Fashion Brand AREA NYC Construct Elaborate Collections And A Cult Following With It
Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg are the duo behind the thoroughly Gen Y ready-to-wear and accessories brand, AREA NYC. For context, the label was established in 2014 in downtown New York City, and they met whilst studying at Parsons for their Masters degree in Fashion Design and Society.
One’s from Kentucky and the other from Poland, and so expect a brand that blends both their appreciations, namely in the form of craftsmanship, textile development, and innovation when it comes to embellishment (just look at the crystal intricacy).
This pair focus on modern glamour, their line is a representation (in fabric) of the current scene. There’s duchesse satin, lamé, leather, coated denim and the cherry on top? Well, that’s the abundance of crystals that adorn everything from their track pants, LBDs, tailored cropped jackets and hoodies to their cute kitten heels and statement jewelry.
Bold and daring, their collection is confident and courageous, just like their women. These designers are creating their own culture and cult following. I mean, wall flowers needn’t apply for this one, and that’s why it appeals.
Felicity Carter: What is your first memory of fashion?
Piotrek Panszczyk: I was surrounded by fashion from a young age, a lot of my aunts and mother were sewing at the time, when Poland was a communist country, so naturally I started to get interested in what fashion can do for you.
FC: Tell us about your background…
Piotrek Panszczyk: I studied fashion at the University of Arts Artez in a small city in the southeast of Holland. The great thing about Holland was that it was a short train trip away from cities like Paris and Antwerp. I started to intern in Paris at the French fashion house Chloé, which led to working with the creative director at that time. That really opened me up to what could be possible with fashion in the future. After that I was at another French fashion house of Emanuel Ungaro, which, though it wasn’t doing great at the time, did impact me because it made me understand what misdirections can do to a business. If the true essence or passion is missing from a brand, it will not be able to exist. After that experience I got in touch with Shelley Fox, the course director at the MFA Fashion Design Society at Parsons in New York, and I decided to move to New York to be a part of the course. This is where I met Beckett. The course was an opportunity for us to really learn about the importance of personal identity.
Beckett Fogg: I studied Architecture at the University of Virginia prior to getting my MFA at Parsons. I loved design originally, not specifically fashion until I moved to New York. After Parsons I worked at Calvin Klein Collection for a little over a year before Piotrek and I decided to start Area.
FC: How would you sum up the aesthetic?
AREA NYC: Progressive glamour.
FC: What is luxury to you?
AREA NYC: Luxury is an ongoing theme in our collections. We like to explore the meaning and symbolism of luxury through different cultures and decades. We find that people have much more in common than they actually think. Next to having so much cultural significance and its direct connection to wealth, it also means something very pure to me, like craft. Luxury to me can be a perfected embroidery technique, through which a range of specialists and craftsmen translate an idea into something beautiful and considered, that can inspire in the future and have it’s own moment in culture.
FC: Who is your customer?
AREA NYC: Our customer is always growing and evolving, but she’s looking for something special and emotional. Pieces that you can treasure because they make you smile. It can be someone that makes an occasion out of taking pictures of themselves, or a fabulous doctor that celebrates her own success by buying one of our crystal cup chain pieces.
FC: What does each of you bring to the label?
AREA NYC: The roles through the years got naturally divided. Beckett approaches our brand from a business standpoint and I am responsible for the creative direction and translating that into a range of products a customer can buy and be part of our creative vision.