At a time where the micro-trend cycle has dominated screens and attention spans thanks to the internet and social media, canon American labels have looked to young creatives at the height of influence to re-navigate Gen-Z audiences away from #sponsored Instagram labels and to consider a return to heritage labels. (Think Noah’s Brendon Babenzien for J.Crew or what was Yeezy x Balenciaga x Gap). This time, America’s sexy sweetheart label Guess has taken the same creative approach to re-energise the Guess label, with help of no other than ERL’s Eli Russel Linnetz.
Known for his former work as a photographer and creative director on projects with Ye, Kid Cudi, Lady Gaga and the Kardashians, the creative-cum-designer showcases a unique envisioning of the American Story. A product of his Venice Beach upbringing, his label, ERL is informed by the carefree, laid-back attitudes that came with the 1990s California melting pot of cultural references, scenes, attitudes and families.
With storytelling as the cornerstone of much of Eli Russel Linnetz’s creative and now design work, the Guess USA capsule tells the same story of the American Dream - this time finding a balance between Guess USA’s signature Americana style and the unique, nonconformist style of 90s youths and subcultures. There is also a synergetic energy between archival Guess campaigns and Linnetz’s own photography portfolio and ERL lookbooks. Linnetz says “GUESS has always used photography to tell amazing stories — stories that not just sold clothing but an exciting attitude and energy.” The result is a distinctly provocative, vintage-inspired campaign characterised by the sexiness of denim, leather and the red, blue white all-American Spirit.
Taking inspiration from Guess’ 40-year-old archive, the capsule looks as though it has been pulled straight from the brand’s atelier and onto our shelves. Lived in, worked in and played in. Faux-vintage treatments call back to the 1980s & 90s, the Golden age of the Guess brand, the touch, feel and sight of worn-in cotton tees, washed denim and lived-in cotton jersey ring the energy of naivety, teen spirit, dirtbag attitudes, skin-on-skin, Californication.