Since launching their debut collection only a year our of art school, designer duo Eckhaus Latta quickly established themselves as a new guard in New York's history of experimental fashion. Like designers Imitation of Christ, 3as4 and Susan Cianciolo before them, Eckhaus Latta have been exploring new territory and expanding the possibilities while working within the fashion system itself. Engaging in countless collaborations from their huge pool of creative peers ranging from shoe design to the staging of a collection,  Eckhaus Latta appear as a huge operation- while at the core it's largely a conversation between two friends: Mike and Zoe. 
So how did you guys meet? 
Mike Eckhaus: Oh, we met in college, I think we knew each other peripherally first. 
Zoe Latta: We had a lot of mutual friends and then we noted each other’s style. Mike Zoe was having a yard sale one day 
and she was like, “Here, these are for you.” And gave me these white sweatpants she made with a menstrual stain on them. 
Zoe: I made these sweatpants that were extra long, like the sleeve of the sweatshirt sewn to the bottom of the leg, so they were really long-legged and baggy. The first day
I wore them I bled all over them so they had this extra print. I was like, “Mike Eckhaus would wear these!” [Laughs] 
Mike: I was like, “Cool!” and I wore them for a while. 
Zoe: There was that day when I tried 
to make you purge and you were like, “No. These are sentimental.” 
Mike: We got rid of them. 
Zoe: That was the day we got summoned for having a yard sale! 
Mike: Oh yeah.
For having a yard sale?
Mike: Yeah, in Williamsburg, we were 
having a yard sale and we got summoned because we didn’t have a registered vendor’s license. It was really lame. 
That’s so stupid. You can’t sell your clothing on the street in New York legally? 
Mike: Unless it’s on your stoop. Yeah, we did not see that coming. 
So were you both in college for apparel at that point? 
Mike: No! Neither of us were in apparel. I was in sculpture.
Zoe: I was in print-making and textiles. Mike I took sculpture because I wanted 
to be in a fine art conversation, and I didn’t want to do an apparel degree. 
Zoe: At the end we were both making clothes and not getting direction on how to make clothes. We had no idea how but we worked with each other. 
Mike: We were hyper-conversational. 
Zoe: Yeah.
Mike: That’s kind of what this started 
out as. 
Zoe: We started an Etsy store together that was like brand-experimenting. We actu- ally got kicked off. 
Mike We got kicked off of Etsy! They banned us. 
Zoe: We would have these photos and do weird product descriptions. “Lose weight while cooking!” and it would be a plastic bag turned into a tank top. 
Mike & Zoe: [together] “Recommended by Michelle Obama, winked at by Ana Win- tour—” 
Zoe: “Pooped in by...” [Laughs] We would 
sell a bobby pin that could be used as a roach clip, but then it had three paragraphs about how that product could be used. 
Mike: And which celebrities endorsed it. 
Did you guys spend a lot of time on Etsy? 
Zoe: No, initially we really, really loved that blog, “Regretsy.” 
Mike: Oh yeah, we found Regretsy and we thought it was so funny. 
What is Regretsy? 
Mike: Someone’s put together the most absurd Etsy listings— 
Zoe Twilight character menstrual pads... 
Mike Just fucked up shit that people sell. 
Zoe Yeah, and totally earnestly. 
Mike But we have no problem with the economy of Etsy whatsoever, I think we were both fascinated with it. 
I was watching your episode
of Model Files on with Preston [Chaunsumlit], it’s funny, but just for re-iter- ation or whatever, what do you guys look for when you are casting a show for a collection? 
Mike I think it’s always personality in 
the end.
Zoe Yeah, we’ve never had a show where 
we cast someone because they have a good walk. It’s really more about them. 
Mike And having a certain energy, they have to seem to be excited, because you know, we’re not really a sexy brand on re- sume type situation for these people, and we have always worked with and will continue
to work with certain people like friends or peers that we are excited by. So much of it is based on initial gut instinct. 
When you decide to work with someone, what are the parameters that you create so that it’s a really good symbiotic collaborative relationship? 
Mike: We give people pretty much com- plete freedom when they work for us. 
Zoe: The relationships have developed from a really genuine like, “this is what we do, this is what you do and we love work-
ing with you” thing, and that’s always been the case. Like with Alexa [Karolinski], she approached us, she had just finished work- ing on a documentary film about holocaust survivors and she’s like, “Yo, I really like your stuff and want to make some fashion films,” and we were like, “Rad!” 
Mike: And we just chatted and really got off with each other. 
Zoe: Same with Eric Wrenn who does all our art direction and Ian Horowitz with our shoes. 
Mike: It’s really nice that there’s this community of people that we are able to work with. We’ve all grown together and are developing in these relationships. 
Just out of curiosity, what are the hours of working, how are you guys able to do this? 
Zoe: We just take turns taking the weight, like right now I’m working two other jobs. 
Mike And I’m kind of focusing on this right now. The pendulum shifts, but there have been times when we are both really in- tense, working on other jobs and doing this. 
Zoe: There have been times where we have both worked forty-hour weeks and come here at 8pm. 
Mike: And then work until 4am and then go home, wake up at 7am and go to a job and do that for a month, I honestly don’t know how we did that. 
What do you learn from working 
in a corporate fashion environment when you guys are doing your work together and independently? 
Mike I think it’s really only the business administration stuff. 
Zoe Yeah, if anything our design process has stemmed out of rebelling against what- ever we learned from a corporate environ- ment. 
Does Eckhaus Latta have a business plan? 
Mike: No. 
Zoe: Working in the dark is a part of our process. [Laughs] But we also don’t believe in debt. 
Mike: We don’t believe in debt. 
Zoe: Like we’re not taking out loans to fund this, we have investors, so in a sense we have a business plan. We’re taking this much of a loss projected for the next three years and then we’re going to gain it, and someone else owns part of it. 
Mike That’s how it’s structured right now. 
Zoe: We’re also incredibly lucky in a sense with our shows, we get alcohol, make- up, hair—it’s sponsored, we don’t get money from it but it’s like incredibly supportive. 
Okay, yeah. 
Zoe: And people say New York isn’t sup- portive of young designers. 
Mike: It totally is.
Zoe: We have nothing to complain about. Mike And I mean, without Milk’s help 
for the past two seasons I don’t know if we could’ve shown at all. I remember before
we showed our first season we were looking everywhere all summer, and there was nothing we could even remotely afford. But it came together and then all of a sudden we were learning really quickly on our feet and worked with all these people at this capacity, when we had absolutely no prior experience in that manner. 
Is there anything else you’d like to cover? 
Mike: No? I think it’s good.
Zoe: The photo shoot was really fun. 
Which photo shoot?
Zoe: The one Bad Day did with us, with Kathy Lo.
Oh, Where did she shoot you?
Mike At Zoe’s house. We just ducked around Chinatown, on a fork lift...