The Timo Weiland label is in transition.After eight years, the partners have sold the brand to a former minority partner and moved on to other projects. But it is expected to relaunch in 2019, according to cofounder Timo Weiland.Meanwhile, Weiland has teamed with technology entrepreneur Noah Gellman to create The Lead, an organization he describes as “part consulting, part executive networking.” The new company is intended to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley venture-capital-based start-ups and fashion industry firms.Alan Eckstein, cofounder and design director of Timo Weiland, has started Everyone Wins, a business that creates sustainable apparel by redesigning overstock. And the third partner, Donna Kang, is focusing on the Timo Weiland x Zenni optical collaboration as designer and director and is also style director of Crowne Plaza, according to her LinkedIn page. In September, the Timo Weiland brand was retained to redesign the uniforms for InterContinental Hotels Group and its Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts.Weiland said the three continue to be partners in TAD, a creative agency that is focusing on Crowne Plaza, as well as the optical business. Eckstein’s new venture is unrelated to TAD.“We’re still partners,” he said, calling Eckstein and Kang “two of the most talented design minds out there.” Project I, which bought a 25 percent stake in Timo Weiland in 2015, is the owner of the brand and will work with TAD to relaunch the collection next year through a licensing deal.But for now, Weiland’s energies are centered around The Lead.“I have a love and appreciation for the industry,” Weiland said, “but I think The Lead will be more impactful.”The Lead will track and curate emerging technology from Silicon Valley and present the findings to fashion brands and retailers to help them run their businesses more efficiently. “We interview start-ups, founders, venture capitalists and chief executive officers and create an innovation list that we recommend to our members,” Weiland explained. Companies or individuals pay a membership fee to join and are provided with three lists a year that have been curated by The Lead.Gellman said that will include the Defiant 25, which will be issued in June, and highlight the top executives “taking chances and embracing technology.” There will also be a list of the top 50 direct-to-consumer brands, and another that will rank the top 100 business-to-business companies. “These will be tech companies that are living under the hood, but are really the engine that powers innovation,” he explained.Additionally, The Lead will host four networking breakfasts a year to facilitate a “conversation” between technology and fashion firms. The first will be held in New York on March 8 and will feature Katie Finnegan, principal and founder of Store No. 8, an incubation arm for Walmart.Gellman said this business model exists in other industries, but not in fashion.The Lead recommends firms in all aspects of the industry, including marketing, e-commerce, payments, customer experience, fulfillment, in-store, textiles, sustainability and other topics. They will service all manners of the fashion industry, from luxury to mass.
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