Proenza Schouler updates PS1, aims to build up accessories business

Proenza Schouler is looking to increase their business in the accessories market. The New York-based company is taking a macro-approach to their accessories category as they attempt to counter the problems the accessories market is currently facing.

Designers Jack McCollough and and Lazaro Hernandez have created new "Hex" and "Hava" visual design families. They have also updated the brand's signature PS1 bag, calling it the PS1+.

In the past, the brand focused on the PS1 as their core accessory, and the bread and butter of their handbag business. For their runway shows, they would present more one-off kinds of pieces, and not consider functionality as much.

Proenza Schouler expanding accessories business

In the wake of struggling markets in Europe and Asia, brands are trying to find ways to respond to customers needs accordingly. For a while, brands were doing a lot of the same thing in different variations, but Hernandez believes that it is time to do something new.

“I think women now are wanting to spend money on a whole new bag, something fresh, something exciting and it’s not enough to say, ‘This season it comes in blue, this season it comes in red,’” Hernandez said to WWD.

Proenza is hoping to double their accessories sale, despite the struggling market, with their new approach to accessories. Currently, accessories represents over half of the company's business. The company does not reveal actual sales figures.

The brand gave its first trial run at the Hava style in their spring runway show at New York Fashion Week last season. The bag takes its name from the Cuban-Spanish slang word for bag, as Havana was the theme for their collection. The style has been expanded to include different prices, sizes, and shapes.

The Hava range is meant to be inspired by the PS1, and includes similar features such as the flap closure, top stitching, and minimal hardware. The range is expected to expand and shift with each season's runway collection.

The Hex family that has been introduced is for those customers desiring bucket bags, which have become such a must-have. Proenza Schouler's bucket bags are designed as a triple helix, with three materials winding up from a geometrically shaped bottom. The price point for the bag ranges from 1000 dollars for the mini-size to 1960 dollars for a large size.

To spark customers interest in the PS1 range again, the brand released an elevated update to the design that will hit stores in January. The new PS1+ has more structure, and is made of pebbled calfskin leather, rather than a soft, smooth hide. The updates made to the bag were the result of consumer feedback. The knot from the PS1 strap has been removed to make it easier to sling the bag on your shoulder, and it's lining is now made of durable canvas with extra pockets.

The original PS1 will still continue to be expanded and produced. Both the PS1 and PS1+ are priced at 1780 dollars for the standard medium size.

The brand's full range of bags extends from the mini-crossbody bag at 890 dollars to 1960 dollars for the large Hex bucket bag. With the exception of special exotic editions, their bags retail under 2000 dollars.

To help further the expansion of their accessories category, Proenza has put in place a new accessories design team that was built from an assortment of different European leather-goods houses. It has also used its investment from Castanea Partners to expand the infrastructure of their private Italian manufacturing facility in Scandicci, just outside of Florence.

Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Galeries Lafayette have all voiced their support for Proenza's new handbag assortment.

With their new pricing, design, and investment in quality, McCollough and Hernandez believe that their brand is poised for sustainability.



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