The trend of real estate developers teaming with fashion designers to give their apartments an edge in a competitive market started in Miami, spread to Manhattan and has reached Staten Island and New Jersey.
After the designer label Timo Weiland dipped its toes in the hotel world by designing uniforms for the staff at the Crowne Plaza brand in the Americas, it has become the latest brand to jump on the residential bandwagon.
The label’s creative trio — Timo Weiland, Alan Eckstein and Donna Kang — has designed the lifeguard uniforms for Urby, the rental company that has buildings in Staten Island; Jersey City, and Harrison, N.J., and are jam-packed with amenities including outdoor pools.
Described by Weiland as having a “Wes Anderson-meets-Flamingo Kid” vibe, the lifeguard uniforms are composed of “sporty and preppy, yet quirky” vibrant neon shorts paired with athletic short-sleeved Ts.
“I actually used to be a lifeguard, so I loved working on it because it was like a return to my roots, so to speak,” he told WWD. “We had a lot of fun doing this project, injecting a lot of color, texture and detail, trims and piping and embroidered hats.”
He’s not the first designer to get a slice of the residential real estate pie. In Miami, developer David Martin, president and cofounder of Miami-based Terra Group, enlisted husband-and-wife design team Isabel and Ruben Toledo to create a collection of uniforms for staff at the Grove at Grand Bay, a pair of luxury residential towers in Coconut Grove.
In New York, the Moinian Group, developer of the high-end rental tower Sky in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, has outfitted the building’s employees in Theory suits.
Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive officer of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, said the trend is part of the residential real estate sector’s “amenities arms race,” where developers constantly try to outdo each other with what they offer tenants and homeowners.
“It really reflects an attention to detail that is mandatory when a project is trying to define itself as being a standout in a crowded market,” according to Miller.