Young North Texas designer’s stylishly affordable clothing line takes flight
The story behind the name of new clothing line Clan of Cro says a lot about designer Kendall Eckerd’s style — and her squad goals.
The anecdote: When Eckerd lived in Los Angeles, she had a friend — a British guy — who used the slang term “birds” when referring to women. But he had a particular name for women who looked more unique. He dubbed them “crows.”
“I thought it was really weird, but I really liked it,” Eckerd says. “So for me, the name Clan of Cro is a group of odd and interesting women.”
Eckerd, a wunderkind at only 22 years old, describes the designs in Clan of Cro’s debut collection as “casual occasion wear.” Her pieces are simple, yet anything but basic. Take the typical striped top. Eckerd boosts the neckline and adds kimono sleeves. A romper has raw edges and a neck so wide, it’s almost off the shoulders.
Not only is it chic, but it’s also affordable. Most of the pieces in the Clan of Cro line are priced under $100, with the highest-ticket items topping out at $112. “It’s important to me to not insanely mark up everything and compete with my favorite designers,” Eckerd says. “I want well-designed pieces that you can afford.”
To up the affordability and eco-friendly quotients, much of the Clan of Cro line is made with deadstock textiles, the leftovers a mill or factory would otherwise toss. Utilizing deadstock means each Clan of Cro collection is limited. Once Eckerd runs out of a fabric — say, the rust-colored silk that makes up the bell-sleeved Marie top — there’s no going back for more.
The upside to a limited collection, of course, is that the Clan of Cro consumer is unlikely to bump into another woman wearing the same thing at the next art gallery opening.
“When I’m planning on going to an event, I think of ways that I can stand out but still feel comfortable,” Eckerd says. “I’ve always been sort of quiet, so I’ve always let clothing speak for me.”
Eckerd spent her formative years in Plano before drifting west. She attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, where she also worked as a stylist and learned the ins and outs of running a business as an assistant designer for a ready-to-wear brand.
Since moving back to Texas in 2013, Eckerd has pursued many creative interests: co-founding an arts website, selling her illustrations plus jewelry she handcrafts with clay, and learning how to produce her own indie pop tunes. Though the latter, she notes, “is more of a hobby.”
It was this distinct creativity that earned Eckerd a CultureMap Stylemaker nomination in September of 2015, which was also around the time she left her day job as a social media director to put all of her energy into her fashion line.
For now, Eckerd makes the entire Clan of Cro collection herself in the 1943 Little Forest Hills home she shares with her fiancé, two cats, and two dogs. But as interest ramps up from boutiques in Dallas and Los Angeles, she will soon need to outsource and oversee.
And who knows what will happen after April 22, when Clan of Cro make its runway debut as part of Austin Fashion Week. Eckerd will likely have more birds joining her squad.
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