Who isn't on the constant lookout for versatile trousers, especially now that tailored sportswear is becoming such a strong trend? AELLA designer Eunice Cho is hoping to fill the void by making shopping for the perfect pant easy. Her minimalist creations are focused on fabric and fitted with precision, and with a career history that includes working for brands like Kiki de Montparnasse and artists like Wangechi Mutu, she has a uniquely versatile background. We spoke to the Yale grad to find out more about starting from the bottom.
theFashionSpot: Can you tell us a little bit about your background prior to launching your own brand?
Eunice Cho: I studied painting in school, so while the savvier girls were interning during the summers at fashion houses, I was attending art camp in various remote parts of the Northeast. My first foray into fashion was when I decided to go into visual merchandising after having worked for a terrific painter/artist, Wangechi Mutu. Working at Kiki de Montparnasse got me really interested in the business of fashion, so after three years with the company, I moved to L.A. to go to business school.
tFS: At what point did you decide now was the right time to launch and can you tell us about the initial steps?
EC: I don’t think there’s ever a perfect time to launch a new business. That said, I was in school while the idea for creating the perfect pants struck, and it was a very exploratory phase in my life. The business happened very organically. I took my time to develop the product because getting the fit right was really important and I knew I had a lot to learn. Pants are very technical! I was splitting my time between my day job, school and AELLA, so it was a very progressive buildup to the launch.
tFS: What were the issues you saw with most pants on the market?
EC: I just wanted two things from pants: great-looking butt and stretch that doesn’t turn into sag. I love leggings, but those are the farthest things you want to wear when you want to look polished and professional. At the same time, I think the professional dress code is evolving to be more casual. I don’t need to wear wool suits anymore — and I find wool incredibly itchy. I wanted a hybrid between leggings and trousers.
tFS: How have you worked to perfect tailoring?
EC: The biggest focus is on the fabric. It’s a very innovative, technical fabric that stretches and molds to your body. But it isn’t flimsy; it also holds you in and smoothes you out. Aside from that, there are no shortcuts to sharp tailoring; it’s about going through as many fittings as needed to get to proportions that work!
tFS: What specific things did you learn working for brands like Kiki de Montparnasse that have helped you with your own brand?
EC: I always think about the importance of your niche and perspective. Kiki de Montparnasse was very special in that it was able to elevate an “intimacy" concept into something elegant and beautiful. There’s nothing new under the sun, so what makes your concept different is not the product itself, but your perspective that is funneled into the product.
tFS: What are some of the biggest day-to-day challenges with running your own brand?
EC: That there are only 24 hours in a day! Time and money are both limited, so you have to be creative in getting the most mileage out of everything you do.
tFS: Any tips for shopping for pants online or when you don't have time to try things on?
EC: Take advantage of free returns and know your measurements! E-commerce shops are very sophisticated nowadays; everyone provides measurements and some even provide information on how their products compare to other brands. If you know your jean size, that also helps. Order two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit.