Monday, February 27, 2017

Why Eidos Is Ditching Italian Suits, Hitting the Skatepark, and Saving American Menswear

Eidos creative director Antonio Ciongoli is the most candid designer I’ve ever met. My first gig in the industry was as an intern for Eidos, and having assumed that fashion types tend towards innuendo, Antonio always surprised with his no-BS talk about what it was like to design in such a strange time for menswear. Guys were ditching suits en-masse (bad news for a brand started by Neapolitan tailoring house Isaia at the height of the suit-and-tie #menswear movement), fast fashion was killing department store sales, and social media was confusing the hell out of everybody. But by pivoting from tailoring to slouchy-sprezzy sportswear, Antonio has put Eidos on the (very) short list of exciting, successful New York-based menswear brands just a few years later. (This even though Antonio himself has all but abandoned the city for his home in New Jersey, telling me that “Every neighborhood has become the same.”) Given that the Fall-Winter 2017 collection, previewed exclusively here, is Antonio’s largest and most ambitious ever, I figured it was time to have another one of our frank discussions about the line, the business, and the industry.

The new collection is called “New York Blues.” Eidos has finally left Italy, huh? 

This time around I picked an inspiration that felt really right for where I want our brand to go. It’s just about good clothes, kind of funky fabrics, but we weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel at all. It was just about making cool stuff. I got a little bit caught up in my mind on how I felt that the collection—I thought a lot about how it should fit in with what else is happening in the market, and this season I didn’t think about that at all. I feel like everybody in New York with social media and everything has some level of fashion fatigue.

I would say that’s accurate to a certain extent.

I’m just tired of it, and season-after-season—I feel like I’m almost regressing back to high school and what I was into in high school. The skateboard thing crept in more this season than ever before. I’m out in New Jersey skating all the time and wearing Carharrts. That idea of utilitarian clothing was much more the focus this time around.

Is that why you guys skipped out on New York Fashion Week: Men’s this season? 

That was certainly part of it. We are in a weird spot where if you look at what’s happening in New York at least from a fashion perspective—we don’t really fit in with what’s going on here. And the idea of showing our collection in Milan or Paris timing-wise is super hard and otherwise doesn’t make a lot of sense. It comes around to the idea that we’re not a fashion brand. And I’m OK with that. These are clothes that are made to be worn a lot, forever, and not once for a street style photograph and then never again.

Is a “fashion brand” to you any line that’s too in-the-moment?

Yeah, and I just don’t see staying power in that. There are other brands that are doing things that I like that have a presence in New York that don’t do [NYFW: M] either. I think about Brendon [Babenzien] at Noah, and Brendon’s not doing a presentation. They’re just different goals, and it’s a huge investment of time and money to show, and when you’re so small I’d rather take that time and effort and put it towards making the product better. And then also creating content that will live longer than 10 minutes or whatever the presentation would be. 

by Samuel Hine, GQ |  Read more:
Image: uncredited