Ecko Creates Surreal Dreamscapes

NEW YORK Hip-hop clothier Ecko Unlimited eschews straight-forward product promotion in a fall campaign inspired by collage art and pop-up books and shot by photographer David LaChappelle.

While previous print work used celebrity models as the sole focus of clothing and accessory ads, this season’s “Dreamnasium” campaign uses cardboard cutouts of hip-hop artists, DJs and actors as pieces of fictitious landscape dioramas.

In one ad, entitled “Winner,” two models arm wrestle while another lies across the foreground with a trophy and a cheerleader jumps over a basketball hoop. In “Easy,” three models straddle a red carpet while penguins waddle past. Nearby, two men and a woman dressed as a dominatrix ride bicycles with ape-hanger handlebars.

Among those featured in the ads are hip-hop and rap artists including Mobb Deep and The Clipse, as well as actors Michael Rappaport and Asia Argento and DJs Max Glazer and Armand Van Helden.

The series of five print ads, created by Ecko’s in-house creative team, will debut in August magazines including Vibe, The Source and Stuff. The budget was undisclosed, but the company spent about $5 million on ads last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

New York-based Ecko, which uses a rhino as its brand icon, is sold in boutiques and at department stores including Macy’s, Foley’s and Burdine’s.