We love a great fashion tale. The kind where the protagonist breaks from the shadows of modest means or a prominent figure in their life. Whitney Pozgay, the niece of namesake designer Kate Spade, is our latest sweet, charming, cute-as-a-button boss babe who engulfs the whole “started from the bottom, now we here” sentiment. Starting out as a receptionist for her aunt, she worked her designer tush off to climb some ladders to success (something we all can relate to, regardless of the industry), which completely humanizes such a respectable designer who’s resume also includes a design stint at Steven Alan, where she initiated collaborations with world renowned mass brands such as Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters’ brand Lark and Wolff (impressed yet?), before setting off to debut the beautiful and refreshing Whit.
Collabing is actually kind of her shtick. Pozgay is all about working with others, and we love a team player. Her fun, fresh prints are conceived and created each season by a community of artists Pozgay calls her friends. Whitney’s creative approach to her bold, femme line is what we absolutely adore about this magnetic positive force. With a collection of clean, simple lines and structures that are emblazed with beautiful, unique detail and patterns, it’s safe to say CFDA member, Pozgay, knows just how to make something classic compelling and she certainly caught our attention with her positive personality and a collection of clothing that will bring your wardrobe to life.
We met up with Whitney at her Manhattan studio, where our eyes feasted on her eye-catching clothes and our minds on her sweet and savvy sensibilities, all of which had us swooning like schoolgirls over our latest designer crush…
Top New Years resolution:
Find a healthier work/life balance
Describe your personal style in 3 words:
Crisp, classic, playful
Restaurant you’re dying to try:
Who’s your style icon?
Cashmere or wool for winter?
I wear both, but I prefer the look and structure of wool.
A Dark and Stormy.
You graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in theatre, concentrating on costume design. How did that segway to a women’s wear line?
I loved costume design, but liked the real world application of fashion. I love that each item has a life of its own and the wearer or customer chooses how to make it their own. When I moved to New York I worked as a receptionist at Kate Spade and took night classes at Parsons and FIT to bridge the gap in my training. I moved into and worked my way up the design department. I left in 2007 to be the women’s designer at Steven Alan, and launched WHIT in 2010.
What fundamental advice or knowledge did you gain from your Aunt Kate Spade?
She has a strong aesthetic and stayed true to it. She didn’t waiver based on trends or what other people were doing. She had a defined and consistent brand message, which I think is very important.
Did your design experience at Steven Alan influence or shape any aspect of your line?
While my time at Kate Spade let me indulge my sense of color and print, Steven Alan gave me a chance to work with the more casual tomboy side of my aesthetic. He also introduced me to American Manufacturing, which has become a focus and passion of mine.
How was Whit conceived?
We wanted to create a line that was based around collaborating with our community of creative friends. We wanted to make a line that was optimistic and playful, but still clean and wearable. Every season we do artist collaborations for our custom prints and continue to seek out new ways to collaborate with friends.
What kind of women do you design for?
We design for women who want to have fun with the way they dress, but still look sophisticated. We try to keep the line versatile and easy to play with so that it caters to strong individuals to style and make their own, but still based on bold pieces that stand out by themselves.
Where do you pull inspiration from?
Pretty much everywhere. A major source is art, where I often go to for a mood, color pallet and visual direction, but I also look to architecture, past eras, style icons, music, interior design, travel, and nature; to name a few.
You collaborated with Anthropologie a couple of years ago to create a line for petite women. Who would your dream collaboration be with and what kind of line would you create?
We have loved working with Anthropologie and find the collaboration experience in general really rewarding. It’s fun working with a new audience with different parameters for the line. We would love to do a printed fitness or home collaboration at some point. Since we are a print based collection, there are a lot of possibilities.
If you could have a drink with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be with and where would you go?
Tina Fey. She is brilliant and hilarious. I think she would appreciate somewhere delicious and unfussy like beer and burgers at Great Jones Cafe.
What are your dreams/aspirations for Whit? What’s next for the brand?
There are a lot of new categories we want to expand into such as swim and accessories, but we are taking our time. Eventually, we would love a flagship store in NY where we could sell WHIT and a mix of finds that we love.
Any advice for future boss babes?
Feature photo via Vanessa Granda