Ammerman Schlösberg: A Blend of Scary and Adorable
For NYC-based designers Ammerman Schlösberg, there’s no singular secret to their success. Yet something that has certainly helped foster this success is their no-fucks-given attitude; in particular, their willingness to plunge wholeheartedly into ideas that most people would only dare flirt with.
“We actually came up with the concept for our FW15 collection at a hot pot restaurant in Chinatown,” Eric Schlösberg explains, “it was probably one of our ‘can you even imagine…’ conversations.”
For Liz Ammerman and Eric Schlösberg, ideas that many people would only reserve for their fantasies are utilized in the everyday. A tactic they’ve seen to sartorial completion time and again, is the marriage of the innocent and the naughty. It’s no simple task; but when it’s done right, it evokes an unmistakable, Lynchian feeling of foreboding that’s impossible to ignore.
This feeling is as much a part of their brand as it is a part of their individual identities. When they’re not toiling away in their Brooklyn studio, Eric and Liz are most likely residing in one of their many natural habitats around the city. For Eric, this could be at home, drowning in his favorite pastime, glitter. “I LOVE glitter so much,” he says, “it’s like a bad addiction. My boyfriend is always complaining that everything in our apartment is covered in glitter, like a stripper lives there.” While for Liz, this might be at the Lower East Side, Japanese, Lolita costume store Baby The Stars Shine Bright. “When I go [in there] and see the Lolita salesgirl and the Rococo fantasy wardrobe I like…quietly lose it,” she says, “she’s so cute and the clothes are too much.”
It’s only fitting, then, that their unique dispositions would seep into their collections; they don’t want to reveal too much before their show, but from the few, vague glimpses they’re willing to offer, it seems they’ve once again hit the nail on the uncanny head. “The vibe is VERY Ammerman Schlösberg,” Eric says, albeit a bit “darker this season, in a B horror movie kind-of-way,” Liz adds. It’s a description that conjures up images of Gregg Araki films and feels wholly them. Even the introduction of appliqué is described as “really scary and adorable.”
One defining characteristic of the brand that’s made their clothes nearly impossible to forget is their penchant for weird narratives. When asked to share their favorite stories, fairytales, or myths, Liz goes with the original Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. “It’s the usual story,” she says, “mermaid longing to be human and to be with the beautiful prince so she trades her tongue for legs with a sea witch.” However, “the prince doesn’t end up marrying the mermaid. And because of this, she has the option of killing him or losing her soul to the ocean. She can’t bring herself to kill him, so she dies instead: dissolving into sea foam and becoming one with the sea, air, and earth.” As for Eric, his is the Icelandic Christmas myth. “Instead of having a ‘Father Christmas’ like Santa,” Eric explains, “they have 13 homeless Christmas trolls that live at the top of a mountain. And if you’re bad, a giant black Christmas cat will come eat you. It’s cute!” And every season, they’ve presented their collection within the framework of similarly creepy narratives that they thought up themselves. Countless brands have made their collections with a “free-spirited ‘70s girl” in mind; but only one has made a collection with 1950s ska farmhouse voodoo Christmas in mind.
And of course it probably doesn’t hurt that Eric and Liz have a keen sense of humor about their designs. “Everything we make, we have to laugh at a little before it gets the OK,” says Liz, before Eric chimes in, “We want to envelop you.” And there’s little doubt that their upcoming collection will be any different; the show is, after all, aptly scheduled for Friday the 13th.
Photographed exclusively for Milk Made by Kevin Jude