Studio Tour: Whitney Pozgay’s Cheerful Brooklyn Studio

We caught up with Whitney Pozgay at her colorful Brooklyn studio to talk about the transition from Steven Alan and how things are shaping up for Spring 2012.

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Catherine Blair Pfander / Thread NY
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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
"I'm in the early stages," says Whitney Pozgay, gesturing towards her workstation smothered in magazine scans, clippings and fabric samples -- all inspiration for the Spring 2012 collection, which will be the fourth for her eponymous line, "Whit." She launched her line shortly after leaving a post as lead women's designer for Steven Alan.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
We caught up with Pozgay at her cheerful Williamsburg apartment, which serves as one-half of the official working studio space for Whit, the other half residing with partner Zonda Sochorow.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Pozgay's living and work space is decorated as charmingly as one would expect from a Steven Alan veteran and, especially, from the niece of designer Kate Spade—"Katie," as Pozgay calls her, with thoughtfully chosen colors, stylish vintage finds and quirky art objects scattered throughout.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Pozgay spent over four years at Kate Spade before heading to Steven Alan. Her own aesthetic she describes as something neatly between the two: "Not quite so tomboyish as Steven Alan or so prim and ladylike as Kate Spade," she explains. Here, samples from Whit's latest collection.
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Catherine Blair Pfander/The Thread
Pozgay had originally seen herself pursuing costume design before falling into a fashion career. "I'm an accumulator," she says definitively. "I think, from my costume design background, I tend to pull a lot from specific memories or periods of history, particularly the '60s and '70s."
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Catherine Blair Pfander
"But the thing that always sort of bothered me about costume design was that, at the end of the show, everything gets boxed up. I didn't care much for that," says Pozgay. Her own collections for Whit have an irresistibly fun, retro vibe, tempered with a cheeky modern sensibility.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
"Every season, I have to totally clean the apartment before I start designing," laughs Pozgay. "I really can't work unless I know exactly where every book is." Pozgay says she'll often sit on the floor watching "a movie I've already seen a million times" so as not to get distracted while sketching the initial designs for a collection.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
"With every collection I like to leave plenty of room [for the customer] to embellish," says Pozgay, who is herself an advocate of statement-making baubles and jewelry, and sported one of Proenza's dramatic rope necklaces while touring us through her work space.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Though Whit has only offered up a handful of accessories thus far (including this fabulous printed backpack), she hopes to expand the line to include a more complete bag, shoe and jewelry offering down the road. "You know, we really didn't aim to be such a print-driven brand when we were getting started," says Pozgay, "but they've been huge for us!"
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Here, some initial fabric samples that may be reworked or reinterpreted in Pozgay's forthcoming Spring '12 collection. "I think we can expect a little bit of a desert vibe," says Pozgay, who originally hails from Phoenix, Arizona. "I haven't been home to the southwest in a while, and I'm feeling rather homesick. A lot of my designs come from a nostalgic place."
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