Winner of five CDFA Awards, New York-based womenswear and accessories brand Proenza Schouler was founded in 2002 by fashion designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.
New York-based womenswear and accessories brand Proenza Schouler was founded in 2002 by fashion designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, who duo met while studying at Parsons School of Design and subsequently collaborated on their senior thesis which became their first collection as Proenza Schouler. It was an instant hit. Named after the designers’ mothers’ maiden names, the collection was bought by none other than Barneys New York. What’s more, a decade later, the duo celebrated the reissue of their debut collection at Barney’s.
Awarded with the inaugural CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2004, the emerging fashion brand was quickly established as one to watch out for in the industry. Since, Proenza Schouler won five CFDA awards, including the 2003 Swarovski Award for Ready-to-Wear, the 2009 Accessory Designer of the Year award, and the Womenswear Designer of the Year award in 2007, 2011, and 2013.
Proenza Schouler makes luxury fashion for the intelligent, urban woman. The body of work is defined by Jack and Lazaro’s use of luxury fabrics and an effortless design aesthetic. The fashion brand launched its first handbag collection in 2008, including the PS1, a classic satchel that has been described by fashion editors as “wearable luxury” and quickly became become the brand’s signature. In 2012, the brand expanded its accessories line with a footwear collection licensed through Giuseppe Zanotti, Vicini SpA. Buoyed by success, the brand diversified into swimwear in 2014 through a licensing agreement with Swimwear Anywhere. The following year, Proenza Schouler signed a licensing agreement with L’Oréal for the development and creation of fragrances.
Proenza Schouler quickly mapped its rise through a number of significant collaborations with leading brands. The duo created a line of hand painted denim with J Brand, collaborated with filmmaker Harmony Korine on their first original video, Act Da Fool, featuring the Fall 2010 collection, released a limited reissue of its Fall 2003 collection for Barneys New York, collaborated with MAC Cosmetics on a limited-edition makeup collection, and partnered with Parisian department store Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche for a capsule collection and exhibit. The following year, the duo collaborated with Harley Weir and Jen Brill on an original video, ‘Legs Are Not Doors’, featuring the 2015 Spring Collection and again the following year on their second original video together, ‘PS I Love You’, featuring the Pre-Fall 2016 collection.
There were a lot of structural changes. In 2007, the Valentino Fashion Group bought a 45 per cent stake in Proenza Schouler. Stefano Sassi, Valentino Fashion Group CEO, became Chairman of Proenza Schouler and Shirley Cook continued to be the CEO. “We’re happy we now have a security net for our company, which we never had before,” Hernandez told WWD. “The business has been growing exponentially, and to do that you need the proper funding.” McCollough added. “It’s also having a strategic partner who can really get involved in terms of the factories, to be able to help with timely deliveries, and with distribution networks — all things the Valentino Fashion Group has a lot of strength in.” In 2011, Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez issued a joint statement to confirm that Andrew Rosen and John Howard took over a stake in their business from Permira—the conglomerate that operates Valentino. Finally, Castanea Partners acquired a minority interest in the fashion brand, appointing Judd Crane as CEO. In end-2018, however, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez – with the help of private investors – bought back their company’s shares from Castanea Partners.
In 2017, Proenza Schouler announced their exit from the traditional ready-to-wear calendar to align with the couture calendar. This switch changed the location of their runway shows from New York to Paris, and merged their main and pre-collections, only showing twice a year. The fashion designers continue to stay grounded in their design aesthetic while staying relevant. On their Fall Winter 2023 collection, Vogue wrote, “Clothes-wise, the idea was to make an art of the everyday. By adding vertical zippers to the back of blazers that flashed a hint of skin but also enhanced ease of movement, by whipping up a hoodie in the softest, plushest knit, and by cutting “jeans” in a glossy gold leather…”
Proenza Schouler has a flagship boutique located at 121 Greene Street in New York, and is sold in over 350 doors worldwide, including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, Galeries Lafayette, and Shinsegae. The brand is available online at www.proenzaschouler.com, as well as through its retail partners including Net-A-Porter, MyTheresa, Matches Fashion, Moda Operandi, and FarFetch.
Designing a complete, contemporary wardrobe for the intelligent, adult, urban woman of today. Hernandez told WWD, “It’s a weird sort of vision: the atelier couture thing, but the vision of someone who grew up in the Nineties. It’s the mix of both worlds.”
Womenswear and accessories
Founders ack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez
2003: Swarovski Award for Ready-to-Wear; 2003: Inaugural CFDA/Perry Ellis Award for emerging talent and and the first recipients of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2004, taking home a cash prize of $200,000; 2009: CDFA Accessory Designer of the Year Award; CDFA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2007, 2011 and 2013. In 2014, the design duo won Designer of the Year at Accessories Council’s ACE Awards. Proenza Schouler was awarded Best Fashion Film at Fashion Film Festival Milano for their original video, ‘Legs Are Not Doors’, in 2015. The following year, Proenza Schouler was featured in Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.’