New Documentary on Zac Posen Shows “The Dark Side” of Fashion

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Not every fashion designer can become such a household name within the few first years of business. Usually, designers spend years and years designing collections, trying to get stores to sell their clothing, getting rejected, and trying the whole process over again. Fashion design can be a cut throat business with trends constantly changing. One day some people may love your designs while others might think it belongs in the garbage.

For fashion designer Zac Posen, making it into the world of fashion was the opposite of a struggle. In 2003, the 23-year-old launched his fashion label and in just two years won a CFDA Award. Then, just a year later, Sean “Diddy” Combs became on of his largest investors. Business only progressed from there for Posen, who appeared numerous times in NYFW with top celebrities, bloggers, and fashion critiques attending his shows. It seemed to be going great until 2010, when he lost a prime-time spot at NYFW and the abruptly left.

To some people in the industry, this did not come as a surprise. It was rumored for years that Posen portrayed flashy behavior. He would snipe at editors, criticize fashion business models, and wear capes. The designer soon had enough with everything going on in New York so he packed up, moving his runway show to Paris. This leave did not settle well with the media.

After all his drama within the industry, years following he went on to be featured a documentary called House of Z, that premiered at the recent Tribeca Film Festival. The director, Sandy Chronopoulous, takes the audience through Posen’s life that starts out in his early years and goes into his rise in the fashion industry, his fall down, and then ultimately his comeback.

The documentary features home videos, interviews with close family and friends, and other bits of Posen’s life that she filmed. The film shows how Posen rose up after his worrying show in Paris and how he changed his approach in clothing design, let go of other’s opinions, and went back to his old school ways that led him to become the amazing designer he is.

Throughout the film, the audience can see how Posen expanded his company and maintained his high status in New York while taking on multiple roles within the industry. Posen had high success in his career, but he says his failures come from fashions “dark side” and blames that for his slight downfall in the industry.

The film opens with the line “fashion has a dark side” that Posen has said numerous times. He says that throughout his years working in the fashion industry, he has seen a shift in why people are truly in it. When he first entered he said people were only there for a lifestyle. Today, the industry is so intense that many who enter are not prepared for it. Posen feels to many people in the business try to build someone up, only in the end trying to take them down.

The film goes into a lot of detail about his “down fall” in this industry. He says that he was so driven and full of pressure that he let it go to his head. He set his expectations too high that when he could not reach them he would go crazy. The high expectations led him to push others around him to the point where it got out of hand. Luckily, through his many mistakes, he has learned the right way to deal with the pressure. Now competition from other designers does not bother him. He realized he can if he wants to be successful he needs to focus on himself and not others.

Through his life in the documentary, the main theme shown is resilience. As he grew up he said he learned to be a leader. To be a great leader you must know how to trust, delegate, and understand how much to get involved in the process. He believes the industry lacks a lot of great leaders, and with the craziness of it all having someone strong is something a brand needs to strive.

Now Posen is back on the top of his game and we can only keep expecting amazing things from him and his brand. He is a great example to young and new designers to be true to yourself and not to let the pressure of the industry bring you down.

Lover of all things fashion from day one. While everyone else was reading long novels you could catch me browsing through the style portion of any magazine. I'm a reality show junkie in all forms and will endlessly watch The Food Network while shamelessly throwing in some reruns of Keeping up with the Kardashians.

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