fan and honored to launch the collaboration.
Do you have a favorite of the Crowne Plaza hotels to stay at?
Donna Kang: Honestly, it’s a tie between Atlanta and London. Both are luxurious, modern spots in prime locations. I was coming back from a childhood best friend’s wedding in England, so the London location is forever entwined with that intimate memory. It was such a cherry-on-the-top type of experience. However, I got to know the open-hearted staff on a more intimate level at Crowne Plaza Atlanta because we had our uniform fittings there. That combination is pretty unforgettable.
How do you find that most people learn about Timo Weiland? Is it print? Is it fashion events? Is it dressing celebrities?
Donna Kang: I think that everything siphons down to creating content for press, be it online or print, when it comes to getting the word out about anything. Fashion events, like runway shows, have always generated a lot of interest but generally in a smaller demographic, the fashion-minded. Doing collaborations and celebrity dressing tends to reach a broader audience that is not as often accessed by the usual channels.
— Crowne Plaza Hotels (@CrownePlaza) October 6, 2017
Who was the first celebrity to wear Timo Weiland?
Timo Weiland: The first famous person to wear our brand was either Mark Ronson or Mos Def. It happened around the same time, and we were over the moon!
What is coming up for Timo Weiland in the coming months?
Timo Weiland: We have been expanding our creative agency and consulting business. It has been a pleasure working closely with established global brands that we have tons of respect for, as well as emerging startups with tons of potential.
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
Timo Weiland: Outdoors! Usually surfing or hiking.
As I know you have DJ’ed plenty, what is the last music event or concert you attended for fun?
Alan Eckstein: Future Islands! They are so unusual and original in their style and sound. I love the lead singer so much! So charismatic.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Timo Weiland: Keep up the hard work! Never give up.
Donna Kang: Keep your eye out, be open to change and always work as if your life depends on it because your happiness will.
— Dr Smiles White (@DrSmilesWhite) September 20, 2017
[Featured Image by Samantha Shelly]