Eli Russel Linnetz, who became a finalist for LVMH’s Young Designer prize in 2022, was far from an outsider to the industry before launching ERL in 2018, but his experience with clothing was limited. The creative artist started by making opera costumes while at University of Southern California, where he studied screenwriting, to pay for his fees. Flashforward a few years later and Linnetz is working with some of the biggest artists’, such as Kanye West’s Famous and Fade music videos, as well as collaborating with the likes of Kid Cudi, Grimes and Lady Gaga. Linnetx also worked with Comme des Garçons, helping create the film for “Andy Warhol’s You’re In” scent. Unknown to him at the time, the relationship he built with CDG would later help him to create ERL.
BORN OUT OF DOVER STREET MARKET
In 2018, Dover Street Market was expanding to LA, Linnetz’ own grounds. With his work for CDG, Linnetz had caught the attention of the president of DSM Adrian Joffe. When opening the LA store, Joffe immediately thought of Linnetz and proposed to him to create a tote bag or a graphic tee for the occasion. Linnetz designed a whole line of ready-to-wear, which included hoodies, tees and a corduroy jacket in collaboration with Nike and the artist Jordan Wolfson. Just like that, the line was a success and ERL was born. By 2020, the brand showed its first full collection under the Paris DSM umbrella.
MORE SPECIFICALLY, VENICE BEACH
The wider state of California has always served as an endless source of inspiration for ERL, but more specifically, Linnetz takes cues from his home Venice Beach. This can be seen through the clothing’s bright and bold colours which fill up the city of LA. It is also the people of Venice and their day-to-day lives that Linnetz draws from. The designer once remarked that California is one of the only places in the world where people can skate, surf as well as ski, all these sports and their 90s nostalgia informing the design output.
THE LOUD PRINTS THAT CAN BE HEARD A MILE AWAY
In tune with the loud colours, ERL is also known for its use of prints. A clear example of this was seen on Bad Bunny during his recent Coachella performance where the artist was seen wearing an ERL puffer and trousers made of several prints, from a flannel-like checked red and black print to a green-toned floral motif. A 70s-inspired floral print is often seen in other ERL designs, as well as a loose tiger print, polka dots and mismatched imagery from hearts to a block of cheese.
IT’S A BRAND OF CREATIVE ESSENTIALS
When looking at an ERL collection, it’s hard to imagine the process behind it to be hardcore – but it is. For his Winter 2022 collection, Linnetz got rid of all his clothing except for a tee and a pair of shorts, to figure out exactly what it was he needed. Past the bold colours and the non-linear motifs, there is a sense of function and purpose to each piece, all designed with an intent to be used. The first ERL puffer was made for FW20, where the designer felt it necessary after spending time in a cold region whistle also integrating his interpretation of the California sunset.
Since the launch of his brand, Linnetz has infiltrated the world of high fashion, notably by creating the quilted cape A$AP Rocky wore to the Met Gala in 2021. ERL also collaborated with Kim Jones’ Dior for the Resort 2023 collection. Blending French heritage luxury with American coolness, the collaboration gave us the “California Couture” knitted jumper, ERL’s non-linear designs and an array of clothing with juxtaposed colours. Linnetz also took over New York’s Bergdof Goodman’s store, for the first time ever redecorating its facade in its 120 years of existence. Linnetz’ ERL is proof that America, and indeed California, has its own aesthetic to match the likes of French couture and British heritage.
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