The Modernization of Luxury

Posted by: Rachel Iwaniec

In fashion we continuously see designers gravitating to the past for inspiration.  An air of nostalgia seeps into season after season, a longing for the past seen through a “modern” lens.  But does this process really relate to the contemporary culture? 

the proenza boys

The womenswear label, Proenza Schouler is undeniably one of the most successful present-day luxury brands out there.  The Proenza boys, as the handsome twosome, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, are nicknamed, have a different way of looking at luxury fashion.  The duo never ceases to amaze the crowds with an unmistakable high-concept vision on fashion.  In an interview with Business of Fashion, McCollough makes it known that Proenza Schouler is “not your Mom’s luxury brand”.

runway 1

Referencing tumblr in their Spring 13 collection, the Proenza boys don’t deny the exposure to the internet is not only a major player in the world today, but also a factor in their work.  With over 96 million blogs on tumblr, Proenza Schouler is speaking to a very specific customer base, one that is focused on the now.


The collage dresses that walked down the isle at the finale of their spring collection conveyed the overwhelming and happenstance nature that sculpts the Internet and thus the perspective of the individual.  Fusing different images captured from Tumblr, the boys embraced technology and encapsulated the world that we live in today.  Nothing about the spring collection was looking back at the past.  From the materials used to the techniques implemented to generate the garments touched upon contemporary way of life.

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Unlike other high-fashion labels, the boys appreciate and profit from the interactive and collaborative nature of the Internet and the various media platforms it provides.  Their interest and ease towards technology enables McCollough and Hernandez to experiment and explore different ways to exhibit their work and communicate with the outside world.

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While the fashion industry has finally joined the media establishment, the boys have been members since its inception.  But the chief disparity between Proenza Schouler and the latest social media affiliates is how they manipulate the digital age.  Proenza has managed to hone in on the essence of the modern culture and the intent to continue to move the mark forward.

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