What’s your purpose for dressing up at home? Is it to still the restlessness that comes with missing being part of a crowd or to erode the divide between comfort and power dressing?
Eco-conscious and genderless fashion label EC, a collaboration between designers Eustacia “Stacy” Rodriguez and Carlos del Prado, dropped its second collection called Volume 2. With comfort as their holy grail, the new collection features relaxed three-button shirts and drawstring bottoms—all using lightweight materials made to be worn all day.
“The clothes we’ve come up with here took a bit of time, mostly in part because of how the world changed,” the designers shared on Instagram.
A year ago, Preen.PH was able to have a chat with the designers on slow fashion and their creative process. We are able to once again sit down with them (virtually!) to talk about Volume 2.
What’s the collection about?
Stacy: It’s about mixing the idea of itching to travel the world but being at ease with staying in—if that makes any sense.
Carlos: Clothes that work staying put but also outside, when you have to be outside. Times are strange.
Did you design this during quarantine? How did that context—staying home, not being able to attend or hold events—affect your design perspective?
Stacy: We were already thinking about this way before the lockdown but we kept getting held back because we had to respond quickly to the pandemic by helping out with PPE production and producing re-wearable masks. I think the collection ended up being more fun in terms of color and fabric, strangely because of the stay at home thing.
We got nostalgic for life pre-pandemic and excited for what could come after. However, it did force us to set aside certain ideas because they didn’t seem applicable to the way of life now. The biggest priority was for everything to stay easy-to-wear and comfortable no matter what.
Carlos: I think the term “pivot” is used quite regularly now—seeing as we all had to do it in some way or another, as best as we could. We had ideas for what we wanted to do next, but then everything got turned on its head. We tried to build clothes around not having anywhere to go. But if you did, you were definitely ready to go.
We read somewhere that this is a genderless concept. How would you define masculine and feminine design? How does this collection evade that binary?
Stacy: When Carlos and I started dating, one of our first dates was to work on a pair of pants we would both wear and that’s how it all started. We liked the idea of couples sharing clothes and we always design things with that in mind—that either one of us would wear them. [What made it] more interesting [is] that he’s skinnier than me. I know some men who wouldn’t dare date someone who was “bigger” than them and on the opposite side of things, I know women who would be horrified by the idea as well.
To be honest, dating and making clothes with Carlos has made me more comfortable with my body AND my style. I guess I just really love that in EC, we design clothes that disregard “his or hers.” Here are some cute clothes. Who the f*ck cares who’ll wear them?!
Carlos: The line between “menswear” and “womenswear” just gets blurrier and blurrier. So, why not push that agenda? Granted, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We just want to make stuff the two of us are comfortable in. And I think that a lot of this fits into what people are definitely wearing—looser, easier wearing pieces.
We start to see that people are willing to try the relaxed silhouettes because let’s face it, we’ve got to try out other things now that we don’t have as many things to do. Get creative. Get out of the box. Do SOMETHING because, my god, there’s not much else to do. We might as well see if clothes we never thought we could wear might actually work out for us.
Where would you wear this?
Stacy: ANYWHERE. Even to bed.
Carlos: Dinners out. Bus trips out of town. Long nights out. Reading books in a comfy chair. I could go on, but a lot of the scenarios involve trying the clothes out in different places, so we’ll wait for that. Especially since the clothes were made for home but also with places in mind like the beach, for example. My god, I miss the beach.
How have your clients been interacting with your brand? In terms of what they’re looking for in fit, cut, design, material—has it changed considerably over the past six months?
Stacy: We’ve had pretty personal interactions with our clients because we didn’t have an online platform other than Instagram until the other day.
For Volume 1, we observed what our friends liked to spend on—good jackets and nice trousers! But in Volume 2, being stuck at home, we just wanted nice clothes to roll around in and make us feel better about the world.
Carlos: Mostly Instagram, but we just set up an online shop and that’s new for us. So, we’re sort of migrating and sorting out that whole new thing. It’s been fun to see who comes along. People still do get in touch via Instagram. We welcome questions and conversations. They’re always fun, for the most part.
Materials for Volume 2 are definitely much softer, and the colors are louder—more fun, compared to Volume 1.
Who are the coolest people who’ve worn your brand? These are easy, comfy clothing—what about people who love posting thirst traps?
S : THEY’LL ALWAYS FIND A WAY!!!
C : I’m just happy that people respond to the clothes. That’s a great rush of dopamine right there. As for the thirst traps, [like you said], kaya yan. We have a shirt that has 3 buttons, that ain’t much. Dali lang.
You can shop the collection on EC’s newly launched website.