"Everybody" Wants to Be the Next Step in Collaborative, Ethical Fashion

"Everybody" Wants to Be the Next Step in Collaborative, Ethical Fashion

By Annie Felix

Everybody is the brainchild of two American Apparel alums, Iris Alonzo and Carolina Crespo, a new-age ethical fashion company that's all about keeping it real. Inspired, as their website proclaims, by "reality - people, cultures, science, history, life," the company features a new democratic fashion business model, creating its brand identity through collaborations with real people. This includes everyone from friends and family, to Instagram artists and children's authors, to the old men playing chess in the park by Iris' LA home. Future collaborators, we're told, include model Adwoa Aboah, the company dog Charlie (who's coming out with a leash), as well as a 2-year-old. It's a melting-pot creative space, where all kinds of people design to meet their own clothing needs.

Some of the interesting offerings include the ideal LBD by writer/DJ/chef Kiki Kudo, the essential button-up from Prakash Gokalchand (the aforementioned ancient chess-player from MacArthur Park), and a 7-foot-long West-African-style body pillow by art collector Jean Pigozzi. In fact, the only fully in-house design is the company's take on the classic basic white tee, a creation named the "trash tee," a comfy cut made of 100% recycled cotton. Sustainability and worker-ethics play a strong role in the company's identity - being the spiritual successor of American Apparel and all that - all the materials are produced and manufactured consciously within the United States.

Everybody is hosting its first IRL space - the "Informal Shop" - this week at 142 Henry Street. We sat down with co-founder Carolina Crespo to talk about Everybody's company ethos, polyester, and pockets.

So tell me how this started, where did you get the idea for a fashion company built on its collaborations?

We used to work at American Apparel, and we had a lot of resources for manufacturing anything from shoes to apparel and anything in between. When we were looking for our company and what we could do, we kind of started going down our friends and just seeing who do we know that has great style and would want to be a part of this. It started organically – reaching out to all of our friends, and maybe even walking down the street. We would just like walk up to somebody and be like, "Wow you have really great style, you have a great look – what's going on – who are you?"

The question of a brand identity arises while looking at your many collaborations -- how do you have this multiplicity of identity and still a coherent single brand?

What we want to do is kind of cross-pollinate from different lives – you know, you've got Prakash [Gokalchand], you've got Dallas [Clayton], but they're all coming into Everybody. You're just like, "Wow I never knew about this guy." It's just a place where they can come in, and cross-pollinate everywhere. You know, give a little bit of an insight into other people's worlds.

We have our upcoming contributors – you know, we're always adding to it. Like a month from now [model] Adowa Aboah is going to be coming out with her track suit in the Spring. Charlie, our dog, is coming out with a leash. We have a lot of people constantly – it's a constant thing; we can just find someone tomorrow, and be like hey – what do you want to do? Start the developing process and see what [we can do]. We work with different people all together, all the time.

What's the process of releasing the pieces?

It just naturally happens, because say, Charlie's leash, we can bring it out whenever we want to, you know? If Adwoa's doing a tracksuit, we try to plan ahead of time, but it normally works out. We don't really take in the seasons. I mean, we do a little bit -- we're not gonna put a bathing suit out in winter or anything like that -- but we can start working it out in winter, so when summer comes along we're here. Just kinda going with the flow.

So how does Everybody really mine into the concept of reality and authenticity that seems to dominate the pop-up shop space?

What we want to do is create things that are basic that you need in your life. We're not into creating fast fashion or anything like that. What we want to do is either create something basic and good that you're going to have for five, ten, fifteen years. Or like Jean Pigozzi, he made like a 7 foot body pillow. It's just something absurd but when you see it there it's just like this is so cool! I love it! It's a one-of-a-kind.

Basically, it's just, what is missing in your life? What is missing in your wardrobe? What is the thing - you have it, or it's falling apart, or you can't find it anymore--[that you need]? Going back to [Everybody collaborator and Instagram artist] Kalen Hollomon, he was like, "I want a jacket that has [pen] pockets." He's always carrying around pens and Xacto knives. So he has extra pockets [to put his hands into], there's another pocket where you can put your cell phone. So there's a lot of thought that goes into each piece that we're designing with everybody, even down to the color or exactly where the placement is.

Cool! Also, can you also talk about the company's focus on ethical practices?

Part of our thing is how to make everything sustainable, and when we were looking at different fabrics, we wanted to find something that was an ecologically friendly fabric. Everything has polyester in it, and it was just like we. Don't. Want. Polyester. It just doesn't feel good to us -- we wanted a 100% cotton, and it wasn't out there. So we worked with one of the mills in the Carolinas and this is our trash t-shirt. This is all [that's 100% recycled] right now, but eventually we want to use all be 100% recycled cotton.

Everybody's Informal Shopruns from February 14 - 17 (today's the last day!) 10am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm --check out the schedule for events, or drop in for the laid-back vibes.

Splash Photo courtesy Everybody.