The World Needs More Positivity, Creativity, and Belief
Palacose is a clothing brand out of Houston that should be on everyone's radar. We spoke with the founder Ezla about his experience growing up in Japan and moving to Houston where he decided to drop out of college to start Palacose three years ago. Ezla also talked about his experience directing fashion shows in cities across the country, starting his own magazine, and his plans to help cultivate a strong fashion scene in Houston by spreading positivity, creativity, and belief.
Where are you from?
Ezla: I’m from Yokosuka, Japan but I just moved to Houston four years ago.
You grew up your whole life in Japan?
Why did you decide to come to Houston?
Ezla: I moved to Houston when I was 16 years old. The black side of my family is from Houston so we moved back to the hometown.
How was the transition?
Ezla: It was a cool culture shock in a sense for sure especially going to high school and meeting different people.
How was living in Japan?
Ezla: Amazing, I tell people Japan is always the move. I lived 30 minutes from Tokyo so it was kind of a suburban place. The military base was there so that’s why we lived there.
How do you pronounce Palacose?
What does Palacose mean?
Ezla: Palacose means positivity, creativity and belief. The reason I got into fashion was that I started working at Hollister. I played basketball all my life so fashion wasn’t big to me but working in retail made me fall in love with all the aspects of running a fashion company. I decided to make a brand, come up with a name and do my own thing.
When did you start Palacose?
Ezla: It’s actually our three year anniversary tomorrow, so three years ago.
What made you want to start it?
Ezla: It was 2016 so it was the era of independent designers coming out and doing their own thing. I was really inspired watching Reese Cooper, Rei Kawakubo, Heron, and Virgil. I just thought lemme do my own thing. First thing we ever did was a fashion show in Buffalo Soldiers Museum. It was our first fashion show and we only showcased seven shirts. I wanted people to know that I’m not just a brand that’s only online. I want to be interactive with other people in Houston since Houston isn’t that big of a fashion scene but I want to change that. Fashion is an experience. It’s all about the experience behind what you bought, what you're wearing or what you’re making to wear.
Is anyone else working on it with you?
Elza: For the first two years it was just me. I just added a campaign director named Nicole and another designer on the team named Misa. She’s actually my younger sister. She told me one day that she wanted to get into design so I gave her the opportunity to design a collection. We kept working together and she's working with me now.
Which collection did she design?
Ezla: She designed half of pociety but the first collection she designed was Matcha Hills Resort. That was her whole streetwear design thing.
What’s the inspiration behind Palacose?
Ezla: I made Palacose because I want to have a brand that people can always add to their outfits. I wanted to see people in something I created and I wanted a world for myself where people were wearing the things I make. So ideally I wanted to just make clothes for everyone to be able to wear.
What’s your background in art and fashion?
Ezla: I went to a university for one semester at Stephen F. Austin, it’s a random middle of nowhere University in Texas. I was studying Dentistry but I’d be going to library everyday to read books on fashion design which made me realize I didn’t love dentistry as much as I thought I did. So I self taught myself and then started working at Michael Kors, Abercrombie and True Religion to learn the system. The best way to learn is to experience it and work in it yourself.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Ezla: I always get stumped when people ask me this but I’d say I always put on timeless pieces. Stuff you can wear in every era. I like stuff that’s minimalistic and pastel colors. They look nice to the eye.
What appeals to you about pastel colors?
Ezla: I just like soft colors. They’re more pleasing to the eye. Learning merchandising I’ve realized we’ve set newness through what the softest colors are. People just like it and you can match them more with anything rather than regular solids in my opinion.
How would you describe your design style?
Ezla: I can tell you what I do before I design. There’s one thing always on the mood board that says, “What product can be used for every single occasion and every single person?” Starting with that and then, “What kind of things am I seeing in the world and how could others manipulate this in another style.” I like to make stuff I genuinely like aesthetically. If it looks good it looks good which is perfect to me. We try not to play into the seasons thing so much but more so just what’s most accessible at the moment and most pleasing to the eye.
What was the inspiration behind your recent “pociety” collection?
Ezla: Pociety was originally called society. We were trying to make a society of Palacose and one day Misa and I decided to take off the "s" and make a Palacose society. So changing the world into a "pociety" and making clothes for a society that would wear the things we embody.
What does “pociety” mean?
Ezla: A positive, creative society that believes in themselves. Another reason I got into fashion was that even though it’s the most negative industry ever since it’s super cutthroat I wanted Palacose to be that refreshing brand putting out nice messages to better your lifestyle.
What made you want to design accessory pieces in addition to clothes?
