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Eckhaus Latta SS19 Fashion Show
Backstage, September 2018, NYC

Eckhaus Latta is an American fashion label founded in 2011 by Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. They met at the Rhode Island School of Design where they studied sculpture and textile design, respectively. They work between Los Angeles and New York City.

Their twice-yearly presentation at New York Fashion Week is a way to explore casting, installation format, and the role of performance. Eckhaus Latta questions the established structure and the role of collaboration is innate to their practice. Partnerships have included fashion and jewellery brands and performance and audio-visual projects with numerous artists as well as footwear collaborations such as the Marsèll SS19 collection.

Eckhaus Latta has also exhibited projects, videos, and collections at worldwide art institutions including the 55th Venice Biennale, Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler Gallery (Berlin), Gavin Brown Enterprise (NYC), the New Museum (NYC), The Museum of Art and Design (NYC), Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi (Berlin), MOCA (LA), MOMA PS1 (NYC) and The Hammer Museum (LA). During Summer 2018, the brand’s first solo exhibition, Possessed, was held at The Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC).

In collaboration with Eckhaus Latta, Marsèll has developed a series of brightly coloured and genderless shoes that blend textures and shapes to create an everyday selection of footwear, in keeping with the fundamental concept behind the Marsèll collections.

Eckhaus Latta regularly collaborates with artisans, artists, and designers for its collections. The intention of its founders is to integrate the arts within their practice and to question the society they live in.
Photography Nick De Lieto
An interview By Federica Tattoli
FT: If you had to define the Eckhaus Latta fashion maison in five words, which words would you choose?
EL: Poetic, tactile, inclusive, subversive, conflicting.
FT: You met at schools years ago, how did you start collaborating?
EL: We met and both knew we wanted to work together, it was never a normal friendship, we were always doing things. Whether or not what we were doing was practical, we’ve always had a very productive friendship and enjoy teaching each other and exposing each other to new things. Starting Eckhaus Latta was just another thing to do, I don’t think either of us had extensive expectations for where it would go. 8 years later we’re still very excited and curious about the collaboration and what is to come.
FT: Los Angeles and NYC, two very different cities. How do they influence you and your poetics in making clothes?
EL: Mike is from NY and Zoe is from LA so we’ve carried these differences in sensibility wherever we go, whatever we do. The cities inspire us in many ways and each other even when we aren’t in them. The wellness self care aspects of LA and the hardworking production oriented mindsets of NY inform our collections.
FT: Which is the importance of art and culture in your work and in our society?
EL: Because we both come from fine arts backgrounds, we don’t really question the importance of art, as it is something ingrained in us. We’re not interested in trying to convince anyone on the importance of art or culture in our work or in society - if they don’t value these things, it is their loss.
FT: Last year you had an exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art called “Eckhaus Latta. Possessed”. Could you tell me about the title and the exhibition itself?
EL: The Whitney show was an experiment for us to ask questions about the retail landscape and the art world. We invited 15 artists to collaborate with us to make the fixtures for the retail store we had in the museum. We made an exclusive collection and everything in the store was for sale. We were interested in investigating the unspoken boundaries in both fields - why is it not ok to talk about sales in an art institution and why are certain elements of retail sales, visual merchandising and display looked down upon. We called the show “Possessed” because of the relationship people have with objects, consumerism and the desire to possess something. At the same time Eckhaus Latta volunteers itself to be possessed by the viewer, as does the museum and the viewer themselves.
FT: If you had to define the Eckhaus Latta fashion maison in five words, which words would you choose?
EL: Poetic, tactile, inclusive, subversive, conflicting.
FT: One contemporary artist and one fashion designer that inspire you?
EL: Isa Genzken and Rei Kawakubo.
FT: Is there any collaboration that you dream of but hasn’t happened yet?
EL: If we knew we couldn’t tell anyone!! But we’ve always wanted to do something with Cindy Sherman...
FT: Strong links with art and culture and timeless design are characteristics that you share with Marsèll, would you agree? What is the importance of accessories in a clothing collection?
EL: Yes, we definitely agree that there is a shared sensibility between our brands. We really cherish the evidence in the hand, no matter how cleanly finished a garment is, the fact that humans, crafts people made the garment is very important to us. This craft feels very evident in Marsèll products too. We don’t make accessories, but obviously use them everyday, so working with a company such has Marsèll has been so important, to balance out our offerings and show together what we can do.
FT: Plans for the future?
EL: There are a few on the horizon we can’t yet discuss. We did however just open a store in NYC, which, like our LA store, will serve as a platform for us to collaborate with artists to show and sell our work in new ways.
Photography Nick De Lieto