It’s Easy Being Green

It’s Easy Being Green

In the spirit of Earth Day, V sits down with Alan Eckstein, designer of sustainable clothing brand Everyone Wins, to discuss why the future of fashion is eco-friendly.

In the spirit of Earth Day, V sits down with Alan Eckstein, designer of sustainable clothing brand Everyone Wins, to discuss why the future of fashion is eco-friendly.

Photography: Clément Pascal

Styling: Haley Loewenthal

Text: Sara Zion

At a time when fast fashion can showcase the latest trends practically before they leave the runway, and where one flick of a finger can instantly refresh everything from entertainment on our Instagram feeds to potential partner options in our Tinder queue, it’s not far-fetched to say that our attention spans seem to be shrinking by the second. That constant desire for “the new” has infiltrated almost every aspect of our culture, including fashion. As consumers, we discard last season’s offerings and hit the stores for more, and big-box retailers follow suit on massive scales. According to a 2013 survey by the EPA, Americans alone are throwing out almost 23 million tons of textile materials each year, and the majority of that number is ending up in a landfill where toxic dyes and chemicals can leech into soil and even water sources. Through his latest venture, a sustainable clothing line called Everyone Wins, Alan Eckstein is trying to do his part to change that. “The system is so deeply flawed, we consume product everyday that is designed and manufactured not to last, creating extreme waste. It’s time to create a fashion process that can make a difference and have a consumer feeling great about what’s in their closet.”

As a founding member of the brand Timo Weiland and graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Alan has plenty of experience creating clothing from start to finish. However, after learning about the level of waste in the industry, he set out to do something different with his newest venture, albeit somewhat accidentally. “I was becoming increasingly attracted to the secondhand market. One day I was sitting at home and I had just ordered this ‘90s Prada jacket from eBay and the fit was off so I decided to alter it.” After multiple rounds of modifications and manipulations, Alan was finally happy with the finished product. “I loved the jacket I made that day! I woke up and started tearing my closet apart; I'd say 80 percent of my closet got redesigned that month,” he tells me. “From there I quickly moved on to buying overstock vintage and fast fashion pieces to create as many redone samples as possible." Thus, Everyone Wins was born.

He would go on to create an entire wardrobe’s worth of clothing from discarded or overlooked items—from a tropical print jacket repurposed with patches and trim, to a forgotten sweater given new life by carefully positioned hand-beaded appliqués from his grandmother’s personal collection, to out-of-style outerwear brought into 2018 with the addition of strategic grommets and studs but always with an eye for quality. “I'm selective in sourcing my original garments... I really want to work with things that will last a long time, ideally items from a past era as clothing was made with more love and craftsmanship, but I’m learning to be less selective and more open to taking on challenges,” the designer shares. Alan sees his work as a fusion of the old and the new, a process that is shared with those that made the original garments he re-imagines. “Working with second hand items is a really cool process because you’re using the old-world craftsmanship and adding a modern technique; it’s a total collaboration.” Soon, Fred Segal would ask him to create a line for a curated pop-up shop in LA, and celebrities would begin asking him to redesign forgotten items from their own wardrobes.

Even with hopes of working with fast-fashion brands to produce on a larger scale, Alan still sees each piece as a unique and hand-crafted labor of love. "I have stacks of clothing at my office and certain days or nights of the week, I get creative and lay everything out,” he tells me of his process. “I think about each item individually and about what I can do to make it special. I have drawers full of trims, patches, collars, sleeves, pockets... I want people to know that these pieces are really made from the heart and very carefully thought out.” And while he isn’t the first to consider the environment when designing clothing (global retailer H&M recently launched a campaign urging customers to bring in their used clothes to be recycled, and major fashion label Stella McCartney operates on a fur-and-leather-free model), Alan explains that the core philosophy is what sets Everyone Wins apart from other seemingly-similar fashion endeavors; “This isn't about making more, Everyone Wins is about using what is already made.” As for the name? “Everyone Wins is literally about everyone winning. Whether it be the customer, the retailer, the designer, the manufacturer or the earth itself, everyone benefits from items having a second, third, or fourth life."

Credits: All clothing throughout: Everyone Wins All women's shoes: Brother Vellies All men’s shoes: Stylist’s own Creative Direction + Casting: Sara Zion Hair: Jehnna Mahoney Makeup: Jenny Smith (NARS Cosmetics) Talent: Calu Rivero (The Society Management), Jaleen Oliver (NEXT), Tay Landau (NEXT) Makeup Assistant: Marc Witmer Stylist Assistant: Sam Zimmerman Production Assistant: Calvin Hannawell  

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