5 things to know about this KC undergrad's growing fashion brand
Looking at some of the shots from his lookbook, It may surprise you to know that Easton Koch launched his first apparel collection last November while still in college. Having successfully delivering his first line to great reception, the senior William Jewell basketball player looks to continue to grow his brand, Easton K., with a spring collection coming this March.
Here are five things to know about the emerging KC designer.
1. He learned through hard work, YouTube, and a supportive professor
“I took a class called ‘The Creative Process’ with my professor, Landon Young, and he really supported everything I was doing,” says Koch.
“I pretty much just had this notebook full of clothing sketches, but [Professor Young] loved it. He bought me a sewing machine and said, ‘Make your favorite… whatever-it-is! Whatever those pieces are, bring me ten final products. Get them produced, do the branding, and that’ll be your final grade.’”
From there, Koch became obsessed with perfecting his product.
“I didn’t go to a fancy design school.” He says. “Instead, I spent as much time as I could on actually learning the fabrics and sewing. I was on YouTube constantly; that’s probably where I learned the most. I probably made ten pairs of jeans that sucked before I finally had a pair I was proud of, and that was a huge moment for me.”
2. His next line will be American-manufactured
“The last collection was produced by a Peruvian factory,” says Koch, “And that led to some problems (laughs).”
“Communication was an issue -- we ended up not hearing from them for weeks or even months at a time. At the end of the day, I had to push back the launch a few months. People were asking me, ‘When’s this gonna happen, man?’ and I couldn’t really say for sure. ‘Maybe a couple weeks, maybe a month,’ I’d tell them.”
“This time around,” he says, “We’re using a factory in New York.”
“It’s a big change. We went from essentially rarely getting a response to same-day contact. Plus, they can guarantee we’ll have the product when we need it.”
3. His collections are a lesson in functional minimalism
While Koch has printed merch that one might find from a streetwear brand, his cut-and-sewn garments distinguish the brand as a true-blue fashion label. Modern interpretations of staples like the leather jacket and trouser -- presented in his previous collection as suitable for any gender, or none -- highlight Koch’s appreciation for the fundamentals.
“I want to make small runs of comfortable, stripped-down pieces that live life with you. There shouldn’t be too many pieces.”
Koch’s approach encapsulates a single, versatile wardrobe. “You could own just these pieces and be OK,” he says.
4. He hates trends
“I don’t follow trends,” says Koch. “I honestly hate them. People can go hit up Zara or H&M or ASOS and grab something on-trend that’s low quality because those stores are just ripping off runway stuff and making it for cheap. I’m not really into runway designs -- they’re not made for actual people to wear.”
This attitude stems from Koch’s desire to keep things simple and focused. “I don’t need to have a million different outfits. If you look at my closet, it’s not much. I just keep a few pieces that speak to me, and I think that’s how it should be.”
“I’m inspired by Japanese fashion, which is rooted in mastery of the basics. Sometimes it’s just one piece for the whole season that’s done extremely well -- that’s the method I’d like to follow.”
5. His favorite piece ever has “drawn-in pockets”
“When I was working on this off-white denim trucker jacket for my last collection, I made this really raggedy sample that ended up looking unfinished,” he says.
“I was getting better at sewing at the time, and I literally did not know how to make welt pockets on the inside. So, I Sharpied in where the pockets should be and labeled them. At the end of the day, the lining was exposed, it had threads everywhere, but this friend of mine wanted it because of that character and he still wears it today,” Koch says.
“Every time I see it on him when we’re out and about, it makes me feel amazing. I ended up dubbing it a ‘process piece,’ and it’s still my favorite garment to this day.”
Easton K.’s spring collection will be out in March, so be on the lookout for the new line and accompanying launch party. For any of you would-be designers or creatives, Koch left us with some advice:
“Do it the way you want, even if it seems like it’s already been done. It’s about you. Your brand is what sets you apart.”
You can find Koch’s clothing line and lookbook at eastonk.com