Through good times and bad, Iris Alonzo was the Creative Director at American Apparel for 11 years, and now she’s on to her own venture with fellow American Apparel creative Carolina Crespo.
The brand is called EVERYBODY and it’s founded on unwavering principles of manufacturing practices that are good for workers and the planet. On the podcast, Iris talks about what she learned from American Apparel, the unique design process behind the clothes at EVERYBODY, and the making of their Trash Tee — the first tee made from 100% recycled cotton.
“I think that more people are starting to build businesses around this concept that you don’t have to exploit people and the environment to turn a profit.”
Every day at EVERYBODY starts with a loop — a daily round through some of their local, LA manufacturers, from fabric makers to sewers. But when Iris and Carolina started to think about how to make use of the yarn bits that are discarded in manufacturing, they went outside the loop to the biggest yarn maker in the world, located in North Carolina. Because the idea was so new and the industry is so old, their idea took a lot of persuasion and persistence, but finally it paid off. The bales of waste that were being toted off from the manufacturer are now being made into 100% recycled cotton yarn. And so, the Trash Tee was born.
Each new piece at EVERYBODY is designed by somebody. Anybody. Eventually, Iris and Carolina want to expand this model, but right now they work with friends to design pieces that they've dreamed up. From artists and musicians, to chess pros, these people aren't clothing designers, and that's ok. The life and story of each person really makes the growing EVERYBODY collection feel unique.
At American Apparel, Iris recalls having a ton of resources at her fingertips. She even had dedicated sewers right in her office to stitch up prototypes of design concepts. Because everything was done in house, you could have an idea for a piece in the morning, and have a sample by the afternoon. But with EVERYBODY, it's different. First of all, they're still young and the team is small. Second, having a network of factories really expands what's possible. When they wanted to make a coat, they went to someone who's an expert in making coats. By working with specialists, they're able to bring real life, character, and expertise to these carefully planned pieces.
Cover image via Freunde von Freunden.
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