Whoooo! My hair is cur-lay! Good thing I’ve got a big pink hat to cover that right up. Plus, I love the pink of the hat, the curls, the heeled boots, and the skirt juxtaposed against the scribbled “BOY” on my top. Everything about the outfit (and my hair), screams girl while the masculine is being so blatantly thrown in your face. Anyway, this is all just another rendition of what I have been wearing lately. Specfically I mean a rendition of this Echo + Air skirt paired with whatever top will keep me warm. How cool is the hemline of it? Putting touches like that into clothing are what make me love a brand, and with Echo + Air there is so much more than just those kinds of touches to love!
I happened upon Echo + Air by chance, in a little space called Austere in downtown Los Angeles. I was there with a friend and started gushing over a dress that was in the softest black fabric I had ever felt. It turns out my friend knew Jordana, the designer behind Echo + Air, and I knew at that moment I had to get in touch with her.
Well, get in touch I did! After a coffee date and another meetup at one of her stockists shops, Curio (also in DTLA), I was already in love with Jordana. She has this way about her.. she makes you feel comfortable in asking her anything and she answers back with thought. Oddly enough, she is just like her clothing! Her pieces have otherworldly comfort and the shapes, well, don’t even get me started on those! There is so much that goes into how the fabrics drape on your body, you can tell that from the moment you put one of their pieces on. Sure, they may look a little intimidating when you see them on a hanger, but they aren’t made for hangers, they are made for bodies! You silly people.
Trust me on this, Echo + Air is definitely a brand you want to know and own. Plus, you can feel good about purchasing their pieces because they are made to last right here in Los Angeles. None of that buy, wash, throw away because it fell apart stuff over here! These are pieces you will have for years to come and silhouettes that are so neat they will never go out of style. Can you beat that? I didn’t think so.
I asked Jordana a few questions so we could all get to know Echo + Air better. Read below!
When & why did you start Echo + Air?
I began developing the line in June 2013 but it didn’t go to market till December 2013.
I started Echo + Air for many reasons…. The first being my own personality and drive. When it comes to creating a brand and a vision, I knew what I wanted and I didn’t really want to compromise. I worked for a couple of commercial brands; (which is definitely a valuable experience in itself), however, I was bored but overwhelmed at the same time.
Secondly, I wanted to create clothing that has a conceptual look and feel. I wanted to challenge myself using interesting pattern making and draping techniques, but I also wanted to challenge the customer. Many of our silhouettes look really different on a hanger than most garments. The clothing has this cross dimensional element; but it’s still completely wearable for everyday life.
Thirdly, I wanted to build a brand that instilled the values of slow fashion. The most sustainable thing is to create things that will last for a very long time. Attention to detail and quality of materials is everything. My business partner and I really spend a lot of time to sourcing great quality materials. I think Vivienne Westwood said it perfectly, “ Buy less, Choose well, Make it Last”. I love that!
Who/what is your biggest inspiration for the brand? Where do you go when gathering yourself to design a new collection? (i.e. Pinterest, Instagram, a coffee shop, a concert, etc.)
The biggest inspiration for the brand… I think this kind of goes along with your first question. Echo + Air is really about the ethereal and the terrestrial. The ethereal being the conceptual elements of the line and the mood of the brand. The terrestrial being the issues of sustainability and not creating unnecessary waste. Creating for a purpose and a function. I think these two ideas parallel each other when it comes to Echo + Air.
As far as gathering inspiration, I do look at imagery online; but at a certain point I need to get outside myself and my own little bubble. As a culture, we are so inundated with imagery and constant stimulation; it all starts to become meaningless. Developing your own inspiration from experiencing the world is the most impactful. For our new collection for SS15 (coming out in March), I was really inspired by the idea of retro-futurism. My business partner and I took a trip to the Salton Sea. It was incredible and felt like the edge of the world.
And of course, Los Angeles, our beautiful city is always a muse!
Who is the quintessential Echo + Air girl?
I think the quintessential Echo + Air woman is not one-dimensional. She’s not one type of person; she’s a bit ephemeral. Whenever I am asked this question… it always goes back to mood. For me, conceptualizing a new line is such an emotional process and each collection is determined by an overall mood… I think the Echo + Air woman really loves the way clothes make her feel and she has a wild imagination. She can easily be transposed to another world, but she’s also quite grounded and thinks about necessity and function. She’s constantly evolving…. just like real people:).
All of the production is done in Los Angeles, why is this important to you?
I like knowing the people who make our clothes. They are all a part of the creative process. We have relationships and friendships with the people who cut our fabric, sew our garments, print our materials, etc.
I know that people who help us are getting paid fairly and they are treated with respect. The ethical argument is huge, but also quality control. I am able to work with the sewers directly if there is a problem. Problem solving is more effective face to face.
Then, there is the bigger picture which really goes back to sustainability. Making things locally sustains our own economy and there is far less waste involved.
Where do you see Echo + Air going? Stand alone stores? A men’s collection?
I see us expanding our boutique business, as well as our online presence. We are always creating new content for our website; whether it be an editorial, a lookbook, or a collaboration with another brand or a photographer, etc. We just did a photoshoot with a musician for our “Winter Solstice” campaign. We also did a collaborative photoshoot with Nina Savill (a jewelry designer, ninasavill.com), those images will be up on our site next month. We always try to keep it fresh!
A men’s line is definitely down the road…
Anything else you want to add that you would like people to know about you or the brand?
We have an open door policy. We love getting feedback from our customers and questions from new customers, or even just another creative person or business. I feel the notion of the “snotty” designer brand is outdated. We don’t want anyone to jump through hoops to have a dialogue with us.
Photography by Randy Tran