All photos by Miyako Bellizzi
Elizabeth Ammerman and Eric Schlösberg are oddities. If it wasn't apparent last week when we showcased their fall/winter 2014 collection, their eponymous label is inspired by the world of fantasy and imagination. A few weeks ago, I stopped by the designers’ workplace—a studio in lower Manhattan—for a formal interview but ended up kicking the formalities aside and shoot the shit (about whatever) instead.
Their appearance in this interview reflects the cosplay inspiration of the collections they represent. Eric was sporting an emo goth/punk look with a long tulle skirt and a T-shirt that says, “Kill God, kill your mom & dad, kill yourself.” Liz balances Eric's over-the-top sensibilities—she's wearing a sweet red-velvet mini baby-doll dress along with an elf ear cuff that she can't wait to tell you about.
So, in front of a Troll altar adorned with glitter, dildos, and dolls, things got weird while we played dress-up.
I really like your looks today. Do you guys usually switch roles in the way you dress?
Eric: She’s always has a "super-sexy baby-doll stripper" look.
Elizabeth Ammerman: Eric is always going for the “ugly-cute, abrasive, very scary dead baby-doll freak” look.
I can’t stop looking at both of your eye makeup—so rad!
Eric: It’s the best loose glitter in the whole world. It sticks in clumps and will never come off. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics makes the glitter, and the red shadow I’m wearing is Make Up for Ever.
Where are you from?
Eric: I’m from Miami
Elizabeth: I’m from Amarillo, Texas. Moved here for school to study fashion design at Pratt.
How did you guys meet?
Eric: We worked at Seven New York together. It was actually my first job when I moved to NYC, in 2006. Whoa, WTF?! It's crazy how old I am now. I can’t believe I’m in my mid 20s. Ugh.
You and I both. It's weird.
So I was working, and Liz came in and I helped her buy a House of Holland dress and a matching pair of shoes. Then, when she left, a coworker and I told our manager that Liz was really cute and that they had to hire her. So we did!
Really? So you became best buds after that, or what?
Well, then we started hanging out, going out a lot together, and when we were at work we would just talk all day about like, “OMG! Did you see the new Aitor Throup pants we have? They’d be so much cuter in cream with ruffles and shorter." Then we would go on these long tangents. One day we just decided to do this ourselves.
What was your inspiration for your spring/summer 2014 collection?
Elizabeth: The concept of Alice and Wonderland. Or Alice going down the rabbit hole in the Matrix taking acid. There’s also a lot of Lolita cosplay and dominatrix and bondage elements.
Eric: The Matrix as a sex club is the vibe.
I can definitely see Japanese girls eating this shit up.
Elizabeth: I know, that’s what we want!
Where do you sell your pieces other than VFiles?
We also sell at Opening Ceremony in much bigger quantities than at VFiles. I heard Lauryn Hill wants to buy the sheer pink dress but not sure if she actually did or not. But that would be super-exciting if she did!
What influences your designs?
Eric: We are both heavily interested in the process of getting dressed in the morning and what we feel is missing and lacking in our lives. For example, opening up the closet and wishing I had a little nurse bag to go along with my outfit. So all of a sudden we have a desire to make a nurse costume.
Is there a process to that?
After every fashion week, we give each other a week to not speak to one another at all—sometimes more. We tend to live with each other the week before showing the collection. We come together after that time and we start a conversation about what we are both into personally and stylistically speaking. It’s always the same vision when we get back together. Then we start getting into, “Wouldn’t it be so weird if we did it like that with a twist of this?” We then look at images, get really deep into our research, and the vision evolves into something more. Because we do a more costume-forward fashion line, we like to have our collection well-researched.
This season is a vomit puke ball of art history. We couldn’t choose a time period, so we took all our favorites and mixed them into one. This may offend some costume designers, but whatever, fuck them. I feel like these video-game girls are a mix of everything, so it makes sense.
Is that your fall/winter theme then? Video-game girls?
Elizabeth: Yeah, we’re envisioning this girl in a video game who is being chosen to match with someone like she’s an assassin.
Eric: Slaying people left and right!