The work of designer Zana Bayne and her co-creative director Todd Pendu has piqued our interest since back in 2010, when she was selling her aggressive, sexy leather accessories by way of Etsy. Much has happened to the brand since—from capturing the attention of Beyonce and Madonna to a groundbreaking S/S 2015 showcase of geometric pieces. This week Zana Bayne accomplished another milestone, setting up their debut pop-up shop in NYC to accompany the release of their new Highway Girl line. Within the store, one will find pieces drawn from years of collections. It’s the first truly immersive, tangible location for the brand and the takeaway—across bags, vests, harnesses and more—is that anyone can wear their products.
“What it used to be, when we would release a collection, was that we would put it up on Instagram and put it on our webshop. This, here, was a tactile way to tie in the releases with a customer experience,” Pendu explains to CH. “We have a lot of leather around us now,” Bayne continues. “We have several styles from our Originals collection, our core collection designed between 2010 and 2011. Those are introductory shapes and the classic lines people know us for.”
As for the new Highway Girl collection, Pendu says they looked to “‘Easy Rider’ and ‘Vanishing Point’ but it is also just about the open road and freedom.” Bayne adds, “It’s about fearless girls.” There are references to ’60s futurism and ’70s punk. From a material standpoint, however, the brand has shifted tanneries. “With the Highway Girl collection we started working with Horween Tannery,” Bayne says. “They tan in Chicago and we make all our pieces in New York, so there’s this real connection to Made in the US for us.” Bayne and Pendu toured the facility and found a deep mutual appreciation for leather and all natural processes.
A continuously fascinating element of the Zana Bayne style happens to be associations with S&M and, visually, that’s apparent. But both Bayne and Pendu make clear that these pieces are beyond that. “I feel like we are always explaining that it’s a bit daring, but it’s not as difficult as you think to wear,” Pendu explains. “We’ve had clients that are very reserved, but when they try the pieces on it makes sense to them. It feels good to them.” Fortunately, the storefront will provide plenty of opportunities for people to give it all a try.
The Zana Bayne pop-up runs shop runs now through 24 July at 171 Elizabeth Street, NYC.
Images courtesy of BFA