Eric Schlösberg on Fashion, Fantasy, & Halloween
Previously codesigner of the costume-influenced label, Ammerman Schlösberg, Eric Schlösberg's design vision is rooted in glamour and drama. He launched his first self-titled solo label in Fall 2016, where he continues to unravel his vibrant narrative—marked by metallic fabrics, patent leather thigh-high boots, and acid washed denim. Schlösberg's taken a more wearable approach with his latest endeavor, yet has so clearly maintained his fundamental design elements of fantasy and friskiness. We spoke with Schlösberg about the roles dress-up and fantasy play in his work, and what he has planned for his favorite holiday of the year—Halloween.
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Kristen Dempsey: What inspires your different collections? You always have like a certain girl in mind and where does that girl come from?
Eric Schlösberg: A lot of who she is comes from where I'm from, which is Miami. I'm so wrapped up in that kind of outside glamour that's screaming out loud “look at me!” It all stems off of that one main idea of glamour. I’ve been trying to be more consistent with everything. So, the girl stays the same, and every season the inspiration begins with the music that I'm listening to at the moment. You know, whether it's a song that I'm imagining is playing at a strip club, or it's something that's playing in the elevator of the sexy hotel she's at to meet the guy she's about to fuck.
KD: I know you really like Marilyn Manson, obviously, and there is a costume aspect to his music as well.
ES: I like to think of the world is a stage, so you need to just set every day to give the show you're wanting to give. What is the set of the day, what story are you telling? I think a lot of people find there to be a big separation between costume and every day, but there isn't—we're all dressing in a costume.
KD: Clothing has a really strong language. Even if you think that you're someone that ignores it [fashion], that's still a particular message you're putting across.
ES: I’m going to be that really horrible queen right now and reference The Devil Wears Prada; it's like that scene where she's talking about the color blue. That's still a real thing though! People think that they're beyond fashion or not participating, but no you are—and you’re doing a really bad job.
"I think a lot of people find there to be a big separation between costume and every day, but there isn't—we're all dressing in a costume."
KD: Thinking about what you're were doing with Ammerman Schlösberg, you guys were exploring cosplay a little bit. Cosplay is really interesting to me because I feel like people in Japan are participating in that world all the time, and it seems like a very normal part of city culture.
ES: We were just there, I could not believe Tokyo! They have real-life Mario Kart cosplay that happens in the middle of the street! There were nine little go-karts and they had Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi, in the middle of the street. The light turned green and they all took off! They have local businesses in Akihabara that is just Mario Kart cosplay for anyone who wants to dress up. It’s like $60 bucks, you do it for an hour and a half, in groups of eight, and you’re just speeding around Tokyo in a go-kart dressed as Mario.
KD: I would be Waluigi. Villainous Luigi.
ES: Ammerman Schlösberg had so much fun. It was one of the best times of my life. A big part of that, of course, was Liz [Ammerman] and having someone else to share that love costume. We both had such a different tastes that came together in a really interesting way. Liz is so fantasy based in a kind of magical mystical way - I’m more costume in a more kind of stage presence/performer. I’m always so informed by music and she was so informed by magic. It made for this really weird slutty cosplay. People weren’t ready. I’m like it's a fucking skirt, why are you so blown away?
KD: We wanted to talk to you specifically because Halloween’s coming up and I know it’s your favorite Holiday.
KD: Are you dressing up for Halloween?
ES: Yes, but only because we're going somewhere nice. Logan [Schlösberg's husband] tried to surprise me but I heard him making the reservations through the bedroom door. We're going where we had our wedding dinner, Buddakan. It's our anniversary, so we’re going to get super dressed up, but I'm not playing any character other than myself.
KD: Like you’re saying, for me, there are different costumes of myself. There’s a sassy me, and a frumpy me, a romantic me, a scary me…
ES: I think a lot of people stopped dressing up though, like the way I used to, too. I really do feel like a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's hard to be special; social media has just destroyed things that are special. Fashion used to be a thing that only really knowledgeable people understood and it was so deep. Dressing up doesn’t feel quite like it used to.
KD: I think we’re touching on how the way you're dressed can highlight the different parts of your personality. A Halloween costume does that times ten. It's like taking some kind of drug that brings out really strong aspects of your personality.
ES: It gives you the go-ahead to really be that person that you secretly so badly want to be. Like those mousey little girls that show up dressed like cowgirl sluts for Halloween. There's a state of mind I think that comes with dressing up.
KD: I always want to dress up like a man. I love it, it’s very liberating.
ES: It gives Logan the opportunity to dress up as a woman.
KD: He looks great!
ES: He looks great in a dress. People understand dressing up so differently. It’s really open to interpretation.