Designer Dish. Proenza Schouler Finds New Investors, Regains More Control

Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez

The beloved male duo behind cult fave label Proenza Schouler has decided to become in charge of their own fate. Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have decided to end their financial relationship with Valentino Fashion Group after more than a year of negotiations, in favor of a group of 20 investors led by industry veteran Andrew Rosen and financier John Howard. According to WWD,  the group has invested $10 million to $20 million into the business and assumed debt in exchange for a minority stake equal to that held by Proenza Schouler’s management. This new deal replaces the Valentino Fashion Group’s holdings, who paid an estimated $3.7 million for a 45 percent stake in Proenza Schouler in 2007 and who will still retain 5 percent of the company today.
And despite the bigger payoff, the two designers will see very little of that money, having chosen more control over their own company instead. The new arrangement was chosen specifically to give the designers the designers and chief executive officer Shirley Cook the freedom to focus on the development of their brand. Sources noted this leaves them with a minority stake in the business, whereas before they were said to own 55 percent of the company. “We are thankful to VFG for giving us a start, and allowing us to get where we are today,” said McCollough, Hernandez and Cook in a joint statement. “There’s so much we’d like to accomplish and have found the perfect complement in John and Andrew to help us realize our dreams.”
Proenza Schouler RTW Fall 2011

So what’s next for the two-time winners of the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award with this new financial autonomy? Sources speculated that the new funding would be used to build Proenza Schouler’s diversity in the designer area, including increased focus on accessories, retail, e-commerce and potentially a higher profile in denim. Proenza Schouler has already collaborated on jeans with J Brand, established themselves in the handbag market with their signature PS1 satchel, added a line of small leather goods on their e-commerce site, and have been working on costume jewelry. Needless to say, we are all pretty excited about what this new situation will result in for Proenza Schouler.
-Alia Rajput
Article and Photo Source: WWD

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