When Parson’s students Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez met in 1999, neither one of them could predict that they’d end up where they are today.
In truth, both designers grew up with very different intended career paths. Hernandez, who hails from Miami, originally wanted to be a doctor. McCollough, on the other hand, grew up in New Jersey and originally went to the San Francisco Art Institute to study glass blowing. Eventually, the two made their way to Parson’s School for Design in New York City. They met in their junior year and instantly bonded over their similar fashion tastes.
During their time at Parsons, they gained experience in the fashion world by interning at design houses; McCollough at Marc Jacobs, Hernandez at Micheal Kors. In 2002, the duo got permission to work together on their senior thesis, which consisted of creating their own collection to present in a fashion show. They named their line after their mothers’ maiden names, Proenza Schouler (pro-EN-za SKOO-ler).
Not only was their collection well received by their class (earning them the designer of the year award from their school), it caught the attention of Julie Gilhart, the fashion director for Barney’s. The store ended up purchasing the entire collection. It was then that Proenza Schouler, still fresh from design school, became a force to be reckoned with in the fashion world.
In 2003, they were awarded with the Perry Ellis New Talent Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Four years later, they presented a line for Target’s Go International collection.
Proenza Schouler continues to show consistently strong collections during New York fashion week. Their elegant but hip styles are favored by fashion bigwigs like Tim Gunn and Anna Wintour, as well as by celebrities ranging from Chloe Sevigny to Amy Adams, who wore a green Proenza Schouler gown to the 2008 Academy Awards.
Although still very young, both Hernandez and McCollough continue to find ways to impress on the runway.
All photos courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.