Studio Visit: Timo Weiland

Two of the friendliest faces in fashion undoubtedly belong to Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein, who offered to give us a tour of their midtown studio amidst the pre-Fashion Week hubbub.

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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
We caught up with Timo Weiland and business partner, Alan Eckstein, to see how preparations were going for their forthcoming fall presentation. Though the collection itself was kept tightly under wraps, it was clear the gents had everything well in hand, with a brand new studio ("Our old one was half the size -- and with eight interns!") and a clear sense of purpose. "We have a much more defined customer now," explains Alan. "This time, we really know our girl."
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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
So who, exactly, is the quintessential Timo girl? In a word, "she's confident," explains Timo. "She's a social butterfly, and with a whole lot going on."
n"--a collector," added Alan.
n"Totally. She's the ringleader." (Pictured: previous season samples organized along a wall.)
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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
Perhaps its helpful to think of someone along the lines of savvy and stylish ladies like Alexa Chung and Keira Knightley, both of whom the designers cite as sources of inspiration. "I love the idea that a New York woman can also be a transplant," explains Timo. "You know, she wasn't necessarily born here, but she takes on a distinctly New York quality." (Pictured: one of Weiland's unusual kerchief necklaces.)
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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
Naturally, as the guys' confidence in the archetypal Timo woman continues to mount, so does the consumer's. Going from a low-profile neckwear label to a sought-after fashion brand has been something of an adjustment: "The most surreal moment was definitely that first season we were on the cover of WWD," says Alan. "It was the first day of fashion week [in 2009] and they put us on the cover. It was crazy."
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Catherine Blair Pfander
An integral part of the brand's growth has been Donna Kang, the only one of the three with a technical fashion background who left a gig at Carolina Herrera to join Weiland's crew. At the time of our interview, Donna, Timo and Alan were debating what to do with some newly-made silk rosettes. Though they couldn't disclose details, lush embroideries and embellishments (like the rosettes) will play a role in Weiland's fall '11 collection. (Pictured: Weiland's super-stylish crew of interns take a break from pre-Fashion Week prep.)
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Catherine Blair Pfander
The brand's unofficial motto -- "Do your best and don't worry" -- greets visitors upon entering their midtown production studio.
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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
The brand has come to be known for its unusual combination of pattern and texture. We asked after the fabrics' origin, and as it turns out, all Timo Weiland materials are hand-picked from Italian manufacturers.
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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
Timo -- who left Deutsch Bank in 2008 to pursue his interest in fashion -- attributes some of the business' success to a "banking mentality" he hasn't shirked since his days in the finance world. His former boss at Deutsch, who was "just, the absolute most stylish woman in the world," still attends all the shows.
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