Last week, Zac Posen cut the position of vice-president of communications. Rumors shortly followed of more layoffs at the company. Today, WWD announces Posen is launching a lower-priced line, an increasingly common business strategy for young designers in the recession. So far Doo-Ri Chung, Thakoon Panichgul, and Richard Chai, among others, have launched lower-priced lines. Posen’s main collection retails for the not-so-recession-friendly prices of $900 to $12,000, with custom pieces going for upwards of $20,000. The new collection, called “Z Spoke,” starts at $78 for a T-shirt, and will launch exclusively at Saks with an aim to expand to other stores.
Posen, whose office includes a circle of pink carpet “re-appropriated from his spring 2009 runway show,” says the line is not “Zac-for-less.”
“The dresses — that’s something I can do with my eyes closed. This is about a new identity.” His inspiration board is full of downtown imagery such as beaten-up Nike Dunks and a shot of Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle. A palette of neutrals with ample pops of kelly green, pink and red gives the clothes a retro vibe, or an “urban hipster quality” as Posen puts it, adding he could see these styles on a Lower East Side girl.
While Posen rose to stardom by putting his frocks on red-carpet walkers, he stressed that this collection is for real hipsters, not just wealthy, famous ones.
That said, he’s not looking to add to the glut of tough T-shirts and distressed jeans. “There’s a lot of that on the market,” says Posen. “I treat a T-shirt as a T-shirt should be treated. With a lot of love.”
So when you buy Z Spoke, you’re not only purchasing Posen for less — er, excuse us, Posen for a totally different kind of customer — you’re purchasing love. Aw.
Zac Posen’s New Venture [WWD]