If you’re looking to amp up your outerwear game this season—considering it’s finally cold enough to wear a jacket—then you should definitely put NYC-based designer Alyson Eastman on your radar. The creative, known for her streetwear line of colorful, cool leather jackets, breaks down how she started her label her latest styles, and her plans for her namesake brand going forward. Take it away, Aly!
Aly, why did you think there was a void in the marketplace for your jackets?
I started to notice there was a void when I was shopping for an interesting leather jacket and could only find black, brown, or white. If I did find a piece that was somewhat interesting, it was way out of my budget or there was a “fast fashion” brand knocking it off by making it in China with a terrible quality leather that their client would throw away in a season or two. My goal with the Alyson Eastman brand is to create a beautiful garment that will stay with the consumer for a very long time. With leather, I think it is very special because as you wear it, the garment becomes more and more unique to you. As it wears to you and your lifestyle, every imperfection is telling your story. I hope that people will also begin to understand how we are hurting our environment by buying all of these “fast fashion” pieces and when we toss them out, how they just sit in our land fills. Next to oil, the fashion industry is the next biggest polluting industry on earth.
What were you doing before launching your label in 2014?
I have always worked in fashion. My first job was at the Nordstrom in our local mall in my hometown. After high school I attended FIDM in LA and studied fashion design and later moved to Paris to study design at a French school. After moving to NYC, I worked for brands such as Zac Posen, Badgley Mischka, Ralph Lauren and Ports 1961, doing everything from design and production to wholesale and retail management. I learned pretty much all the “ins and outs” of the business, which is why I think in the end I was able to start my own label.
You grew up on a farm near Portland Oregon. What was that like?
I grew up on a llama farm and riding horses, so it was a bit of a shock to my parents when I told them I wanted to go into fashion. Ever since I can remember I was cutting up my clothes and making my own designs. In high school I made all of my dresses for the dances and would put on my own fashion shows for the high school talent show.
What’s the inspiration behind FW17/18?
This collection was inspired by the ’70s. I loved the colors and shapes of the ’70s and tried to bring back these vintage vibes while also incorporating “new look” leather and a modern flare of silhouettes.
What new materials and textures are you playing with this season?
This is the first season I have incorporated shearling into the line. We used it on our two new silhouettes: the “denim” leather jacket and our new bomber jacket.
What style are you most known for?
I would say we are most known for the motorcycle jacket silhouette. This is the style that we first started out with and you will find it consistently throughout each collection in different colors and leathers.
How do you see your brand expanding going forward?
We will keep moving forward with more leather outerwear and eventually start incorporating other women’s wear such as leather dresses, skirts, and pants. We are working on a men’s line and an exciting new collaboration with a childrenswear brand will be launching soon!
Where can we shop your collection?
You can shop the full collection on www.AlysonEastman.com