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The fitting rooms at the Parke & Ronen flagship store in Chelsea have no mirrors. The mirror-free design is intentional. Designers Parke Lutter and Ronen Jehezkel hope their customers can walk proudly out of the dressing room -- after putting on their designs -- to use the mirrors in the hallway to show others their beauty and confidence.
"There is this special energy in the hall," said Jehezkel. "It is such a joy to see everybody loving each other, loving themselves and admiring each other. We bring together the boys and girls and make them look in great harmony."
To celebrate Pride this year, Lutter and Jehezkel are launching a collaboration line with Out's Fashion Vanguard Award-winner, Kris Harring. The Parke & Ronen x Kris Harring capsule collection stays true to Parke & Ronen's signature vivid prints and color palettes, while integrating the gender-neutral ambition that defines Harring's design aesthetic. The collaboration features fits that are fun and sexy, while blending tropical colors and surprising shapes that are suit any body regardless of gender.
Out caught up with Harring at a recent photoshoot for the capsule collection to explore what inspired the line. Fueled by a desire to mix masculinity with femininity and to challenge the boundaries of gender in fashion, Harring explains, "I never saw myself in Vogue or Elle. What's inspiring is being able to have this opportunity now, to have different perspectives. And to have my voice heard."
The collaboration with Harring is a first for Lutter and Jehezkel, who served as judges at Out's Fashion Vanguard Awards, at which Kris competed against two budding queer designers and debuted a collection that earned her the title Out Fashion Vanguard. Parke and Ronen met while dancing in a New York City nightclub in 1993. They say it was love at first sight, and four years later, the couple branched their personal relationship into a professional one. In 1997, they founded their own brand and have been serving self-designed menswear in their flagship West Chelsea store for more than two decades.
"I feel really lucky and blessed that I choose to design something that is pleasure, vacation, fun, smile, energy, sexiness," said Jehezkel. "I think maybe that's the reason that 23 years later, we are still in a relationship and we're kicking ass."
Learn more about Parke & Ronen at ParkeandRonen.com, and click here to shop their special World Pride-NYC 2019 capsule collection. Inspired by thier hometown and the excitement of hosting the gloabl LGBTQI community this summer, they have created a capsule of special-edition designs to commemorate and celebrate the event.