At Proenza Schouler, Tough Questions and Clarity

For Spring/Summer ‘24, Proenza Schouler founders and self-described “art school kids” Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez posed big questions of commercial viability to runway show attendees, who were in turn treated to a collection exuding clarity of vision and creative identity.

Jack McCollough adjusts the order of looks to run at the Spring/Summer ‘24 show. Credit (all images): Proenza Schouler.

Runway Redux asks designers to reflect on a new collection; Surface reports from behind the scenes last week at New York Fashion Week.

Which look is your favorite?

JM: The suiting in the beginning is indicative of who our woman is, in a lot of ways. 

LH: And the woman in it, it was Weyes Blood who opened the show and. She did the music for the whole show—, it was her composition. She’s an amazing performer, artist, just incredible. For us she represents the woman.

Left: Weyes Blood opens the Proenza Schouler show. Right: Lazaro Hernandez adjusts a look during a fitting.

What was the inspiration?

LH: In a snapshot, it’s art and commerce. Where’s that line for us? We’re art school kids. We love soul, and the artistic spirit, integrity, and all those qualities in art. But somehow we have a business and we’re selling clothes. Where’s that line between art and commerce? That’s why we showed at Phillips

JM: This is the place where artists’ work comes to be judged and valued. What’s the commercial viability of a piece? All those things happen in this space, so we thought it was an interesting metaphor for what we do— not that we’re calling ourselves artists by any means. We’re designers. It’s different. But we’re creatives and we’re grappling, I think, with very similar issues that artists grappled with.

Attending any parties or events? 

JM: Hopefully not [laughs].

LH: We hope to not.

JM: We’re going to go see our friends tonight for a nice, big, fun dinner.

It’s not uncommon for New York designers to switch to showing in Paris, or stop showing at all. What keeps you at New York Fashion Week?

JM: It’s just natural for us. It’s our home. It’s where our team is, it’s where we started, it’s where our studio is. 

LH: What we do very much taps into a New York energy. Although we’re international, it does have a bit of a New York spirit that I think is essential.

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