AN ÉPOQUE ÉVOLUTION
Founders of Époque Évolution Bring Classic Style and Ease to Responsible Manufacturing
During a trip to Morocco, Hannah Franco admired her friend Nancy Taylor’s ability to pack necessary clothing items that were stylish yet functional into a single backpack and wear them without the need for pressing or washing.
“It was the fact that she stuck to a color palette, which I think is brilliant. She chose transition pieces that you could dress up or down,” Franco said. “The athletic apparel that she brought were things that you could easily style to look more like streetwear. She needed such a small space in her pack, and she was able to travel light.”
So in January 2018, Franco and Taylor launched Époque Évolution in Northern California’s Bay Area with an 800-square-foot office in Mill Valley, Calif.
“We travel every day—we travel from work to workout to a night out,” Taylor said. “We would walk down the street and see women carrying three backpacks for their day. In your normal day, what you do is you leave the house, have a ton of stuff for your full day and you have multiple needs during the day.”
Époque Évolution was founded to bring premium, low-maintenance, responsibly made essentials to women who love to travel or are simply busy with their daily lives. Through their clothing, Franco and Taylor are allowing women to dress stylishly and comfortably without packing every garment from their closets.
“There is no reason you can’t be chic and eco,” Franco said.
Franco and Taylor noted that they are focusing on promoting “responsibility” in apparel by making pieces with a Portuguese manufacturing partner that follows fair-employment practices and an Italian textile mill that adheres to sustainable practices. Using dead stock and working with San Francisco manufacturer Rebecca Cahua of Designing a Difference helps the company support a circular economy.
“We’re not stating that we’re the gold standard. What we’re stating is that we’re taking our best step forward in what we feel are best practices of acting in a responsible way of working in the apparel business,” Taylor explained. “We have lofty aspirations to change the industry.”
Époque Évolution produces its pieces in small batches. While it is primarily a direct-to-consumer business, the brand participates in pop-up shops with select retailers. Once pieces are released, if the customer demand for a certain product is high, Franco and Taylor simply decide to produce more.
“Our Jet Set Trouser is the most versatile pant that we make. It’s made out of a beautiful fabric that is super soft and has a high spandex content,” said Franco. “It has an incredible ability to dry quickly.”
Époque Évolution uses fabric from reclaimed fish nets and old carpets to make its Orion legging, which is sophisticated but also activewear worthy and dries quickly—as the women discovered when paddleboarding.
Another responsibly sourced fiber that the brand relies on for its designs is merino wool, which Franco and Taylor use across seasons. The line includes pieces using fabric that is certified non-mulesed wool and wovens from dead stock created with a merino wool recycled polyester blend.
“We love using fabrics such as merino wool due to their sustainable properties. It’s a renewable resource and a natural fiber, so it’s biodegradable,” Franco explained. “All the performance attributes of a merino are phenomenal due to thermoregulation, so it keeps you cool in the summertime when it’s hot and warm in the wintertime when it’s cool.”
This May, the company will drop its next collection, which includes classic organic-cotton, long-sleeved and sleeveless white shirts. The new collection also has a top, skirt and bottom, each of which are named “The One” as Franco and Taylor feel they will be the only “one” that women need to create an outfit true to the Époque Évolution mission.
Époque Évolution was a solid fit for Boston boutique For Now, whose co-founderKaity Cimo felt the female-founded brand offered chic, versatile pieces for core customers, who range in age from 30 to 45.
“We love to work with brands that have a really great online presence. We’re a bricks-and-mortar store, but it’s always helpful if customers can check online, especially if they haven’t heard of a brand before,” explained Cimo, who carried the brand last year and hopes to offer it again. “Customers can throw the pieces in a suitcase, wear them a few times while they’re away—rather than once—but they are also great for the office as well.”
Retail pricing for the brand ranges from $68 to $550. Currently, Époque Évolution is sized from 2 to 12, 14 or 16 and XS to XL.
The brand will introduce size 0 for the Jet Set Trouser’s next release and hopes to have petite and tall options within the next 12 months.
In addition to its online presence at epoqueevolution.com, the brand can be found at select retailers and will unveil its first independent pop-up in San Francisco at the end of April.