SPOTTING PETER DO
New York magazine|August 30 - September 12, 2021
The YOUNG DESIGNER and his friends-cum-partners BORROWED AND SCRAPED to create a label—and Fashion Week’s most anticipated NEW RUNWAY SHOW.
MATTHEW SCHNEIER

On a recent Thursday afternoon in Sunset Park, which is to fashion as, say, Seventh Avenue is to animal husbandry, the next great American designer is fitting a model with a funereal topcoat. Black, sharply tailored, falling nearly to the calf, it’s a lot of coat for July. “It’s light enough for summer,” says Peter Do, laughing, who himself is wearing an oversize white cotton shirt and black Adidas gym shorts. Not so long ago, Seventh Avenue was American fashion’s central artery, but Do works in an airy studio here at the Industry City campus—“a 40-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan on good days,” as Vogue couldn’t help sniffing when reviewing one of his collections. “Seventh Avenue is not what it used to be,” Do, who is 30, tells me. “I think everyone can agree on that. That’s why no one’s there.”

Out here, Do (it’s pronounced with a long O) is building a fashion company in his own image. Having trained at major labels with European ateliers and all the friction they inspire, he knew he wanted a more collaborative spirit at his own fledgling company. It’s run as a collective with four founding partners he recruited not from the industry’s professional ranks but from the personal network he built as a quasi-outsider blogging about fashion on Tumblr. There’s Vincent Ho, his business partner, who handles sales; Jessica Wu, who serves as both unofficial fit model and press director; Lydia Sukato, Do’s roommate, who is operations manager; and An Nguyen, a designer.

Their label, Peter Do, is elegant and adult, with an emphasis on long lines, layers, and fine tailoring. A few items—a tube top here and a thigh-high slit skirt there—are off-kilter enough to telegraph “fashion” to the cognoscenti, but the bulk of the collection is practical enough to be worn by the professional, often older woman who, despite her erasure by many young brands, is the main customer for $3,000-a-jacket luxury fashion.

“There’s so few young designers who want to enter that space,” says Elizabeth von der Goltz, the chief commercial officer for MatchesFashion. “Maybe you’ll have someone who’s a European who’s been working with big European houses for a really long time and has that tailoring know-how. But it’s rare for a young designer from New York to break out like that.” The Peter Do team has dressed Beyoncé and Solange and fielded requests from Jill Biden’s office to send the First Lady clothes; last year, the Council of Fashion Designers of America nominated Do for its emerging-designer award.

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