Harry McNally: Year Five
Approaching its fifth anniversary, PEGLEG NYC has quietly maintained a presence throughout the New York landscape. We caught up with Harry McNally as he outlined the brand’s beginnings as well as working with one of America’s most innovative retailers in Opening Ceremony.
Approaching its fifth anniversary, PEGLEG NYC has quietly maintained a presence throughout the New York landscape. With an aesthetic that has consistently gone against the norm, perhaps its most recent collaborative work with Opening Ceremony on floral sweat suits is a firm representation of that. Far from the current landscape of classically styled fashion, the brand has also seen itself at the center of some other big projects including last year’s collaborative G-SHOCK DW-6900, which possessed a strong American flavor. The influence of PEGLEG also had an impact in HBO’s latest TV series “How to Make It In America” thanks to connections involving the show’s creator Ian Edelman and Kid Cudi. We caught up with Harry McNally as he outlined the brand’s beginnings as well as working with one of America’s most innovative retailers in Opening Ceremony.
Interview: Eugene Kan
Photography: Marley Kate
Hey Harry, how are things going? Could you give us a little run-down and background behind Pegleg NYC the brand and how many people are involved in the team.
Hello, the last few months have been really busy with us. New seasons, new projects, new obsessions. PEGLEG NYC was conceived in the summer of 2005 by 3 native downtown New Yorkers: Bobby Waltzer, Nick Poe, and myself. There are a handful of talented people who work with us and help make everything happen. Scott Williams is one of these people, you might recognize him from some of our older lookbooks.
How did the three of you guys originally get-up? For those not familiar with Scott Williams, could you expand a little on his background?
Bobby, Nick, and I met separately during the elementary school years. We had friends in common and would run into each other around town. Towards the end of high school the 3 of us formed a tight bond and started doing projects together. Scott and I met when we were 12. He was from Brooklyn, I was from downtown, and we had just transferred to the same school uptown.
Was fashion always a focal point of your guys relationship? Or did you guys simply see eye to eye on many things yet fashion was the most tangible way to express your creativity as a group?
Fashion was never something we spoke about much. We all have very particular (and different) taste in the types of things we like to wear. The clothing we produce with PEGLEG is a reflection of our different personal styles.
It’s interesting you mention fashion was largely off the radar yet you guys went that creative route. What was the original catalyst to starting a brand? And speaking about personal styles, how would you describe each of your styles?
Growing up in NYC, we have been exposed to so many different types of fashion and style. Trends appear and disappear and then there are the ever present archetypes of dress that influenced us: religious groups, Madison Avenue, homeless people, punk, goth, rappers, Wall Street, middle schoolers, cyclists & bikers, undercover cops, movie stars, Europeans on vacation, etc. We have always been experimental with clothes and between the 3 of us, we have at one time another adopted some characteristics of fashion and dress from the aforementioned groups. This was incorporated whether it was flattering or not.
Last year in 2009 and as well as just recently, you hooked up with Opening Ceremony on a capsule of products. How did things develop for that. Were you given a pretty free reign over the designs?
Working with Opening Ceremony has been great. Their floors are a fertile ground for experimental and playful ideas. They were attracted to some of our more whimsical styles and invited us to produce a collection of special items for them again in 2010 which resulted in a few different floral jump suits. The whole project represents a sort of tangent from our normal line. In regards to our design approach- producing items exclusively for Opening Ceremony enables us to take some more playful/experimental liberties with the pieces. For instance, we have always wanted to do our own version of a “sequin piece” but knew that it wouldn’t really have a place in our normal collections. Working with Opening Ceremony provides a unique opportunity for us to produce items that are going to be received by a very diverse and open minded audience. The collections we produce for Opening Ceremony are not so much unadulterated versions of our normal collections, but rather tangents of various ideas/designs that have already made their way into our collections.
What are your thoughts of Opening Ceremony on the whole and as an American retailer/brand, seeing as they’ve also made their way across the ocean and opened a huge store in Tokyo.
Opening Ceremony is perhaps the most original retail concept to emerge out of the US since its inception in 2002. They have a unique ability to successfully merge established designers, emerging designers and one of a kind vintage and select items on their floors.
Will we see PEGLEG branch outwards and apply your aesthetic on different platforms beyond just what we’ve seen in terms of apparel and accessories?
In regards to the branching out- we are currently working on several projects that will manifest in the next year. These projects will broaden our brands’ reach and audience.
What sort of future projects are in the mix? Are they all pertinent to fashion as well, or simply something that appeals to the PEGLEG consumer?
The upcoming projects for PEGLEG will consist of an assortment of collaborative products, new accessories, and new collections created exclusively for specific retailers. So yes, they are all related to fashion unfortunately. More details on these projects will be available when they are ready to surface.
Thanks a lot for your time and the opportunity Harry