ABOVE: PHOTOS COURTESY OF WILLIAM EADON.
While most of the designers preparing for New York Fashion Week were concerned about the season's trends—quilting, oversized garments, tartans—Eric Schlösberg and Elizabeth Ammerman were thinking about something decidedly less stylish: middle school. "Inspiration was drawn from the daily dramas of middle school girls, and the power held in popularity and sexuality," says Schlösberg of Ammerman Schlösberg's debut collection. The clothing itself is intoxicatingly saccharine; cropped, baby blue glittery tee shirts with floppy Peter Pan collars, and thigh highs with towering platforms seem equal parts Clueless and Sailor Moon. The collection, says Schlösberg, is also largely derivative of the cosplay subculture, in which participants dress as anime, comic or movie characters and engage in roleplay. Indeed, the greatest strength of Ammerman Schlösberg comes from their ability to create outfits that, when assembled, seem costume-like, but when viewed as separates—say, an iridescent, mood-ring colored miniskirt, or a cherry-red long sleeve sailor's top—seem plausible in the context of the everyday.
Ammerman Schlösberg insert themselves within the context of an acutely aware sect of design, one that is cued into fashion trends, and oversaturated with information from an easily accessible media culture. "Every part of existence is beautiful, and weird and magickal," says Ammerman. The collection embraces this sentiment, in mint colored baby doll dresses with fur sleeves, nurse getups and Technicolor fur coats that are borderline garish. The aesthetic is distinct and powerful, appealing to a blogging, tech-savvy counterculture, but when asked who they'd like to dress, Ammerman is surprisingly mainstream. "Taylor Swift or Rihanna would be super-cute," she says. "We LOVE playing dress up," Schlösberg adds.