Q&A: Eckhaus Latta On Why The Runway Is Ready For Consignment
Ever since the New York and L.A.-based line, Eckhaus Latta, arrived on the scene in 2013 with their needle-pushing genderless designs developed from dead-stock textiles, the line has rarely possessed a shortage of ideas. Imbuing their RISD training and personal values into an offering of covetable denim and deconstructed knits, the line’s design duo, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, have consistently abandoned convention for innovation in the way of runway casting, campaigns and ethical sourcing. Their work got the industry talking and most certainly thinking about their impact. This season is no different with the duo doubling-down on their commitment to sustainable and ethical fashion by sourcing all of their Fall 2020 runway footwear from TRR’s massive consigned stock. It’s a huge stride in cutting down on waste and fashion’s significant carbon footprint, and a move that could set the tone for an industry-wide step forward.
Name: Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta
Age: 32 and 32
Place of residence: New York and Los Angeles, respectively
Your work and how you present it break the mold — gender-fluid designs, inclusive casting, non-traditional settings — that makes fashion feel like it’s about a cultural conversation and more than just clothes.
We were never trying to break any mold, rather question the established structure and make what we wanted to make. If it felt like it had been done or overdone, we lost interest.
Can you tell us more about the collection you’re showing? What themes or ideas went into it?
We never use direct inspiration for our collections. This was our first time making a pre-fall, men’s and main collection, so this collection is bigger, which allowed more room for exploration, color stories that fractured and worked with other collections, and things we never thought we could ever make.
What made you decide to incorporate secondhand items into your show?
As designers, we pretty much exclusively wear secondhand clothes (or our own). We grew up vintage shopping and it has always been part of our education and how we learn about clothes. We were excited to consider a partner for our shoes this season that could explore many different ideas, without creating any waste.
Sustainability is such a buzzword right now. You don’t define Eckhaus Latta as a ‘sustainable’ brand, and yet you’re known for incorporating environmentally-conscious practices into your work. Where would you like to see this conversation go in the fashion industry?
We would like the industry to consider more holistically its practices in terms of waste and resource. While we recognize there’s a long way to go, it’s exciting to see consumer spending encouraging these changes—we hope to see continued investment in ethically and sustainably produced goods.
Why partner with The RealReal for shoes this season?
Rather than partner with a company to make dozens of pairs of footwear samples for a 15-minute-long runway show, we wanted to think about how the shoes that we use for this season’s runway could have a life before and after the show. And because The RealReal is our favorite place to shop!
What does sustainability mean to you?
It means considering the future while making decisions in the present.
Does upcycling/reuse come into your process in other ways?
We started our business exclusively using deadstock materials (leftover material from other brands). For production reasons, we now reserve that practice for special edition projects, but it is still something that we love to do and inspires us. As a brand, it is important for us to think about sustainability in a holistic way, beyond using deadstock materials, whether it is working with local denim factories in Los Angeles, or partnering with factories that sustain fair labor and safe working practices.
Have consignment sites like The RealReal changed the way you think about/approach designing/shopping/dressing? If so, how?
We have always looked at secondhand, vintage, and historical clothing to inspire and inform our practice. With The RealReal, we’re able to see and absorb much more.
What shoes are you wearing right now?
White Nike Cortez’s and grey Blundstones. It’s the day before our show and we’re in extreme work mode.
Did sourcing shoes from TRR enhance your collection?
Yes. At first, it was very overwhelming to consider so many aesthetics and ideas from other people. And then, of course, there’s the puzzle of sorting out the model’s foot size and the shoe style with the right look. In the end, it has been incredibly freeing—it feels more like personal dressing than prescribing some sort of uniform.
If you could have eternal borrowing rights from anyone’s shoe collection, whose would it be?
Michael Jordan and Miuccia Prada.
What were the treasures from TRR you found for the show? Favorite pair?
The Fendi wooden flip flops (that are, sadly, too small for any of the models), the grey Prada pumps, and the oxblood Gucci thin-strapped sandals.