In the midst of this week’s shows there are some truly interesting conversations going on at Milk Studios. I’ve been fortunate enough to sit in on two of them.
Thursday night, it was the Proenza Schouler talk at the IFB conference. Design duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez sat down with the Business of Fashion‘s Imran Amed to discuss The Web. (As in bloggers, e-commerce, and viral campaigns.)
Their perspective was honest. McCollough and Hernandez said that they stayed away from the web for sometime, only to realize its potential after they hired Allegra, a social media whiz who tweets for the brand. Today, Proenza not only produces web-specific campaigns, they also sell exclusive items online (like the Mochila PS1 wallet I bought a few months ago). Last season, they even released a short film via Nowness directed by Harmony Korine.
Of course the topic of blogging came up, as it was the Independent Fashion Bloggers conference. We’re happy to report that the duo understands the power of blogs, and appreciates their support. As for their thoughts on Franca Sozzani’s blogger rant, Hernandez slickly replied, “Maybe our idea of influence is different than hers.”
The boys also talked about how they’d like to maybe do a lower-priced line someday, rather than collaborating with a discount retailer again.
And while they answered the Italian Vogue question in a diplomatic but honest fashion, they were quieter about their relationship with Andrew Rosen, who is rumored to be interested in buying the label from private equity firm Permira. Imran tried his hardest to pull it out of them, but it didn’t happen. “To be continued,” is all they would say. (But here’s an update on that: I heard today from a source that the deal was supposed to go through last spring, and it keeps getting delayed.)
Yet even though I’m obsessed with the Rosen-Proenza deal, it wasn’t what last night was about.
It was about how the web itself has influenced these two designers. While they used to spend the first few weeks of a new collection period sifting through images from a midtown picture library, they now sit for hours upon hours, “Googling our faces off.”