Epoque Evolution’s Super Smart Wardrobe
Two local designers have created a line of high-performing—and chic—essentials.
Designers Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor
Photo by Collin Morrow
When designers and close friends Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco decided to launch Époque Évolution, their versatile and on-trend clothing line, they had a nonnegotiable wish list. The clothes must perform like workout gear but look polished. The fabrics must be wrinkle-proof, machine-washable, sustainably made, and feel good to wear. The pieces must be appropriate for all ages and seasons, and work together as a mix-and-match collection.
If that sounds like every active woman’s ideal wardrobe, well, it is.
“We’re like if Theory and Nike had a baby,” says the Oakland-based Franco, 36, a longtime yoga teacher. “Nancy and I are both really engaged in physical activity—it’s a huge part of our lives and design philosophy—but it’s not always cool to walk down the street in your yoga pants. I wanted stylish clothes that have the freedom of movement of my fitness wear.”
Taylor, 57, a passionate athlete who cycles an average of 30 miles a day, had similar thoughts. “Nobody had looked at the need for life-work-travel clothes,” she says. “That’s what I wanted for myself, so I figured other women did, too.”
Taylor and Franco met a decade ago, when both were designers at the women’s activewear brand Athleta. They remember having their aha moment during a trip to Morocco. “I was traveling with this big wheeler bag,” Taylor recalls, “and Hannah showed up with this little backpack. I was so impressed.” That got the pair thinking: Could they design a multipurpose wardrobe that could fit into a backpack? After brainstorming ideas, researching materials, and locating eco-friendly factories, they realized that, yes, they could.
In 2018, they launched Époque Évolution with a small, well-cut collection, mostly made of Italian fabrics and all in a neutral color palette. The flattering and forgiving pieces—slim trousers, work-to-play dresses, cozy knitwear, and more—have been a hit with consumers.
This spring, Franco and Taylor are introducing a mini collection called the One Series. “It’s five basic pieces made out of Econyl, which is a fantastic regenerated nylon fiber,” Taylor explains. “We’ve got leggings, a skirt, a crop top, a swim bottom, and a reversible dress. It’s like the perfect traveling kit, with everything you’d need for a fun, active weekend.”
And, of course, it all fits into a backpack—with room to spare. epoqueevolution.com.