The clothing line Proenza Schouler began as a senior project at the Parsons School of Design by then fashion students Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. The young men first met in 1999 and instantly formed a friendship. During their junior year, McCollough took an internship with Marc Jacobs and around the same time, Hernandez snuck a note to Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour while on the same Miami-New York flight. Because of this note Hernandez received a phone call from Michael Kors, leading to an internship with him. During their senior year, Hernandez and McCollough worked together at United Bamboo and realized they had similar design visions and philosophies. After getting the green light from Parsons to work on their senior project together, they created the moniker, Proenza Schouler, after their mothers’ maiden names. Their project/first collection exceeded all expectations not only within the school but with outside professionals. They received the Golden Thimble Award and Barney’s New York purchased the entire line, hence the launch of their own independent label. Barney’s immediately asked for a spring 2003 line, which was named by Women’s Wear Daily and Style.com as one of the “Top 10 collections” of the season. Additionally, stores allover the world, like Harvey Nichols and Neiman Marcus started to purchase their lines. That same year, they received the CFDA/Swarovski Perry Ellis Award for Ready-to-Wear designs. By 2004 Proenza Schouler launched their first shoe line, which was also a hit with critics and buyers being voted one of the “Top 10 Fall Accessories”. Only a few years after launching their label they were awarded the 2007 Womenswear Designer of the Year award by the Council of Fashion Designers (tying with Oscar de la Renta). Due to their achievements, they have since started designing and producing ophthalmic glasses, sunglasses, and handbags.
Pro-EN-za SKOO-ler is the correct pronunciation. Their immediate success helped them build up quite a celebrity following; Chloe Sevigny, Maggie Gyllenaal, Kyra Sedgwick, and Kirsten Dunst to name a few.