With new offices in Greenpoint and a CFDA-backed pop-up store set for July, the designers behind the label Timo are crafting an installation for Renaissance’s new hotel in Manhattan.
Timo Weiland, Donna Kang and Alan Eckstein are selecting photographs, mood boards, dress forms and other sources of inspiration from their design studio for the June 2 launch party. “They want to show what a garment center studio looks and feels like — dress forms, samples, fabrics,” Weiland said. “We found the project to be really fascinating and the project came together pretty organically. The garment center was our home for five years and we still have some production there.”
Perhaps inspired by the Ace Hotel, which is big on communal spaces for creatives, the Renaissance is trying to play to fashion types in the garment center. To encourage visitors to explore the area, a digitally enhanced wall with sensors that responds to human movement will be the Renaissance’s virtual concierge by highlighting neighborhood experiences and attractions.
Timo is discussing the potential of similar projects at other Renaissance properties in St. Louis and other cities that are trying to revive their underutilized downtown areas and nightlife, Weiland said. To do their part for the New York opening, he and Eckstein will be among the DJ sets, along with Alexandra Richards, Harley Viera-Newton and DJ Franco V and Elle Dee. Wyclef Jean and The Knocks will be performing at the hotel at 218 West 35th Street. And, in what Renaissance refers to as “guest navigatorism,” photographer Kevin Mazur will shoot VIPs and chef Andrew Zimmern is developing some unusual food experiences.
Hotels are an increasingly important ingredient to the neighborhood’s commercialism and off-hours foot traffic, attracting nearly 900,000 visitors each year. There are 33 hotels in the area and 20 more are in the pipeline, according to Garment District Alliance president Barbara Blair Randall.
In their new Greenpoint design studio, Weiland and his team have their own multifaceted photo studio that they are also leasing to others. On July 11, they will unveil the company’s first store for a three-month run at 330 Hudson Street. Through a partnership between the CFDA and Cadillac, Timo will be the first of 10 designers to participate in the Retail Lab on the ground floor of Cadillac’s headquarters. The set-up will have an open format and it will include a Joe coffee bar. Along with midcentury furniture, the 1,000-square-foot space will have a high-tech spin “with a very innovative point-of-sale area,” though Weiland declined to provide more details.
Timo’s e-commerce business is gaining ground and will be incorporated into the retail business. Friendly with Bonobos founder Andy Dunn, Weiland said he is exploring ideas along the lines of Bonobos’ concept of using a store for shoppers to try on items that are later shipped to them.
Weiland recently returned from performing with the composer and multi-instrumentalist Jay Wadley at the Sweetlife Festival, an annual outdoor music event organized by the Daniel Boulud and Danny Meyer-backed salad chain Sweetgreen. Grimes, Blondie, Mac DeMarco, EODM and Flum also performed at last weekend’s event in Columbia, Md. Weiland will continue to work with Wadley, whose arrangements have been performed by Rufus Wainwright, the Royal Ballet, New York City Opera and other groups.
Having started his career at Deutsche Bank in mergers and acquisitions for media, technology and telecommunications, Weiland said the work ethic that he learned helped prepare him for his many pursuits. He said it was almost like being a Navy Seal. “‘How much can you take? How long can you last?’ It was definitely a challenge in every way.”