American Designer Spotlight: Devon Thomas’ View From The Treehouse Collection

Images: John F. Cooper
Images: John F. Cooper

Designer Devon Thomas is the epitome of a talented modern-day woman following her passion for fashion. It’s not everyday that a mother of three decides to take on this industry and manages to balance being a fabulous mom and a designer in the same breath. It’s not easy to balance one’s family and career, as we can see with the Rachel Zoe headlines regarding her decision to cancel her NYFW runway show and stay at home with her newborn. It can be a challenge, but when your passion and determination is strong, there is nothing that can keep you from emitting fabulousness. Thomas enlisted model Julia Lee, MUA Victoria Dada for Bobbi Brown, stylist Sajdah Muhammad for wardrobe, and Tina Moore for hair, to pull the “View From the Tree collection” photo shoot together. This collection is full of fun colors and prints, right in time to add to your Spring wardrobe. The View from the Treetop collection is effortless cool, perfect for the strong woman who wears many hats. The pieces can take you from casual daywear to an evening event in a flash. I’ve had the pleasure to work with Devon, recently, as she provided wardrobe for a short film entitled “Whiskey Neat”. Devon’s foothold in womenswear is strong and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this emerging brand.

What influenced your venture into the fashion industry?

Well, that is kind of a long story but I will give you the condensed version. I have always wanted to be a designer. That is the first thing I ever remember telling people I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I still have my elementary school teachers telling stories about how all I used to do in class was sketch, but I’d have to say that the thing that really made me take that leap was the birth of my twin sons. I was home with them and I just felt that while I was home with them, I had the perfect opportunity to figure out how to make a career out of my passion. It took a lot of time and a lot of hard work, but I am finally starting to see it pay off and I am enjoying every moment of it all.

What does your brand represent?

I want my brand to reflect the spirit of the feminine yet powerful woman.

Who is your target market customer?

My target customer is the woman who believes that her style is the outward reflection of her inner personality. She looks for standout pieces to fill her wardrobe. She is a bit of a fashionista who likes to indulge in bold, chic and effortless pieces.

What makes your brand different?

In this industry, you are called to be one specific thing. You must chose who you are designing for and stick within that box. Whether you chose to be edgy, classic, quirky or sexy, designers are required to pick a category and stay within that. I believe where my brand differs is that I know my target customer is all of those things blended into one. She can be edgy one day, and classic the next. I believe that I have found a way to meld these different categories pretty seamlessly.

What is your favorite item / piece from this collection?

I am a color / print girl. I believe I get that from my grandmother. So my favorite pieces are the silk canary yellow and black print dresses. I absolutely fell in love with that fabric when I saw it and it took everything in me not to make everything in that print. There is a good chance that my entire closet would be canary yellow and black, if I didn’t reel myself in!

Which part do you enjoy most? The process of creating or the finished product?

Absolutely, the finished product. Don’t get me wrong, I love the whole process but there is nothing like seeing a thought, turn to a 1-dimensional sketch, turn to a beautifully-crafted garment. It gives me butterflies and that is something that I never tire of.

What have been some highlights or breakthroughs within the industry since you started?

I think that one of the biggest breakthroughs in the industry, in the last few years, is the emergence and success of the young independent designer. Fashion used to be for those who came from money, it was and still is, very difficult to succeed in this business without coming from a well-off and well-connected family. However, in the last few years, we have seen the rise of designers such as Alexander Wang and Jason Wu, who have made major names for themselves strictly based on a talent that could not be ignored.

Would you say you are currently satisfied with where you are as a brand? If not, what needs to be done in order to take you to the next level?

You know, if you had asked me that a year ago, I would have said definitely not. But over the last year, I have learned so much about myself, the industry and my brand that I am thrilled with where I am right now and the direction that my brand is headed. I have some really exciting things planned for 2014 and I really cannot wait to share them with the world.

To aspiring designers who might be inspired by this article, what sort of advice could you give to them? Share advice you wish you had when you started.

My advice would be to never give up. This is a hard business and it can take years just to get a foothold in it, but if you love it and you are passionate about it, keep going. You can pause, you can take breaks, hone your craft, go back to the drawing board as many times as you need, but if design, or hell any passion (i.e. music, art, etc.), is your calling, keep at it and it will pay off. One piece of advice that I wish I’d heeded (but knowing me probably would not have even if I was told a million times) would be don’t try to do too much too fast. There are lots of pieces that need to come together for one to become a great designer. Take the time to figure them out, gather advice and insight from people who have been in the industry for years and get to know yourself as a designer.

That is wonderful advice. Please tell our readers where they can purchase pieces from this collection?

My line can be purchased at Pocshe Boutique in Wayne, New Jersey, Wish Boutique in West Calldwell, New Jersey and online via my website.

What are your thoughts on GrungeCake? Is there anything out there like it?

I absolutely love how GrungeCake supports all kinds of indie artists from musicians to artists to designers, and even other publications. There are not a lot of platforms for independent artists to showcase what they do and without publications like GrungeCake we may never be introduced to some of the amazing talent that is out there at our fingertips.

For more about Devon Thomas, just click here.

Written by Manny King John


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