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Zoo York taps original brand founders as new creative directors

By Robyn Turk

3 Sep 2019

Zoo York is looking to its history to pave the way toward its future. The Iconix Brand Group-owned streetwear label has brought its original brand founders Rodney Smith, Eli Morgan Gesner and Adam Schatz, back to the team as creative directors to help reinvigorate the brand.

Smith, Gesner and Schatz founded Zoo York in 1993 as one of the East Coast's first true streetwear brands. The trio will now provide ongoing design direction to licensees and partners globally. Their first item of business is a re-branding campaign that brings back Zoo York's original logo.

“Partnering with the creators of Zoo York will help us reconnect to the brand’s origins in New York City street culture and regain credibility,” Bob Galvin, chief executive officer and president at Iconix Brand Group, Inc, said in a statement. “With the convergence of growing global interest in skateboarding and ongoing ‘90s nostalgia, there’s a great opportunity for Zoo York.”

Zoo York's founders will also lend expertise to brand storytelling and content creation, keeping in mind a goal to return to its street culture roots. This is highlighted with “Under Old Management” marketing campaign, which the brand has initiated on its Instagram.

Smith, Gesner and Schatz have created a Zoo York x Founders line of limited-edition capsule product drops. Each will be shoppable exclusively through Zoo York’s Instagram channel and ZooYork.com.

The first capsule, which launches on September 10, takes inspiration from milestones in Zoo York's history, including updates to iconic styles from the brand's archives. There will only be 93 pieces of each design created, paying homage to the year Zoo York was founded, 1993.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to do many extraordinary things in my career. But coming home to Zoo York is, at once, the most exciting and, at the same time, the most comforting. I am home,” said Eli Morgan Gesner.

Schatz added, “This partnership really highlights the importance of authenticity over hype when committing to the long-term health of a brand.”

Images: Iconix Brand Group