It’s Pronounced /a.pɔk/
Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco have decades of combined fashion industry experience and spent many years working alongside one another while at Athleta. Going their separate ways in 2014, they threw a dart on the map and decided to meet up in Morocco. What started as a discussion about their ambitions — namely their combined passion for better, more responsible women’s garments that could stand up to the trials of the modern woman, became the brand known as époque évolution. We sat down with these founders to discuss what it was like starting over from scratch, what influences them, and how they are building their brand into a household name.
The word époque translates to time or era in French — and as the époque team believes, we are now entering a new era in terms of fashion and functionality.
Nancy and Hannah aren’t your average entrepreneurs. They embody their brand qualities by being extremely active — Nancy bikes at least 30 miles a day while Hannah teaches yoga most mornings, all while running a trailblazing apparel company. The contrast the two share of being extremely active and transitioning to work, home, or a night out flows into their design beliefs, which can be summed up in a single quote from the two; “our clothes should keep up with everything we do.”
At its core, époque believes in creating styles that exceed the status quo and don’t necessarily need to be “precious, dry-clean-only, exclusive, uncomfortable, or destructive.” époque creates durable products that function in multiple facets, empowering you to live your life with ease and in comfort.
In order to maintain a responsible production process, Nancy and Hanna make it a point to be involved in every step of the production. The team understands the importance of sustainable development and uses organic and upcycled materials that are able to limit waste and the carbon footprint from their collections. Choosing components and processes that avoid the negative impact of fast-fashion plays a critical role in the development of their products, and the human element of the workers who make their garments is just as important.
“We are working with manufactures who uphold the highest labor standards and treat their employees extremely well, and we understand the importance of educating our customers on exactly what we are doing.”
Furthering their efforts to develop responsibly, époque has created a handcrafted line with limited run pieces made of renewable materials. With the artisan line, époque has created a give-back program by partnering with build ON and Center For Domestic Peace, donating 20% of proceeds from the collection to empower and support women.
Previously working at both small boutiques and massive corporations, Nancy and Hannah understand how various companies manage development and didn’t want to use the same tools that once frustrated them. Past experiences working with PLM systems had been cumbersome, all of which were not intuitive to designers. Nancy and Hannah knew that in order to create a responsible brand that can scale quickly, it is of necessity to own their development process.
“It was to our benefit to start out with a system that would allow us to scale”.
From the beginning, Nancy and Hannah decided they needed Backbone to streamline their development efforts. Acting as the catch-all for their product information, Backbone manages materials, trims, and measurements across their entire product line which in turn has led to increased accuracy in material and construction consistency by over 30%.
“It’s our process, we use it for everything from figuring out how much we need to buy to figuring out if our design details are consistent across the board, to looking at our assortment as a whole.”
When operating as a small team, consistency and process is the key to success. époque chose to streamline their process from the start of their company, and by doing so, they have eliminated unnecessary app management, allowing for easy scalability and trackable data throughout the production process. Knowing that Backbone is the most flexible solution on the market that can be form-fitted to their product development process, the époque évolution team was able to focus on design instead of getting stuck in the trenches of product management and factory communication. Époque évolution has cut travel costs annually by over 50% by managing their vendor communication through Backbone, opposed to the 4x they’d spend travelling to Europe and back every season.
Acting as the one stop shop for everything development related, Backbone has given Nancy and Hannah time back to them so they can focus on building their brand. Époque évolution is showing traditional apparel companies that there’s a different way to do the fashion industry by tying the maker to the product.