Formed by the designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta in 2011, Eckhaus Latta is a bicoastal fashion label that is as much involved in the creation of a social sphere as it is in the production of clothing. Having most recently debuted its ninth collection, the duo has evaded any distinct aesthetic or design sensibility, opting instead for an experimental approach to materials and a concept-driven relationship to everyday wear. This is in part a reflection of their collective backgrounds in textiles and sculpture, imparting the tenets of both to fashion. An important aspect of Eckhaus Latta’s output to date has emphasized collaboration with an immediate community of artists and contributors from other creative fields and industries. The products that the duo designs are part of a larger network of distribution and circulation, in which the tools of marketing and promotion that are integral aspects of fashion become part of the process of making.
In addition to presenting a selection of clothing from its past collections, Eckhaus Latta is participating in the exhibition through a promotional video that was produced to exist in the realm of advertising. Released in advance of the spring–summer 2016 collection, and available only online, the video Smile (2016) reflects Eckhaus Latta’s concerns with working collectively to create the overall image or identity of the brand. Viewed in relation to a variety of other online videos—produced by artists or otherwise—Eckhaus Latta’s promotional video considers how the format itself is predisposed to forms of marketing and advertising within artistic practice. Rather than asking whether marketing materials can be (or approximate) the language of art, Smile asks whether art can approximate the language of marketing and where the two part ways.