Allison Hoeltzel on her new ODP collection, the future of the brand – and why her grandfather is her greatest inspiration.
Accessories designer Allison Hoeltzel’s career story is no fashion fairy-tale. Although she is now a successful accessories designer, with her collections stocked by the likes of Moda Operandi and Goop, she had never thought she would end up in fashion.
Hailing from Corpus Christi in southern Texas, a passion for classical piano led her to study music at college before realising she was more interested in the business aspect of the arts.
Yet, an internship at Bologna’s Opera House was the opening act that led to her discovering a burning passion for fashion. “I had always loved fashion and was lucky to have a grandmother who was an excellent seamstress as a hobby, however, when I moved to Italy it was really hard to break into fashion, as I hadn’t studied it,” she says, looking back.
Finding work in the arts was hard as Italy’s arts organisations, being state-funded, reserved positions for Italian citizens. This caused her to the delve into the world of marketing and product development and eventually shaped her future in consulting for brands such as Stuart Weitzman, Dunhill and LaDoubleJ.com.
“I was working for other brands in design and development and felt it was time to launch something on my own, and so ODP was launched in 2014, with just a few simple styles,” she says.
With minimal design and functionality resonating with Hoeltzel’s personal approach and visual philosophy, her initial ODP collection focused on a tight capsule of classic styles inspired by saddlery, motorcycles, utilitarian wear and workmen’s bags. Despite the fact she was producing in Florence, Hoeltzel wanted to keep her collection at an affordable price point.
After showing the collection to clients, she launched her first big hit: The Mini Safari, a small and comfortable over-the-shoulder bag inspired by binocular cases that her grandfather had kept from WWII.
“My collection is still very small and I try not to reinvent the entire collection every season, so I focus on adding new materials to our core shapes and maybe add just one or two new styles,” Hoeltzel says. “However, my starting point is always new materials. I see what materials really stand out and get people excited, and then I sort of build the seasonal part of the collection around them.”
The collection has since continued to develop with a partnership with activist and model Arizona Muse, which she collaborated on a series sustainable capsule collections, the last of which was presented just before Italy entered lockdown, during Milan Fashion Week.
So, what does the future hold for ODP Collection? “I would love to expand the collection and shoes would naturally be the next step. Yet again, it is more about finding those key styles and focusing on the craftsmanship,” she says. “I am a big fan of menswear-type shoes and solid constructions, so ‘the make’ is extremely important to me. I have started to meet with a few factories and have some ideas… so it could happen very soon.”
Shop ODP at https://www.officinadelpoggio.com/