Marc Ecko contemplates the MARC ECKO CUT & SEW Popstalgia

Portraits by Stephen Sullivan.  Behind-the-Seens Photos by the 20/20 Editorial Team.

By James J. Spina

Don’t sniff around here for a typical interview feature with Marc Ecko. Been there. Done that. The debut of the new Marc Ecko Cut & Sew Eyewear Collection created in branding partnership with ClearVision Optical needed something special for a number of nifty reasons:
  • This magazine has been on a mission these last few years purporting men’s eyewear as a driving force in optical fronting style, quality and retail swagger with a commanding presence.
  • Interviews are a dime a dozen in these days of world wide blabbering. This celeb said this. This designer thinks this. This artist told this Twitter-site this tidbit of misinformation. Tweet. Tweet. Tweetle-your-thumbs.
  • There’s a media mountain of info out there about Marc Ecko and his adventures as a marketing artist and much of it is invaluable especially accessed from his enviable and entertaining website Fact is 20/20 strongly suggests you go there ASAP for a terrific tour of Ecko’s world. Suffice to say, Ecko is epic when it comes to creating a world draped in his actions, his attitude, his humanity and... His... gear.
So 20/20 wanted ALL of him and not just verbiage.

Marc is luminously evolving Ecko as a brand. Growing and maturing, Ecko deftly realizes he can have it all by never losing sight of his root accomplishments as an attitude artist moving on from airbrushed T-shirts through to the rhino charge of Ecko Unltd. for young men, Eckored for women and sport gear a la Zoo York. Heck, when my 10-year-old son Gram wants to show off his classic rock roots he dons a silver-grey and glittzered Ecko T-shirt, air guitars to AC/DC and asks me when he’ll be old enough to read Complex, Ecko’s magazine.

That brings us to Cut & Sew, Ecko’s personal vision of growing up cool, part James Bond (the novels, not the flicks) and part uncle/dad looking to his family heritage for tailoring and mentor inspiration. And so... the gauntlet. We wanted Marc to put his mettle to the metal. Earn the 20/20 cover story by fitting some real guys in the new Cut & Sew Eyewear collection. No celebrities. No fashion models. Real men... of our choosing.

What you see here is the result of that multifunctional “photo” shoot. Marc Ecko gave 20/20 a full day and we, in turn, gave him a brood of three guys in a variety of demographics, ready to be inspected, bedecked in Ecko and spec’ed in Cut & Sew Eyewear.

Our guys? Easy, yet challenging in age range and attitude: the men of the Ferrara family. That’s right, we delivered 20/20 publisher Marc Ferrara and sons Michael and Matt. And on the morning of the shoot Marc Ecko walked in to Eagles Nest Studio in New York greeted by a table full of Cut & Sew Eyewear, overflowing racks of Ecko apparel, 20/20’s ace portrait and fashion photographer Stephen Sullivan, and the 20/20 edit/art team ready to document Marc Ecko delivering the look of Ecko... or three... or four... since we were also there to record his face for the 20/20 cover.

Ecko got in close and deep in short order, questioning all three Ferraras on their music tastes, their backgrounds, likes and dislikes. He needed to get the picture... THEIR picture. Ecko studied their faces and the life forces fueling a father and two sons. He didn’t do deep scrutiny of what they were wearing, instead riffing through the Ecko wardrobe choosing Marc Ferrara for the first “makeover” in what initially seemed like a radical rethink on the somewhat conservative-looking dad.

But Daddy Ferrara is NOT conservative. He has cutting-edge music taste rooted in classic rock icons Neil Young and Dylan, but always ready to experience new sounds. His respect of history and its impact on the future roars through in his answer to Ecko’s question about who he would most like to share a meal with: Abraham Lincoln. That’s Ecko’s choice as well, a fact he later shares with Ferrara’s younger son as he prepped him for his moment in front of the camera.

The Ecko-prepped dad, from spec to toe, is in fact so comfortable with the choices he chooses to stay decked in the shoot clothing for the duration of the day. You can see peripheral pics of him here making cell calls for work and completely at ease in his new look.

The challenge with college-grad Michael (Dylan is his middle name so yet another testament to dad’s and mom’s cool) is initially tougher for Ecko. A hat makes Michael flounder as too hipster. Various shirt choices seem too studied. Even the first eyewear option delivers a studious message that is basically ALL WRONG. But when it finally clicks the somewhat complex Michael breaks out in a genuine smile of earned satisfaction.

And now for Matt. On-the-verge-of-college Matt gets the day’s MOST special Ecko-ism. And it’s not even about the glasses, although the eyewear does drive home the deal. Ecko wants Matt laid-back and hoody but with the twist of a white tie. Uh oh. No. White. Tie. Nobigdeal. One of the clever 20/20 editors (me!) remembered to bring a fabric scissor (a visual keynote to Ecko Cut & Sew) and with just a few confident snips, Ecko savages a cotton T-shirt into a sleek, white tie looking like rich cashmere.

Matt smiles. Marc smirks, satisfied. The glasses add the subtle twist to the look. And the final portrait is complete. Wait a second. We need to take a picture of Ecko for... THE COVER. That particular shot happens in nano seconds. Fast, secure and picture perfect. And what glasses should Ecko wear? Ever gracious, he asks 20/20 to guide him to the right eyewear and sunwear.

So did you notice that this whole feature happened without one single quote from Marc Ecko? Why? We wanted you to see that this engaging man is a person of actions speaking far louder than words. See? You CAN see an Ecko. ■