Eckhaus Latta as a label is successful in many senses. It introduces a relatively distinct style to the market. It is innovative and unique in its presentations. To many, it is quite an artistic label and has created a niche market with success. In my opinion, their presentations are amazing, and many of my classmates in the recitation section would agree as well. These interesting ways of showing the collections incorporate many artistic ideas and concepts that enrich the meanings of fashion show. I enjoy the label’s aesthetics too, both that of the collection and the styling. But there seemed to be some issues with lecture the designers gave on Wednesday.
In the recitation section. We had a debate on the value of some creations of the brand, particularly the video featuring some old Asian women. Some students, including me, find the video a bit jarring as it seems to be too free-flowing, illogic and hard to grasp. In my reading, the video is somewhat like a joke with a degree of foolishness reflected in those elderly Asian Women through the way they talked and the exercises they do. After I have read a news article on Eckhaus Latta describing its style as weird but beautiful, I realized maybe the video wanted to explore the same type of sensibility. It is indeed quite weird and not very whimsical. Those Asian Women talk weirdly and exercise weirdly in the video. Some scenes only feature a single head, highlighting the weird and unfamiliar facial expressions of those Asian Women. Many students would find the video hardly make sense from the traditional standpoint of what a fashion video is about. Then some students mentioned the lecture is not well organized and logic. We were not even clear what the brand identity is. Some in the class then suggested maybe this is what the brand’s artistic pursuit. Hence it got really interesting how everyone reacted to the lecture differently. Many were confused. A few, however, applauded. What I found somewhat jarring is the designers’ attitudes towards fashion design. They described it as if they are just trying to have fun. They wanted to do it back in the day and suddenly they found a lot of resources and supports in their artistic and commercial friends circle. Everything sounds easy and fun. They are not serious nor passionate about both design and commerce. This is perhaps why I felt uneasy about the video of Asian Women. I feel I was a bit fooled and I felt the elderly women in the video are fooled too.
The sign of transgression in Eckhaus Latta is obvious comparing it to regular fashion labels. However, what I could not really settle on is the fact that these artists make the label playful and jokey in a way that is inaccessible and unreadable to many people. Like what Shayna questioned in the class, is “artistic” here an excuse for what they do or a really significant feature in their work? I do not know.