9.21.17 / New York / Global

How The Designers Of Timo Weiland Are Infusing Their Aesthetic Into Hotels

Modern American prep meets global hotels


Since 2010, Timo Weiland has been a fixture in the New York fashion scene, both as a fashion label and as regulars out on the town. As ‘Timo Weiland’ the brand, Weiland, Donna Kang, and Alan Eckstein have been putting out designs that playfully reinvigorate classic American style—think colorblock bombers, or their Coconut sweater featuring a print of Eckstein’s namesake weiner dog. Over the years their style has evolved: tailoring has become sharper, patterns have been used liberally, and style from various decades have been mixed and merged to create highly-covetable goods.

It’s that sleek aesthetic that has propelled Timo Weiland to take on their largest and most widespread project yet: designing for hotels. In recent years, boutique hotels have sought out designers to revamp their style, but Time Weiland was given a far more monumental task. Working with IHG Crowne Plaza, the brand had to create uniforms for over 400 locations around the world as part of a broader creative direction role. Debuting the collection titled ‘MOMENTUM’ during New York Fashion Week, Timo Weiland once again released a set of reworked classics to enhance the style of the hotel chain. We caught up with the designers to learn how they incorporated their style, and why collaboration is the future of hotel culture.

Your brand has evolved – at one point you were doing casual pieces like color-blocked sweatshirts but that has refined into modern, tailored garments. How would you describe the ‘Timo Weiland’ aesthetic?

Alan Eckstein: The Timo Weiland aesthetic will always evolve, but we mostly center around the idea of modern prep. It’s in our blood so we can’t really escape being drawn to versions of American prep.

Timo Weiland: Classic with a modern New York-inspired twist. Since we are also DJs, music plays a large part in our aesthetic inspiration, ranging from the Rolling Stones to the Strokes.


Alan, you’ve personally taken an interest into re-designing vintage pieces, and there seems to be an overlap in that ’50s (or ’50s via ’80s) look in recent Timo Weiland collections. Is that a conscious reference?

AE: Totally, In fashion its fun and important to look back and see what people were doing. In this case, the ’50s was a time when so much love and care was put into clothes and the way they were made and worn. It was really an art form to dress. That definitely creeps into the conscious when designing.

How did you incorporate that aesthetic into the hotel uniforms?

AE: The Crowne Plaza brand is an American standard in hospitality, so the feeling of Americana was present for most design elements. The mid-century feel is like that cool hotel getaway kind of look, and that became a basis for the uniforms. These uniforms needed to feel modern but nostalgic in a way. You definitely have this crossover of eras, but ultimately I hope the people that wear them feel fresh in them for many years.

Donna Kang: We referenced a lot at classics since we were designing for such an iconic, American brand. We looked at Mad Men, to Hitchcock and Wes Anderson films, to the modern streets of our beloved New York City. The ’50s is one of the most classic American eras so it makes sense that there are elements of that.

TW: As a team, we wanted to Crowne Plaza MOMENTUM collection to be considered a wardrobe—not a uniform ensemble. This is a very signature Timo Weiland point-of-view, as the looks must be lived in—not just admired on a rack.

[Timo Weiland, Donna Kang, Alan Eckstein]

How did the process of designing for an established brand change from designing for yourselves?

DK: It becomes a marriage between the two. It was also important to keep an open mind to understand another’s vision while keeping your own voice. In this case it was especially intimate because we got to see the actual setting and some of the people that the collection would be living on. Real life is always better.

Your role goes beyond uniforms, what other creative direction did you offer Crowne Plaza?

DK: Updating the classic logo; updating brand color palette; music direction; pr, brand and marketing strategy; photoshoot and runway direction.


Several hospitality brands have tapped designers for their projects, do you think this will become the norm?

AE: I hope so..! Its always good to get different takes on dressing for anyone. It’s nice to have the variety instead of one uniform look for each industry. So with tapping into designers, you will see a variety, a customization for each subject. It would make way for more creativity and personalization, which I’m a fan of.

DK: In this fast paced, ever changing, socially tapped in environment we live in today I think that one of the overall lifestyle trends that will endure is individuality. That is why while it may not become the norm, it will definitely become more popular as brands strive to create a strong identity that is unique and speaks to their client. Original, designer-led projects is a link to that.

TW: As global business travelers with a design-led lifestyle, we were a natural fit to become Style Directors of IHG Crowne Plaza. Authentic collaborations such as this are the future (I sincerely hope!).


[Photo credit: Samantha Shelly]

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