Ebru Ercon is a designer with experience at her eponymous label, New Power Studio and ghosting/consulting for many big labels. Her latest project sees her once again lend her eye to sportswear, monikered WORK OUT LIFE.
Together with fashion marketing wiz, Rebecca Quade, known fondly to Ercon as 'Becks', the two have produced a brand that reacts to the needs of modern women, who want to be able to exercise in new, innovative textiles without the baggage of unflattering apparel. Ercon spoke to Dazed Digital about her latest venture and why being eco-aware is a necessity the fashion industry hasn't yet woken up to.
Dazed Digital: How do you approach designing sportswear, considering it has to be practical and not just aesthetically pleasing?
Ebru Ercon: The approach is similar to any kind of design proposition. It is about problem solving and trying to create a line and form that 'works' for the body and the eye. Rebecca Quade and I have similar aesthetics and we love the process whereby we can create something that is dynamic and also beautiful. It's great because the designers that inspire me were inspired by woman moving. Jean Patou designed for the tennis players of the 1920s and through that shift in women's freedom and movement ready-to-wear collections were born. With Becks she really comes from a place of working out all the time so she knows what's missing in the market, and wants to create a product that works. It's a good team approach!
DD: The brand has a strong eco-focus. Do you consider it important the fashion industry takes charge of its ecological footprint?
Ebru Ercon: Absolutely. We have 30-40% of our range made in organic cotton yarns and we work with suppliers that share our views on the future of the planet. We are trying our hardest to push change and adapt our processes to try and work around the archaic aspects of this industry. The consumer has been spoilt with fast and cheap fashion but this is not feasible for our planet's future. Consumers need really think about their purchases. If a t-shirt is sold for £1 retail price then someone, somewhere is suffering for you to buy that t-shirt for £1– there is no way that you can be earth conscious and buy garments for non realistic prices.
DD: Considering your prior work with Puma and New Power Studio, how does this sportswear aesthetic differ?
Ebru Ercon: New Power Studio with Thom Murphy was about the fun and humour in sportswear, and really focused on its street. We enjoyed the connotations of the tracksuit and British street style elements. Also we were proposing unisex collections, it was about collaborating with a stylist's aesthetic and a designer's aesthetic and trying to propose a story. With Rebecca at WORK OUT LIFE it is a different proposition and much more linked to how women dress and how we can make women's lives easier, and have them still feel sexy and fashionable. WORK OUT LIFE is definitely progressive and I would say very challenging to us and the design process. [I'm] not so sure the audience is as different as it seems. Audiences are much harder to pigeonhole these days. The internet means that you can be reading news stories about war in Syria and then one minute later be shopping for underwear!
DD: How do you think want this project to progress?
Ebru Ercon: Rebecca and I want change retail and work against the barriers that can stop this industry from being progressive. We also want to encourage a good body image amongst women and help them to feel comfortable with their bodies, because I think it is a negative body image that keeps us obsessed with our external visual messages and not our internal power.