30 Under 35 2020

Eckhaus Latta Makes their Own Rules

Audrey Wollen

Photography by Aubrey Mayer

From left: Charlotte O’Donnell, Mike Eckhaus, Thea Garlid and Zoe Latta.

In Eckhaus Latta’s most recent Spring/Summer 2020 presentation, bare-faced models walked in knits that almost seemed to glitch, like television static, violet and yellow woven into perpetual blur. Bright blue and amber sequins rippled in a way that made the word “bright” seem insufficient: these are clothes that carry their own light source. They evoke things fashion normally doesn’t: a gesture, a landscape. Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus, the best friend team behind the independent brand, now live and collaborate bicoastally (Zoe lives in Los Angeles, Mike in New York City), wedding wide desert highway to glittering skyscraper. Describing their process, Mike says, “Everything is progressively dictated by material, and color kind of almost reverberates off of it. I wouldn’t say it’s secondary to material, but it’s not parallel. It’s like two cars driving along, pulling up to the other one’s lane.”

Famous for their destination shopping experiences, Eckhaus Latta just moved their Los Angeles store to Chinatown in September, mirroring their New York Chinatown location. The two places reflect each other, like tin cans at the end of a nationwide telephone string. After their exhibition at the Whitney Museum last fall, which re-created a fully functional store (visitors could try on clothes and buy them), the line has firmly established itself as occupying the worlds of both art and fashion. Collaborating with friends has also allowed for a more irreverent and expansive approach to running a fashion company. Zoe explains, “It seems like now a lot of brands do that—working with influencers or artist collaborations—as a branding strategy. The idea of community is just foundational to how we work as individuals and as partners, and the brand wouldn’t exist without that.”