Eric Lawrence has a lot of big names to thank for his unlikely come-up in New York's cutthroat fashion scene. But the first person he owes his career to is Drake.
Back in 2012, while visiting his older sister in New York, the then-20-year-old Lawrence went to a Drake concert the night before heading back home to the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. In the crowd, he somehow spotted Matthew Williams, who was Kanye West's creative director at the time. (Being a fashion-obsessed young man, he knew exactly what Williams looked like.) His sister encouraged him to go up and introduce himself, maybe take a picture. So he did. And by the end of their conversation, which only lasted about ten minutes, Williams invited Lawrence to his office for an interview.
Williams said he would offer Lawrence an internship, but he didn't want to pressure him into uprooting his life as a student back in Texas. Lawrence, however, had no hesitations. “I went back to Texas, dropped out of school—I was in my first semester of community college—quit my job, packed my car, and drove to New York," he said. "When I got there, I emailed him: Hey, I’m here.”
Almost five years later, the 24-year-old is "here" by his own accord. Last week, he launched his own capsule collection with with Los Angeles based streetwear brand, Mr. Completely, which includes one-of-a-kind t-shirts, pants, and hoodies. Inspired by a handmade shirt that Kenneth Anger, the '60s underground experimental filmmaker, used to wear around New York City, Lawrence re-purposed his design, which took the Rangers hockey team logo and dropped the 'R' to spell 'anger.' He spent a month going around the city collecting pre-'90s vintage t-shits, gathering around 50-60, mostly from Metropolis and Front General.
“With everything going on right now, I think it’s an emotion that everyone can relate to,” said Lawrence of his "anger" shirts, which he didn't plan on being such a strong representation of the current zeitgeist. The collaboration with Keith Richardson of Mr. Completely, however, was a bit of destiny. The two connected via social media one day, but Lawrence later learned that Richardson was actually Matthew Williams' soccer coach and gave him his first internship in the fashion industry. “I’m like collaborating with my grandfather right now,” said Lawrence with a laugh.
After the fated Drake concert in 2012, Williams "kind of adopted" Lawrence, showing him all the steps that it takes to get to a final product—and occasionally asking him to babysit his daughter. “Matt always said I had a good eye, but I never knew where to look," he recalled. "He’s like an encyclopedia though and has an insane collection of fashion books and magazines. He really showed me how to research."
In 2015, Williams started his own brand called Alyx, and has since moved to Italy to be closer to his manufacturers, forcing him and Lawrence to part ways. After all these years working and collaborating in New York, though, Lawrence was ready to try new things. He continues to work with both Abloh, fashion's "über connector," and Preston, who asked him to photograph and style the lookbook for his recent Department of Sanitation collection. Lawrence is also friendly with the newest crop of front row personalities, including Sarah Snyder, Tallulah Willis, and Luka Sabbat—all of whom have Instagram themselves wearing his 'anger' shirts.
Despite the positive reception his capsule collection has received, Lawrence is still interested in following in the footsteps of his mentors by taking his time. “Right now, I’m just really studying how to make clothes," he said. "I spend 40-plus hours a week in the studio." One day, he wants to have his own brand, but not anytime soon. "I’m too young!" he said, which, ironically, is a statement far beyond his years.
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