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2010 May 13

A Moment With...Emerging Designer Whitney Pozgay

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Whitney Pozgay Whitney Pozgay
Claiborne Swanson Frank
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(NEW YORK) Whitney Pozgay may adore polka dots and stripes (she is the niece of Kate Spade, after all!), but this budding designer is finding her own way in the industry, having just debuted her first collection, Whit. Pozgay studied at FIT while honing her skills at Kate Spade New York, and in 2007 she became the lead women’s wear designer at Steven Alan. Now, her own line will debut at Bird in Williamsburg on May 22nd. We caught up with the Brooklynite about her collection, being a new designer, and her enduring love of Harold and Maude.

Congratulations on your debut.
Thank you! It’s a little nerve-wracking to see what the response is going to be, but it’s been such a fun process to finally be able to do it and see everything come together. It’s like, Oh, I made this!

How would you describe Whit?
I think that I was looking a lot at how my friends dress differently, but we buy a lot of the same items. In general, I wanted to create something that people could personalize. They pieces are modern, edgy takes on feminine staples. I wanted to incorporate them with classical themes like polka dots and stripes. Also, I am always influenced by the twilight of the '60s and the dawn of the '70s. I’m always thinking of that girl.

How did your love of art inspire the collection?
I was thinking of Henry Darger and the little girls in his paintings. It’s nice because I got to blend things that I’ve always liked with what was influencing me at the moment.

How does your background influence your aesthetic?
I had a fantastic foundation at Kate Spade, and it’s so colorful, bright and graphic. It was such a good place to grow and build. Then I went from there to Steven Alan, which is a little bit more downtown, and I was able to indulge in my tomboy side. My own aesthetic tends to fall into the middle of the two. It’s also been great to collaborate with those I’ve worked with in the past. 

What are some challenges faced by emerging designers?
I think that the challenge is to just keep going and keep getting re-inspired. I’m always inspired by things that I see, but it’s also about keeping the focus on the brand and staying on task. We hope to grow slowly and keep it special, making sure that we aren’t growing beyond our means. We want to make sure we can give special attention to every garment, ensuring it is well made. We’re not looking to expand all at once. It’s a challenge, but it’s also nice.  

What are some of your favorite Brooklyn haunts?
Well, I love Bird. It’s one of my favorite stores. I also love Bakeri. It’s the cutest little rustic coffee shop. It’s straight out of another time, and it has the most amazing pastries. La Superior is this little taco place that is also fantastic. The guys are so sweet.

How do you relax?
We spend a lot of time walking around Williamsburg and going to the park on the water. We go to a lot of art galleries and museums. I draw at home. My boyfriend is a painter and he also does computer design. We’ve become homebodies. At first, we thought after the launch of the line we’d be going out more, but we find ourselves being like, let’s just go home and watch a movie.

Last movie you watched?
We just saw Beetlejuice the other day, because I’m on this Tim Burton kick. But Harold and Maude is my all time favorite. I watch it over and over. The soundtrack is Cat Stevens, and you can’t go wrong with that!

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