ERIC LAWRENCE x TOMORROW
From the idyllic American town of Dallas, Texas comes 24-year-old Eric Lawrence— a skate rat turned clothing designer and the former protégé of Matthew Williams and Heron Preston. For the past three and a half years, Lawrence has established himself in New York City, sauntering amongst some of the most influential names in fashion and learning the ropes of the industry by assisting stylists and photographers. Last August, Lawrence launched his debut collection— a set of twenty-five vintage tee’s emblazoned with the letters A.N.G.E.R.— which, unexpectedly, turned into a major collaboration with the menswear brand Mr. Completely.
In light of the Tomorrow x Eric Lawrence collaboration dropping this fashion week, we spoke with Lawrence on his professional journey into clothing design, how his own brand truly came to be, and what he’s working on next.
Words: Kate Marin
Images: Eric Lawrence
Far from the land of fashion week and designer boutiques, The Lone Star State was where Lawrence first discovered his interest in fashion, and eventually, inspiration for his debut collection. “I was interested in clothing from a very young age,” he says. “I got really into skateboarding when I was 8 and I payed attention to how some of my favorite skaters dressed.” Ollies and kickflips aside, Lawrence sought inspiration from the punk style of his favorite skaters— an aesthetic so evident throughout the hoodies, tee’s, and frayed-hem sweatpants that comprise his work to date.
For Lawrence, finding harmony between the worlds of high and low culture, an element he incorporates into his work today, also came quite naturally. “In high school, I started to learn more about high end fashion,” he explains. “I knew I was going to do something in clothing from a very young age,” and his instincts were not far off. A few years later, Lawrence travelled to New York City and coincidentally met Matthew Williams, Kanye’s creative director at the time. After their exchange, Williams offered Lawrence a position at Alyx, his next venture in fashion. “Before I launched ‘anger’ I worked for Alyx and did a lot of assisting for stylists and photographers,” Lawrence explains. “I wanted to learn as much about the industry as possible from wherever I could.” Lawrence’s innate curiosity for the fashion industry— from production to editorial— and his urge to create something of his own, is essentially what made independently launching his own brand possible.
"Anger is an expression how I grew up: an outcast in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas."
And, just a few years after dropping out of community college to start his career in New York, Lawrence was ready to just that. “At first, it wasn't about creating my own brand,” he says. “It was more just me wanting to put out a limited collection of t-shirts and that was going to be it.” These t-shirts— a collection of 25 vintage blanks printed with the word “ANGER”— were inspired by a supernatural occurrence Lawrence had one night in New York. “The name came to me after a crazy experience I had,” he says. “I was out one night at this club in New York, and a woman in a red dress approached my friend and me. She told us to come with her and that we were being watched. The experience made me really curious, and after researching I found information on the occult and the connection to ‘the woman in the red dress,’ which then lead me to Kenneth Anger's films.” While serving as a more literal ode to the filmmaker, Kenneth Anger, Lawrence’s Anger tee’s also pay homage to his past life, representing the union of jock culture with the familiar skate aesthetic he admired so devotedly throughout his childhood.
“Putting ‘Anger’ and ’666’ in collegiate font on varsity colored garments and a hockey jersey and using O-ring silver hardware and industrial staples on warm-up style pants is an expression of how I grew up: an outcast in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas,” Lawrence shares. Exploring the unusual dynamics of his high school’s social scene where competitive jocks, grungy skaters, and hyper-focused academics all paraded the same halls, Lawrence’s clothing finds harmony amongst these clashing subcultures. But despite the collection’s personal significance, the ‘anger’ tee’s caught on— Lawrence landed a collaboration with Mr. Completely, menswear brand based in Los Angeles. “Keith (Mr. Completely) saw the vintage tee's I released on Instagram and he DM'd me to buy one,” Lawrence explains. “Eventually he asked me if I would be interested in turning ‘anger’ into a full collection.” For the collaboration, Lawrence reinvented his original anger tee’s into a complete collection of sweats, hoodies, jerseys, and jeans, while keeping his original vision in check.
Our upcoming merch collaboration with Lawrence, which will be one of many to come for the magazine, explores a powerful dynamic in the industry today— a union of high and low culture in fashion. “Where I'm from, skate culture and high fashion weren't even supposed to be used in the same sentence,” Lawrence reflects. “I remember dressing more like a fashion kid, but then going to a skatepark and changing my whole outfit in the car before going in. I had friends make fun of me for having Margiela sneakers in my closet next to my skate shoes.” Yet today, after the ubiquitous Louis Vuitton X Supreme collaboration and Vetements’ partnership with Champion, Lawrence acknowledges that these high-meets-low alliances are, as he puts it, “merging heavy right now,” and shed light on a refreshing new movement in the fashion industry. Uniting creatives from the worlds of fashion, art, and publishing, these cross-industry collaborations reach beyond print, forming unique tangible products that push and blur boundaries.