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Meet Devan Gregori

Today we’d like to introduce you to Devan Gregori.

Hi Devan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in San Francisco in an entrepreneurial family, so it was never a question in my mind that I’d start my own business venture one day. I graduated UC Berkeley with a degree in French during the Great Recession when there were not many jobs on the market in the first place, let alone for a French-speaker.

So I decided to go teach English for a year in Lyon, France. It turns out I wasn’t destined to be an elementary school English teacher and quickly realized that I actually didn’t know what I wanted to pursue in life. All I knew that it needed to be creative.

My partner at the time suggested that I look into going back to school. His older sister had just gone back to school herself to study design at a small school specializing in a few design industries. I had no idea that schools like that could exist. I applied to the Ecole de Condé and got into their fashion design program. It was all in French and very competitive, but I thrived there.

Designing clothes is like being a sculptor. The added challenge is that this malleable sculpture is required to fit on top of another sculpture, one that is never constant – the human body. ⁠So, as someone who is always seeks puzzles to solve, this one is perfect – it marries artful expression with a challenge that will never cease to keep me engaged.

After a formative internship with Yoshi Kondo in Paris and a job in Mexico City managing production for a luxury gown designer, I moved back to California and got a job in web design as a project manager. I already knew I wanted to start my own label but needed to build a nest egg to support the beginning years. I continued to design, mainly for drag queens in San Francisco.

Finally, with the persistent encouragement and support from a few dear, core friends, I decided to leave my cush tech job, move back into my parents’ house and devote myself full time to building my first collection in 2019.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There are always struggles. ALWAYS. I think what defines being an entrepreneur is knowing how to move through them – adapt, pivot, persist and thrive in the chaos.

For me, there are certain struggles that are easy to manage or understandable – logistics, delays, price surges, etc. But the struggles I deal with that are a bit harder to manage are more existential – Am I creative enough? Will this burnout end anytime soon? Am I going through a design rut? How can {insert label} be crushing it this hard and I’m still struggling to increase online sales?

Being one person doing everything is a tall order – there are always parts of the job that you are perfect for and others that you are NOT. Yet, as an emerging label, I don’t have the means to just hire out for the things I don’t want to do. So I have to take my time and learn and put myself out there. Not to mention that I also run another company and divide my time between the two!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I started this label to design clothes for women who want to feel confident and sexy while navigating whatever comes their way at any given moment of the day. Approachable statement pieces designed to integrate with any wardrobe are paired with core silhouettes that have deep pockets, sashes to accentuate any waist and elastic in addition to zippers at the waistline for ease and comfort.

I believe that each piece is something to treasure and to keep for years to come. Each piece holds memories and become even more special with time. The quality of that garment needs to be impeccable. So I source all my fabrics from France, Japan and Canada, and everything is French-seamed.

I am so proud of surviving a launch during COVID and not only still being here but also for having broken even in my second full year. I’m proud when people seek me out at outdoor market events and post pictures of them wearing their pieces on the ‘gram. It truly brings me joy to share my story and my craft and see it be received with such love and care.

Something that sets me apart is my dual design pursuits – fashion and digital design. I’m also proud of having launched a digital arm to the very tangible and manual craft that is fashion design. This past year, I launched a digital design agency arm that works with companies in the social impact space as well as small, independent brands, helping them craft their digital business plan, build digital products (from social apps to marketing websites and everything in between), merchandise product, overhaul branding, etc.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
It’s important to ask yourself the questions you may not want to answer. It can be illuminating. I learned that I don’t need to do this the way everyone else does. I can create my own roadmap, set my collection drops when I want them, pause when I need to, ramp up when the energy is there…there are creative solutions out there if we free ourselves from these assumptions and industry standards that have been engrained in us for so long!

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Kala Minko (photographer)

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