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Proenza Schouler expanding accessories business

Proenza Schouler expanding accessories business

Proenza Schouler is jump-starting its accessories business with a new line of handbags.

The New York-based womenswear and accessories brand was founded in 2002 by designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, and is now stocked in over 350 retailers worldwide including Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.

The designers now have their sights set on the accessories market and have created new "Hava" and "Hex" visual design families as well as an updated version of the brand’s hit PS1 bag design - the PS1+.

"It’s no secret that the market is tough out there for everyone, especially the handbag market. It’s saturated with a lot of sameness and I think people just want new product, new well-designed fashion-forward product, and so we have been working hard the past year-and-a-half designing this whole offering," Hernandez told WWD. "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.'"

Without revealing actual sales numbers, McCollough and Hernandez shared that they hope to double accessories sales, which presently represent half of the brand's overall business, over the next two to three years. They added that competitive pricing was a priority when restructuring their accessory assortment, with the brand's full range of bags extending from $890 (£615) for a mini cross-body PS1 style to $1,960 (£1,360) for the large Hex bucket bag. Except for special exotic editions, all styles retail for under $2,000 (£1,385).

"This is something we’ve never done before - creating a diversified bag collection with a specific price architecture that is integral to building the collection. The price range is meant to mimic the customer range. Ranging from the intern at an art gallery to the owner of the gallery at this point and all of the bags function accordingly," explained Hernandez.

In order to facilitate their new focus, the designers have invested in a new design team from an assortment of European leather-goods houses and are expanding the infrastructure of its private Italian manufacturing facility in Scandicci, near Florence.

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