Founded in 2011 by Pratt Alumni David J. Krause and Nina Zilka, Alder New York is a Brooklyn-Based lifestyle brand that provides men and women with casual luxury goods. For Alder New York, casual luxury is defined by smart design; comfortable and practical materials; and local, skilled, craftsmanship. Making sure that everyone involved with the workings of the company is being treated well is inherent to the brand, which is why they choose to produce in New York City. This ethos extends from their menswear line to their line of all natural apothecary goods.
A few days ago WWD announced the nominations for Fashion Group International Rising Star Award. In the Menswear category Alder New York, Alexander Nash and Salence. While we wait for the winner announcement on January 27th at Cipriani in NYC we spoke with Pratt Alumni David J. Krause and Nina Zilka, founders of Brooklyn based brand: Alder New York.
As we heard you have been best friends and design partners for more than 8 years. What brought you together? What was the first thing that caught your attention about your partner?
David and I met our first year as fashion design students at Pratt. He caught my attention since he was making the best work in the class and had good taste in music. David thought I was “suspiciously nice.”
Whose idea was to name the label “Alder”? What does it symbolize for you?
We wanted a name that felt classic and that people wouldn’t always have to ask how to spell. And the Alder tree is a tree that is especially beneficial to environment around it, and we like the sound of that for our company.
What has been the most challenging thing since you’ve started Alder? And what is the most rewarding?
The most challenging thing is sticking in there when things get tough and trusting our instincts even when we don’t see an immediate result as business owners. The most rewarding is when it actually DOES work out and we can clearly see the results of our hard work.
Do you have a specific inspiration process you share at the moment of starting a new collection?
We always start with the man who wears our clothes and put him in an environment or situation and design from there.
As seen in your previous collections, the focus on classic tailoring is always present. How would you describe your connection with traditional menswear?
We are rooted in traditional menswear. We care about practicality and we always hold on to that even when we design from our millennial point of view. Our clothes are relevant for now but have the same quality and logic that menswear has always had.
What was the concept behind SS15?
We were inspired by surf wear and the sporty cut lines and details of wetsuits combined with traditional menswear.
What other fashion figures or labels inspire you and why?
We’re really inspired by classic American sportswear brands like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger. We see ourselves as the new American sportswear label, following in their tradition.
What would be for Alder the dream come true?
Our dream is to really expand our lifestyle business to include womenswear and home-goods.
How do you see Alder’s growing direction in the next five years?
Heading closer and closer to our goal above!
Favorite fabric to work with
NINA: Cotton twill.
First thought when you wake up
NINA: What am I eating?
DAVID: Is it really time to wake up already?
Summer or Winter?
Uptown or Downtown?
DAVID: Mexican Coca-Cola
When I grow up I want to be…
DAVID: who I’ve already become.