A New Era Of Fashion: Interview With The Founders Of Époque Évolution
I had the opportunity to chat with Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco—the founders behind the sustainable clothing brand époque évolution. These two badass women are paving the way to a more sustainable future of fashion and activewear with their innovative fabrics and conscious production methods.
Époque évolution focuses on creating a minimalist wardrobe that is not only versatile but also mindfully produced for the planet and people on it. It was amazing to learn about their responsible approach and inspiring giveback initiatives.
First, Tell me about what époque évolution means?
Nancy & Hannah: époque means “an era in time” - we are trying to bring fashion into a new era (and an evolved one).
I would love to hear the story and know your inspiration for starting your brand?
Nancy & Hannah: We are both very active (Hannah is a yoga teacher and Nancy cycles 30+ miles on the weekend) and we both love to travel - and travel a ton for work. We joke that we live a 6 am to 11 pm kind of life and we needed a wardrobe that could keep up with us. We had planned a trip to Morocco, which is when the idea came to us. A glass of rosé (ok, two) later and we realized we wanted to create a wardrobe, well-edited and versatile enough that it could fit into a backpack. Clothing made from performance fabrics in chic silhouettes, so it would work for a trip to Milano and also a trip to the gym.
How do you define sustainability?
Nancy & Hannah: We love to use the word responsible as it encompasses more of the entire picture. We realized when we launched, that sustainability was not black and white. We wanted to look at the entire process of creating the business, from the raw materials to the mills that make the fabrics, to the people who sew the garments. We even consider our packaging and are trying to use compostable and recycled materials where we can.
We’re trying to make the best decisions possible with the knowledge we have now and evaluate them constantly. A great example of this is one of our core fabrics, Evolve. It’s not made with recycled fiber, but the mill that produces it uses state-of-the-art, eco-compatible technologies in a fully solar-powered facility. As a result, this production process has a lower carbon footprint than a mill just using recycled fibers or recycled fibers that are not from post-consumer waste.
I love your use of upcycled fabrics and post-consumer waste recycled fibers, tell me about how you source those fabrics?
Nancy & Hannah: Our main sources are located in LA and NY. There are companies that buy excess fabrics from brands and then resell them. Sometimes brands are forced to buy to the minimum yardage but their production can’t support it, so they sell the excess at a reduced rate to clean up their inventory. It’s a great way to use materials that already exist, rather than create more.
What have the challenges been producing your garments consciously?
Nancy & Hannah: It was harder than we thought when we first launched. It was challenging to find the right fibers and materials in the country we were producing in and it took us a long time to source our core fabrications. Sometimes, producing consciously adds to our lead times as we are asking for specific sustainable fibers.
How did you come to discover the factories you work with? Was it a hard process to find the right factories?
Nancy & Hannah: We’ve been a bit lucky here, as we had some contacts from our past work experience that led us to place the core development in Portugal. We’ve been very blessed with our contacts and factories there. We just launched our first domestic production in a partnership with a local factory here in SF called Designing A Difference ( D.A.D’s for short). D.A.D Sewing House is a nonprofit that trains and directly employs people with employment barriers, like homelessness, incarceration or mental health issues in the fashion trade. The goal is to preserve the presence of domestic apparel manufacturing in the Bay Area.
What plans do you have for continuing to spread the word of sustainable fashion and the future of époque évolution?
Nancy & Hannah: For us, education is our passion. We are working on being very transparent, creating content that helps to educate the customer on why her choices matter and partnering with like-minded brands to share the word.
It is companies like époque évolution who are forging a new path for the way the fashion industry functions by offering an unapologetic force for change. I am so in love with this two-piece set— the Flux Top has a built-in bra making it ultra secure and very comfortable. The Orion Leggings are so light-weight it barely feels like I am wearing pants while still being form-fitting and secure. I could easily wear them all day starting with yoga and then dress them up as a pant for later. Basically, I could easily ditch all my other pants for these (except my jeans, I love my jeans too much).
Photos by: Felicia Lasala