When you debut the world's first 3D woven clothing, you better do it with panache. That's why we partnered with the inimitable designers at Eckhaus Latta for our first ever Vega collection. The goal was to develop pairs of pants that pushed the limits of our 3D weaving tech while testing the definition of what a pant even is —and to wildly enjoy doing both.
This collab isn't out of nowhere. Paradigm shifts are ingrained in our mutual ethos, and Eckhaus Latta has been at the forefront of American fashion since its inception. With novel clothing patterns and (to put it mildly) unconventional approaches to modeling and advertising, the label has vividly demonstrated new aesthetic possibilities for articles of clothing and understandings of beauty for the person donning them.
Uncoincidentally, Eckhaus Latta accesses its expressive power through the medium of unexpected materials. Using deadstock materials that can be made into wearables, its designers have been able to produce innovative looks sustainably by regarding resourcefulness as a means to reinvention.
In our collaboration for NYFW SS24, we and Eckhaus Latta saw an opportunity to facilitate that resourcefulness. And to facilitate it very fast.
Vega is our 3D weaving machine. It’s built on the premise that any yarn can be woven into a tube, in this case, a pant leg with a twill weave. And by any yarn, imagine any thing spun into or resembling a cord. That includes cotton, polyester, rayon, leather, and (yup) disused plastics.
To create the collection, Zoe Latta, one of the label’s two eponymous lead designers, and her team flew from LA to Oakland for an onsite at our microfactory. Here, in the high ceilinged studio, they worked alongside our cofounder and CPO Beth Esponnette in the design process hands-on.
That process took days rather than weeks. That's because we didn't do things by the book. We didn't order fabric samples from factories abroad and wait for them to arrive. We didn't need to.
Vega output samples on the spot in minutes. That's part of what we mean by very fast: eliminating the distance between ideation and execution.
This is how Zoe and her team iterated on each product in the collection in real time. As a concept took perfected form, we programmed that design in Vega for future production. From there, all it takes to make a pair of pants is the right yarn and 30 minutes ("very fast").
And what were they designing? Pants modeled on Eckhaus Latta’s wide leg silhouette, and featuring their iconic L-shaped back pockets. Eckhaus decided to call the products in the collection jeans because, technically, they are: each pant leg features the same type of weave as the denim of a pair of blue jeans. Only, these jeans are made to test the definition of what a pant even is. Remember?
Culturally, the wide leg style is of its moment. True to being resourceful, these particular wide legs are largely of their surroundings. The many spools of cotton yarn and plastic tape we had lying around the microfactory informed the collection's direction. Think of a blue plastic tarp, but fashioned as a pair of jeans. This combination of cotton and plastic tape has especial significance for Eckhaus Latta: it's a throwback to their very first collection from 10 years ago.
We played around with using Rexlace as well. Not to mention twine from our local hardware store. The point was to probe what woven patterns, visual attributes, and color palettes were possible using Vega. And to reaffirm the magic for which Eckhaus Latta is known, of devising a piece of clothing that is oddly familiar, yet surprisingly personal.
In the meantime, you can read about the big picture meaning of our collab by Halie LeSavage in Harper’s BAZAAR and Alyssa Hardy for Teen Vogue. Oh, and make sure to pause on the runway photos in Vogue: what you’re seeing is the future of apparel. Not bad for reinvention.