Lucy McKenzie (born Glasgow 1977, lives Brussels) is a visual artist whose installations explore intersecting ideologies within commercial, public and fine-art painting. She exhibits internationally, including solo shows at MoMA, New York, Tate, London and Stedelijk, Amsterdam. Since 2011 she has, together with designer Beca Lipscombe, produced fashion collections under the name Atelier E.B. The label employs ethical production and utilises existing networks within the contemporary art scene. In so doing, they explore alternative methods of producing, exhibiting and distributing independent fashion. There next collection will be sold as part of an exhibition at Serpentine, London, in 2018.
Atelier E.B place art and design on an equal footing, applying methodologies from both spheres (for instance, imbedding critique into clothing and utilising the notion of ‘styling’ as an artistic strategy). Our designs are produced, sold and promoted ethically, yet are too stylistically hacked to be marketed as an ‘eco brand’.
Art is fascinated with fashion; dazzled by its pace and glamour, jealous of its utility. On the flip side, fashion’s adoption of approaches associated with contemporary art are rarely in ways that challenge the fundamental hierarchies, prejudices and exploitations that exist in the fashion industry. Atelier E.B’s designs do not look avant-guarde in the way generally considered, with unusual (or even unwearable) materials and silhouettes, disconnected from everyday life. Rather, the complex narratives that create each collection are expressed in other ways. The brand is able to develop idiosyncratically because it is facilitated by the networks and opportunities within the contemporary art scene. This creates many advantages for the label; utilising an existing structure keeps overheads to a minimum and brings the product directly to the customer. Selling directly also circumvents the mediating power brokers such as stylists, buyers and editors that come between the designer and the wider public.