Atelier E.B (Edinburgh Bruxelles) is the company name under which the designer Beca Lipscombe and the artist Lucy McKenzie sign their collaborative projects. The group was formed in 2007 and since 2011 the pair have operated as a fashion label. This spring, they present for the first time in Vienna with their third collection, IOTII, for sale direct to the public from a custom-built boutique installation at Galerie Meyer Kainer.
Art’s fascination with fashion rarely penetrates beneath its surface, content to perpetuate its contradictions without critical analysis. Atelier E.B place art and design on an equal footing, and apply methodologies from both spheres to explore their potential for independent expression. Their designs are produced, sold and promoted ethically, yet are too stylistically hacked to be easily marketed as an ‘eco brand’. Conversely they are too inconsistent in price and material to be niche luxury; they defy categorisation. Atelier E.B consider clothing a sophisticated tool for empowerment, agency and pleasure. By taking advantage of networks within the contemporary art scene, the label circumvents mediating power brokers such as stylists, buyers and magazines to bring wearable clothes straight to the local consumer at the best possible price.
Sportswear has been acting as a modernizing influence on fashion since the nineteenth century, and continues to be at the forefront of how people express their cultural allegiances. In 2014, with the referendum to leave the United Kingdom, Scotland was asked to reflect on its identity, and Atelier E.B combine these issues in IOTII. In the collection can be found exquisitely woven and knitted cashmeres, handmade Belgian lingerie and neo-classical nylon ‘cosplay’ tracksuits. The hand intarsia football tops in cashmere and merino have nationalist logos appropriately pixilated. They also present wool mix school-skirts, silk and lace football shorts, oversized polo shirts, the perfect artschool-girl coat and fictitious sponsorship from the Clydesdale Bank. Accessories include a football hooligan’s paisley scarf, ‘Mockintosh’ jewellery, a trompe-l’oeil zip brooch, Ivan Lendl picnic blanket, and Slovak ‘Civicky’ gym shoes. An accompanying catalogue of The Inventors of Tradition II, will be published this spring by Walter Koenig Verlag.