Proenza Schouler’s Karate Kool fall collection


Every season, designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez make me fall in love with their super cool-yet-sophisticated label, Proenza Schouler.

After graduating from Parsons, McCollough and Hernandez founded their brand in 2002, which managed to rise to the top with their signature downtown-meets-uptown modern clothes. For their fall collection, models walked down the runway with martial arts, fencing, protection and kimono-inspired clothes.

The first eight looks truly embodied that karate girl image. White cotton oversized jackets and wide-leg trousers, paired with knee-high flat black leather boots, totally portrayed a tae kwon do-chic vibe. Leather was a key material used in the collection. Black leather tops with slouchy leather pants combined with double-breasted motorcycle jackets and a fur-collared coat screamed tough and edgy.

Later on, McCollough and Hernandez used the basket-weaving technique they stumbled upon while visiting the Indonesian island of Buton. The designers weaved strips of blue, white and red leather and created cropped jackets and skirts paired with leather booties. Towards the end, Asian-inspired brocade dresses walked on the runway to conclude the fall collection.

The once unknown label on the racks of Barneys in New York has transformed into one of the most successful fashion brands internationally.

But, let’s be frank. Most teenagers won’t be walking around campus with a $3,000 Proenza Schouler dress. The real question is, how do you achieve this runway look without breaking the bank?

Forget about Neiman Marcus. Affordable, lower-priced-stores like H&M and Forever 21, or even department stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s, offer similar styles that won’t max out your credit card. Do your research first if you want a Proenza Schouler-inspired outfit. Look through the entire fall 2012 collection on and pay attention to the trends you see. The collection featured lots of white, leather, loose-fitted garments and Asian-inspired prints. That way you know what you’re looking for.

Nowadays, more and more stores are trying to attract customers with lower-priced quality apparel. At the end of the day, spending thousands of dollars on designer clothes won’t make you fashionable, but choosing clothes that fit and are currently in style will.