“I started researching eco-fabrics [and] became captivated by how affordable revived fabric was in relation to other eco-fabrics,” he told Ecouterre. “I was getting all of these ideas in my head about looks that I could design using the revived fabrics to bring down costs.”
Choosing to keep the collection direct-to-consumer also helps trim overhead expenses and keep retail prices realistic. “At Aeon Row, we think sustainability is a way to save customers money, not an excuse to tack on a markup,” Vanze said.
“At Aeon Row, we think sustainability is a way to save customers money, not an excuse to tack on a markup,” Vanze said.
Aeon Row’s revived fabric hails from Recover Textiles in California, where it’s knit from a 50-50 blend of recycled cotton and recycled polyester. All pieces for the Boston-based company are cut and sewn in Massachusetts, where Vanze and his team make a game out of reusing packaging.
“Each time we reuse a box, we attach a sticker to it to let the customer receiving the package know how many times it has been used,” he said. “It’s exciting to challenge ourselves and our community of customers to see how many times we can reuse a box.”
Aeon Row’s designs take a similar less-is-more route, Vanze said. Their minimalist shapes are informed, in part, by the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, his favorite architect.
“We call our look ‘low-stress cool,'” he said. “For all of our designs, we start with a classic look and then iterate to give it unique details. The goal is to achieve clothing that is striking enough to stand out while also being a solid go-to item you can wear for a long time and it won’t look dated.”
Another of Aeon Row’s defining traits is its “Alternative Endings” program, which allows customers to send in an unwanted item of clothing in exchange for 15 percent off a future purchase.
Gently used items are donated, via organizations like Donii, to local charities that can use them. Everything else gets sent to Recover Textiles, which recycles castoffs into new materials using a process that uses neither water nor chemicals and generates near-zero emissions.
Coming full circle, Aeon Row intends to branch out into menswear in the near future.
“We want to expand to men’s clothing sometime next year, if for no other reason than I want men’s clothes for myself,” Vanze said. “When we originally built out our business plan, we saw that the biggest market opportunity was for women’s clothing, but since we’ve launched, a lot of men have reached out to us and asked, ‘When will you be making clothing for men?’ So men’s clothing is also a priority for us moving forward.”