embossed beauty at ny fashion label area
New York fashion label Area, founded less than a year ago by Polish-Dutch designer Piotrek Panszczyk and Kentucky-born Beckett Fogg, is on the rise. During New York Fashion Week Area presented its spring/summer 15 collection in Jeff Koons’ studio...
Area is still very young. How did it start?
Beckett: During our studies at Parsons we were always attracted to each other's work and started flirting with the idea of beginning a label together.
Piotrek: This was just the right time.
Piotrek previously worked at Chloé, and Beckett at Calvin Klein. How did that experience influence you?
P: There are so many important things that just can't be taught in a classroom. Working for a major label was crucial for developing our craftsmanship, strategy and contacts.
Your use of clean but textured materials is striking.
P: We are both textile nerds, it usually starts with the material.
B: For the last collection we explored the concept of embossing. By embedding a lot of heat and pressure we create three-dimensional patterned fabrics. The process is beautiful!
P: That's why our capsule collection for Opening Ceremony was photographed with the press creases still in it.
Your showroom was in Jeff Koons' White Space. Was it busy?
P: Yes, we were basically talking non stop. It was great to meet people from amazing stores like Colette, The Webster and Barneys.
Did Koons drop in?
P: He was at work next door, but his wife Justine Koons came by rocking one of our t-shirts!
Who else do you want to see in Area?
B: We try not to think about things like that. We just want to make clothes that many different personalities can relate to.
Do you feel limited by the commercial nature of New York fashion?
P: No, it's what makes us realistic. You need money to create cool stuff so you need to sell your product, which is very challenging and exciting. We want to be both as creative and commercial as possible, without being boring and conventional.
B: That's why our second line is so important to us. The t-shirts retail for $85 but we haven't sacrificed our artistic integrity for it. In fact, that line exemplifies everything Area stands for. We want our friends to be able to buy our clothes as well.
Your style is very clean, but then all of a sudden Leonardo DiCaprio's face pops up on the pieces.
B: That's a picture of Leo as Jim Carroll in Basketball Diaries, our banal interpretation of sportswear. It does not refer to actual sportswear but to an iconic image of sport.
Sportswear with a little bit of bling?
P: Yes! After some extensive research… on Blac Chyna's Instagram (haha!) we decided to translate her dimple piercings into closings. At Area everything is a synergy of simplicity, complexity, beauty, banality and fun.
Could Area exist without New York?
B: The cool thing about New York is that it is such a melting pot of people and cultures. There's a real energy that drives us forward.
P: And if it wasn't for New York we would've probably never met. But we don't design with a specific market in mind. Our capsule collection is also for sale in London and we just signed another exclusive with Opening Ceremony to carry our main line in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
What can we expect in the future?
B: Hopefully we can intrigue more people with our ideas and make a product that is strong, personal, always with some shenanigans and always with grace.
P: So y'all sit tight and enjoy the ride!
Text Lisa Bouyeure
Photography by Kathy Lo