There’s a Steve Jobs biopic on the way, and Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta know exactly what you’ll want to wear to the premiere. As you can see in our video, the Williamsburg-based designers have created a limited-edition line of $200 sweatshirts emblazoned with the face of the Great One.
Eckhaus Latta isn’t your typical fashion label. Speaking to Bedford + Bowery last week, Zoe Latta referred to it as “the practice,” as in “the practice, if we had our way, would be something that could fund us to live here.”
When creating pieces, the RISD grads begin not with fashion, but with ideas: and poignant ones. And at the heart of their Autumn/Winter collection is — yes — Steve Jobs.
It might seem odd for a couple of contrarian designers with a background in fine art to center a collection on such a mainstream figure. But it’s not Jobs so much as this idea of the mainstream — or, “figures of fascination with American pop culture,” as Eckhaus puts it — that intrigues them most. Judging by “Family,” the video accompanying the line, they seem particularly intrigued by Jobs’s impact on technology and, in turn, technology’s impact on the world.
In the dreamy short, which premiered last week at Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s Lower East Side store, eerie melodies replace dialogue as cherubic kids crowd together on a sofa, transfixed by the TV. Ironically, when the camera pans to the TV we see they’ve been watching ethereal shots of nature.
Ever since their first collection in 2012, Eckhaus Latta has made it a point to release short films by Alexa Karolinski in tandem with each season. Previous videos have depicted an elderly workout group in Chinatown sporting a collection made from “post-industrial plastic, fish skin, and bits of old French sofas,” and a surreal dinner party that ends up taking finger food to a new level.
“Dinner” nods to what’s most important to Eckhaus Latta — namely, the hand’s role in art. They’re determined to make the work that went into each piece visible and tangible in the final product, and they cherish the Brooklyn-based Hasidic man from whom they source most of their unique material — so much so that they won’t even reveal his identity. (“He’s our biggest secret,” said Latta.)
Until recently, they made each item themselves. They reluctantly switched to factories (three in New York and two in LA) only when the success of their line created higher demand, and hand sewing mohair and plastic used for outdoor furniture into forty sweaters just didn’t seem feasible. But they still make some pieces by hand — in fact they’re still working on the Steve Jobs pieces, which should be available at Maryam Nassir Zadeh and Opening Ceremony sometime next month.
Play our video to watch them make these wearable pieces of fan art in their Williamsburg studio.
Video by Taji Ameen