Ezla: I think accessories are the most sought after item for any retail company. When you start doing accessories that’s something that's always gonna sell. You can have an accessory with every outfit. Accessories are accessible, everyday people can use them which is perfect since we try to focus on making products people can use every day.
When looking at your website I noticed that it seems like some of the pieces were named after people. Who were they named after?
Ezla: The models that walked our runway show. That was the first time we ever did that. I usually make up random names which I love doing but I decided let’s not be extra and instead use people's names for the items.
I also noticed you shoot very unique videos for each of your collections. What’s the inspiration behind those videos?
Ezla: I love working with up and coming photographers and videographers to give them experience. Palacose is a brand about experience so giving them a shot helps with the uniqueness of the content we post. But it’s mostly videos, with photography I usually just do it with my film camera and digitals.
Palacose was one of the brands that attended the VBTL Fashion show in LA, correct?
How did the show go?
Ezla: It was awesome. It was the third show we’ve done with VBTL, I’m their fashion director so I direct all the fashion shows. Most of our clientele is in LA so it was a really smooth transition doing a fashion show for the first time out there. There were things we could’ve done better but overall it was very successful. It was a very unique, creative group for sure.
What did you learn?
Ezla: Definitely how to organize travel shows more. We learned how to be more professional with things. We had a bigger show than the Houston show so that was awesome and we learned how to give more management positions to certain members.
How many fashion shows has Palacose attended?
Ezla: That was our tenth.
What about fashion shows appeals to you most?
Ezla: Fashion shows are something that aren’t accessible to most people. I want to make fashion shows a better experience for people who can't be there but want to be a part of it. Being part of VBTL was a great experience being able to coordinate and work with fashion shows. Aesthetically they're also a great atmosphere and something you want to go to.
What are some other locations you want to have shows at?
Ezla: The top ones that we have in mind are Miami or Houston since our first one was in Miami. It’s the ultimate social media gathering for sure. It’s kind of like a reunion for social media people all at once which is kinda cool.
What is Milked Almonds?
Ezla: Milked Almonds is a project I did when I first started as a film photographer and wanted to make my own magazine. We’re gonna continue it this year but we kinda stopped since it wasn’t that much of an asset but it was still fun to do.
When did you start it?
Ezla: Exactly a year ago.
Is it just digital or is there a hard copy available too?
Ezla: Yeah there’s a hardcopy that we showcased a couple months ago but it’s just that one. If we do a paper copy it would probably be a combination of all the series put into one thing and then we’d release it.
What made you want to start a magazine specifically for Palacose?
Ezla: It was a marketing project of mine that I wanted to do. People always look at magazines whether online or hardcopy and I thought it would be cool for a brand to have its own magazine. Carhartt does it a lot and so does Stussy. Lots of fashion brands do it but they don’t promote it.
Do you have any long term plans for the magazine?
Ezla: When we have our own store I want to make it its own website and maybe add different brands with different writers so it can move smoothly. I’m super excited to get back into it though.
Are there any other designers or brands you want to work with?
Ezla: There’s this one guy Reese Cooper. He’s one of the most inspiring new designers that I’ve seen in different stores so that’s someone I’d love to work with. I’d also love to work with Virgil, Rei Kawakubo for sure and Junya Watanabe.
What makes you want to work with them?
Ezla: Definitely work ethic since that’s super important to me. And the way they put out their company and set themselves up on social media and online. Merchandising is super interesting to me and that’s what really intrigued me. If you can merchandise correctly you can always sell items.
What do you consider yourself?
Ezla: A human that creates. If it’s someone asking me for photography I’m a photographer that day, if it’s for design then I’m a designer that day. Whatever the situation, if I’m experienced in it then I’m that person that day.
What should we expect to see from Palacose in the near future?
Ezla: Definitely a lot more accessories. Definitely being put in different boutique stores and retail stores. Our #1 goal is to open a retail store in Houston and vibrate that fashion scene through our own store. Doing that would be super amazing.
Are there any new collections on the radar?
Ezla: In 10 days we’re dropping our summer collection. The cool thing is it’s all womenswear. We’ve never done an all womenswear collection so it’s super exciting to be able to do that.
What are your long term plans for the brand?
Ezla: I definitely want to see Palacose as a big retailer like Abercrombie but in a better way where people love the brand. We want to be able to be in different retailers and malls bringing a whole unique style that revolutionizes the shopping experience.
How do you want to revolutionize the shopping experience?
Ezla: I want to hire a really good merchandising team. I’m gonna go back to school for merchandising so that I can learn stuff and also meet people in that field. I'll be half recruiting and half studying.