"Culturally we've benefited from a moment where people have turned against the bling-bling and giant global brands. People want to buy from small, young designers."
Lazaro Hernandez, one half of Proenza Schouler, is a Cuban American originally from Miami. Hernandez was always interested in fashion but initially went on to attend med school. In 1999, after realizing where his heart truly lied, Hernandez made the change to study fashion at the Parsons School of Design in New York. Here he met and formed an instant bond with Jack McCollough (the other half of Proenza Schouler). During his junior year, in 2000, while waiting at a Miami airport gate, Hernandez saw his idol; Vogue’s Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour. Not having the courage to speak to Wintour in person he wrote an impassioned note on a napkin about his love for fashion. He then asked a stewardess to hand it to her (a chance encounter that would later be chronicled by the NY Times). After three silent weeks, Hernandez then received a phone call from Michael Kors, landing himself an internship with the designer. Hernandez decided to work as a team with Jack McCollough for their senior project, thus the creation of the moniker, ‘Proenza Schouler’. The collection was highly successful within the school, but also reached the attention of outside designers, buyers and critics. Their entire line was bought by Barneys New York and the partners received that years’ Golden Thimble Award. The next step was the formation of their new label, ‘Proenza Schouler’. By 2004 they introduced their first shoe collection and within three years they took on ophthalmic glasses and sunglasses, which happens to be one of MyCloset.com’s favorite eyewear collections. Their designs have won both McCollough and Hernandez international acclaim and in 2007 Proenza Schouler won the Womenswear Designer of the Year award from the CFDA (tying with Oscar de la Renta).
The Proenza Schouler moniker is a nod to their mothers’ maiden names. Along with McCollough, Hernandez owns a farm in Massachusetts.