Photography: Natalia Mantini
Creative Direction: Alexandra Weiss & Phil Gomez
Editing: Anna Sudit
Styling: Phil Gomez
Hair: Andrita Renee
Makeup: Tara Carrara
Assistant: Amber Nicole Alston
Trump’s in office, The Bachelorette is over—what’s a girl to do? Put on Eric Schlösberg. Through pinks, velvets and gold glitter, the New York-based designer crafts ultra-feminine (and seriously slutty) experimental couture. After impressing the industry as half of avant-garde design duo, Ammerman Schlösberg, the 29-year-old brought his effortless punk-meets-Paris Hilton aesthetic to his own underground brand. Since then, the designer has created meticulous party-wear that’s both simple and subversive.
With his Fall ’17 collection, Schlösberg mixes Alice in Wonderland-style absurdity with an ’80s glam rock grit, delivering a series of dresses, skirts and metallic pants equally at home at a Clubland tea party, as they are at a Taylor Dayne show. And while most of his peers are busy sending hyper-political statements down the runway, Schlösberg is focused on making clothes that are less reactionary and, in a lot of ways, more radical. That’s because, in his world, looking cute is just as big of a fuck you.
BULLETT caught up with the designer to talk kitsch, Kylie Jenner and keeping his vision no matter what. Read our interview and view an exclusive editorial, above.
How would you describe Eric Schlösberg?
Eric Schlösberg as a brand—it’s obviously a high aesthetic look for a really strong personality that isn’t afraid to show off who they are. My brand, and what I like about fashion in general, is that it really is for everyone—I don’t like to put labels on who can and can’t wear what.
How’d you get into fashion? And how has it been moving from your previous project, Ammerman Schlösberg, to going solo?
I moved to New York when I was 17 years old to go to Parsons, and actually failed out of the fashion program—they just basically hated my concepts and told me that really, my clothes had no place in the world. So I ended up switching majors. But when I got out of school, I started working with my old partner Liz and just had the best time. I learned so much that without it, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
When all of those professors were questioning your designs, did it ever make you second guess yourself, or want to change directions?
No, I was like, ‘If you don’t get it, then fuck you!’—I didn’t change anything. It’s actually so funny—my husband and I recently moved, so I was going through old boxes and came across some illustrations I did sophomore year. Literally nothing has changed—like, titties out, no pants, and it’s just crazy to see how I’ve really never let go of what it is I truly believe.
Let’s talk about the Fall ‘17 collection. What inspired it?
My process usually starts with music—I give myself three weeks after a show to take a break, and once the three weeks are up, I start walking around the city listening to music for hours. Once the right song comes on, I start seeing the clothes. This last collection started with the track I used in my runway show—“Tell It To My Heart” by Taylor Dayne—the worst, best song in the world. That’s where the concept and mood came from—I was feeling this ‘80s glam vibe. I also work with model Sara Brannon, who’s a very close, dear friend of mine, and I hate to use the word because it sounds so fucking cheesy, but she really is my muse—I see her in everything before I design any of it.
What’s your process from there—I mean, how do things move from a track to a collection?
Once I have the song, I put it on repeat for a month and a half, and everywhere I go in the city, I just listen to it over and over. And rather than sitting down, drawing the pieces out and fleshing out 100 ideas then editing down from there, I see them in my head, and once I find the outfit for the exact moment in the song, it goes down on paper. So really, almost all of my process is in my head. I find when I try to do it on paper and spend three hours drawing, it feels so contrived and unnatural to me—things work best when you’re true to yourself.
How do you think your brand has grown over the last few seasons? You’ve only been working was Eric Schlösberg for two years.
I’m definitely finding my voice with each collection, trying to pinpoint what I’m about. I did Ammerman Schlösberg with Liz for so long, and obviously a partnership is a compromise—a collaboration—so being my own, I’m just figuring out who I am and exactly what I want to say. I think the brand has grown by leaps and bounds—from size to the amount of vendors. But I am just trying to take it slow and not do anything too fast—I’m just having a lot of fun doing exactly what I’m doing. And I’m feeling really fulfilled—that’s the most important part of doing any work: if you’re happy with what you’re doing, everything else will follow.
So, what is the Eric Schlösberg voice?
It’s really sexy, strong, bold clothing for really powerful people who put it all out there and feel 100% comfortable with everything. There’s so much power to be found in dressing and the way we put ourselves together. I just want people to put on my clothes and feel good and proud, and really empowered—that’s what it’s about for me.
Who do you see as your customer?
It’s really anyone—even my mom wears so much of my stuff, and my husband wears the dresses. But honestly, I know this sounds ridiculous—but if I could have one person wear it because I fucking love her, it’s Kylie Jenner. If Kylie wore my stuff, I would literally die.
She totally would.
I hope so! I’m so obsessed with her—she’s such a badass. I mean, people can say whatever nasty shit they want about her, but the girl is not only gorgeous, she’s kind and smart, and has a big heart—that’s really what it’s about. One of the reasons Sarah became my muse is not just because she’s 7 feet tall and fucking stunning—it’s because she’s the nicest person I’ve ever met, and to me, that’s the most attractive quality in anybody.
What do you see as your role as a designer, especially during such hyper-political times? Do you think politics has a place in fashion?
Politics definitely has its place in fashion, and considering the current climate, I think it’s really important for people to take responsibility and get the message out there. But at the same time, although I have my opinions and political ideals, the world is so super-charged right now, and my goal is to bring people a little fun—to make them smile, make them laugh, find some humor in everything. I mean, the world is a really serious place right now—and it should be, because there’s a lot of shit going on—but I think there also always needs to be room for fun and laughter and a little bit of adventure. My brand is a nice place to just escape from reality.
But there’s also different ways to be political—it’s just as radical for a man to wear a dress as it is to spray-paint ‘Fuck Trump’ on a t-shirt.
Exactly, and that’s so important to remember. I don’t want people to think that because I’m not jumping in with some giant political logo, I don’t want to change the world. Obviously, Fuck Donald Trump. He’s shit. But my message isn’t that—it’s, ‘Let’s just try and have a little fun, find some happiness and do it looking really fucking cute.’ And if my clothes piss people like Trump off, then that’s great, too.
Bottom Photo: Blazer & Skirt: Eric Schlösberg, Earrings: Ghost Modern, Ring: Dior, Shoes: Melissa, Purse: Stylist’s Own