Recently nominated for a CFDA Award, all-rounder Eli Russell Linnetz is a California kid with an incredible resume. To give you an idea? He’s directed music videos for Kanye West, designed sets for Lady Gaga, been David Mamet’s assistant, designed for COMME des GARÇONS, produced music for Kid Cudi, photographed the Kardashian family… and as if that wasn’t enough, he’s now at the helm of his phenomenon brand ERL, launched at Dover Street Market.
In a week’s time, he turns 31. Born on November 25, 1990 near Venice Beach in Los Angeles, where he still lives today, Eli Russell Linnetz has made the most of his creative potential in just about every field. For fame? Not really. Rather, because he likes a challenge and sticking to a single vocation could have led to boredom. As a child, his mother gave him a sewing machine.
At the age of 14, he sent fake CVs to countless designers, hoping for an answer that never came. He then studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California, did opera and designed theatre costumes to pay for his schooling. It is this boldness (like the privileged environment in which he evolves) that inevitably leads him to the right meetings.
In 2016, he directed one of Kanye West’s most famous music videos, Fade, as well as Famous. Behind the design of the floating stage for the Life of Pablo tour? Eli Russell Linnetz again. By getting closer to Kanye, it also allows him to shoot polaroid portraits of the whole Kardashian-West family and to shoot various campaigns for their respective brands: Yeezy and Skims.
To this already rich background, let’s also add the creation of the set for Enigma, Lady Gaga’s residency in Las Vegas, the co-production of a Kid Cudi album, the writing of songs for Teyana Taylor and various editorial image creations highlighting Selena Gomez, the couple Justin and Hailey Bieber or Grimes.
More recently, he decided to devote himself entirely to a proposal made by Adrian Joffe, husband of Rei Kawakubo and president of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market. The project? To create a streetwear piece that would bear his initials: ERL Clothing. And what was supposed to be a simple collaboration around a T-shirt for the launch of the Dover Street Market shop in Los Angeles has finally turned into an iconoclastic brand.
Its inspirations? From the Pixar films of the 1990s, to the skaters of Venice Beach to the Santa Monica swim team. The collection’s best-selling graphic hoodies and shiny corduroy pieces are as representative of the brand as the giant quilted cape A$AP Rocky wore to the MET 2021 gala. Not to mention the incredible bridle look Kid Cudi wore to the CFDA ceremony, where Eli Russell Linnetz was nominated for the American Emerging Designer of the Year Award.