After leaving American Apparel during the brand’s bankruptcy, two Los Angeles designers decided to start their own clothing line, EVERYBODY.WORLD. Iris Alonzo and Carolina Crespo launched the brand two years ago, under the philosophy of creating eco-friendly clothing in support of LA cotton farmers. Recently, they released a new fabric made from 100% recycled cotton. But their ethos doesn’t just stop there. The brand dedicates its collection to everyday people, by bringing their concepts to life and sharing the profits with them. We talked to one of the co-founders, Iris Alonzo, about the brand’s initial fruition and its growth in the future.
I was just looking at all the incredible press you guys have gotten.
Iris Alonzo, Co-Founder: We’ve been pretty lucky. After American Apparel, people were like, “ok, well now what?”
When did you both leave American Apparel, and when did you start EVERYBODY.WORLD?
It’s a long story but basically, they fired me once, but then they realized they fired the entire creative department so they re-hired me after 3 months. I left again in February 2015 and spent some time supporting the workers at American Apparel — they were like a family to us. I started thinking about the resources we have here in LA. Three months after I left in February, my now business partner Carolina, who was my colleague at American Apparel, was like, “well we got all the time in the world,” then this idea sort of formed and we decided to go for it. We started working actively on our company early to mid 2016 and then launched in November 2016.
What do you guys bring to EVERYBODY.WORLD that American Apparel didn’t have?
We were like, “if we are really gonna do this, if we’re gonna put the effort into creating a business, what would we do the same and what would we do differently?” This was many days and nights Carolina and I spent drawing things up, popping ideas around, vision boarding, and really thinking about it. The thing that bummed us out about American Apparel was all the waste involved with it. So, one of the two things we wanted to bring to the table was ecology and just thinking about every movement you make as a manufacturer, as a retailer, as a business person. How can you make the very best decisions possible for the planet? So that became one of our pillars. The second was ideas. Very few ideas are completely original at this point. So how do we make sure that the people that are putting the thought into it, are taken care of? Carolina and I developed a business model where 10% of the sale for each product designed by these everyday people, goes directly to them. So, everyone on our website that had designed something for us, we gave them the sales report every three months and a check or cash sometimes. It’s really about respecting ideas and making sure that people are appreciated for their creative contribution.
There’s a wholesomeness to it that I think is lacking in the world.
The beauty of it all is that it’s all real, every image you see on the website — that’s so beautiful to us.
There is this one contributor, Paloma who’s turning 14 next year and whose launching her product on her 14th birthday. I imagine someone finding this brand and being like, “oh my god I love Paloma she’s so cool, she’s just like me, I want to buy the things she designs.” So, what if the collaboration goes great with Paloma, then she turns 15 and the next thing you know she’s 10 years into this brand. Somehow Paloma has grown with us and the people that follow her have kind of grown with us, and that is a really interesting idea. This cross pollination of real people is a very moving thing for us. We really love it.
How does a brand like EVERYBODY.WORLD grow with an international audience?
We hope to work with more people, with contributors that are based in other places. Next year, we’re doing some swimwear with an artist that is Paris based, so we’d love to go there and have a sort of event. Another concept is, we wanted to develop this informal shop, and basically using whatever space that is available — could be the trunk of a car. We have this idea in our mind and suggesting that for later on in 2018. We would like to set up a program where people can get in touch with us like, “I love your brand, I think my friends would love your brand, I’m going to host an event at my place and I’m going to place an order from your website.” Then we send them a package and it could come with cocktails, with a music playlist or whatever, just really making an everybody-feeling vibe. People can have a shopping party in their homes and receive 10% of the sales or maybe get credit, who knows!
Do you think younger people would do that?
I think they could. I’m optimistic about it. I feel like people, as much as we are into our devices and living through this 2D digital version of reality, we’re also developing this need for human interaction. How do we use technology to bring these human experiences?
How much of what American Apparel is doing now is on your radar? Do you think there are similarities with what you guys do?
It was never in our minds to be the next American Apparel, that’s not our thing. Our thing was, “can we do something that is not screwing the planet or any of the people we’re working with? And can we pay our bills?” I think that there needs to be an EVERYBODY.WORLD. We need more people to make things ethically and sustainably, because that’s going to be the standard going forward. And eventually, the H&Ms, the Zaras, and all the giants of the world will catch up.