• UO Studio Visits: Timo Weiland x Champion Select

    Here's a few things to know about designers Tim "Timo" Weiland, Alan Eckstein, and Donna Kang, the young trio who collectively make up the brand Timo Weiland. Between the three of them, they have backgrounds in Spanish literature, design, economics, business, music history, and (a minor in) vocal performance. They've cited the following as sources of inspiration: grandfathers, hip hop, the weekend, Dries Van Noten, casual DJing, people-watching, Michael Jordan, Scandinavia, and a dog named Coconut. They have diverse, interdisciplinary, and genre-defying taste, which could be the best way to explain the aesthetic of the brand, which started as a tiny neckwear line in 2009 and has since evolved into a full-fledged collection of men's and women's clothing fueled by a signature high-low aesthetic. Collections and pieces are inspired by the juxtaposition of music, experience, art, and—largely—the idea of how all of these mediums coexist in New York City. It's denim tweed meets oil-splattered lace-up boots, it's nautical prep meets laid-back surf, it's a return to "the art of dressing" that feels both refreshingly new and completely natural. 

    This month, UO is debuting a special collaboration that the emerging brand designed alongside Champion Select — a surprising pairing, but considering the Timo team's mixing pot of interests and chameleon-like adaptability — it makes perfect sense. To get a sneak peek of the collaboration, we visited their Meatpacking District studio and spoke with design director Alan Eckstein about their design process and the inspiration behind the Champion collab. 
    Photos by Clement Pascal

    How did the three of you meet?
    I'm originally from Great Neck, Long Island. I always loved fashion as a kid but it wasn't my main focus until later on. After studying music and music history when I first got to college, I returned home after three years and attended FIT. I started a clothing line with my great friend from home, and in that business I met Timo and Donna. Timo was a consultant for the company and I met Donna at school. We all decided to join forces and start the brand Timo Weiland.

    Where do you find most of your inspiration? 
    We live in New York and I think everyday here is inspiring to some degree. The street is a good starting point with so many interesting people and personalities everyday staring right at you. I also spend a lot of time looking at musicians and artists. The guys that have effortless, original style—like Paul Simon, David Bowie, or Miles Davis—are an ongoing inspiration collection after collection

    How does the design process work? How does a collection come together?
    I can speak a bit about men's—the whole design process is really a combination of ideas coming together at once. The beginning is always fabric appointments, sketching, and looking up inspiration ideas all at once. It's a clusterfuck of a time with a lot of "what if's." I like to start with outwear for mens as it sets the tone and requires the most amount of time. Next is knitwear and the rest follows. After the idea stage consisting of fabric, silhouettes, and inspiration, we make muslins or prototypes of each garment and alterations happen after fittings. And viola! We have a collection.

    What are the differences in creating clothing for men vs. creating for women? 
    They have the same basic approach but men's changes very little from year to year while women's changes a great deal. Men's is about inches and women's is about complete transformation.

    Can you share more about your Champion collaboration? 
    We are truly thrilled for this. We dabble a bit in sportswear and activewear and that whole genre of clothing originated from one company—Champion. Their classics are still some of their bestsellers today and that's when you know they are doing something right. We wanted to combine our aesthetic with that incredible classic Champion and I think the product is really exciting. 

    What ideas and history inspired the pieces in the collab?
    We wanted the collection to feel like Champion but something special, something of the moment. We started with going through their archive back 60-80 years, which was incredible, and we went from there. We took classic ideas and made them a touch more modern. We wanted classic that felt new—I hope we accomplished that.

    What is your favorite block in the city and why? 
    Great Jones. There is something about the light and the width of the street that makes this block special. The Great Jones Cafe is wonderful as well.. It's also the street where Jean-Michel Basquiat lived and passed. There's something about this street.

    What about travel? Where's your favorite place outside the city to visit and be inspired by? 
    My favorite is New Mexico. A great place to visit, relax, and smell the fresh air. 

    What is your daily morning routine? 
    Walk my dog Coconut, get a coffee, and go to work!

    A lot of inspiration fuels your line. What's the number one source? 
    Music is probably number one. I get a good shaky feeling listening to the good stuff. It starts from there.

    What's in rotation right now in the studio?
    Lots of different stuff. The Strokes, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Debussy, Taylor Swift—a bit of everything.

    What essential items do you keep in your bag at all times? 
    Xanex (ha!—but you never know). And an extra phone charger.

    Can you share some advice for young designers and entrepreneurs? 
    It's a passionate industry. It's incredible to be in this space but it takes time to develop. Try not to get discouraged and stick with it if the passion is there! 

    Shop Timo Weiland x Champion Select