Lynnwood doesn’t exactly breed high-fashion designers the way London, New York, or Paris does. But Chicago-born designer Deyonté Weather calls this little Seattle suburb home and, at least for the time being, doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
Weather, who comes from a long line of designers, moved to Seattle when he was 19, taking a variety of odd jobs until he returned to Chicago to attend the city’s International Academy of Design and Technology, which he graduated from in 2009.
Back in Seattle, Weather began auditioning for the TV series Project Runway, but it wasn’t until his fourth try that the burgeoning designer finally made it on the show. Weather’s unique style, which combines the class of Chicago with the urban grit of Seattle, was well-received when his season debuted in 2017, and since then, his fashion career has exploded.
How has your life changed since Project Runway?
After the show, I started getting so many emails for custom designs and offers to be a part of fashion shows and events. I’ve (also) designed three collections over eight months, which is pretty much unheard of.
What was the most valuable skill you learned from Project Runway?
The show really helped me on the production side of things and helped me move forward in my business. I learned how fast-paced fashion is, and how to work with very limited time and sometimes strange materials.
I heard you just returned from Chicago. What brought you out there?
Six years ago, before Game of Thrones got huge, I was a big fan, so I designed a three-piece, super-cool, dragon-esque collection inspired by the show. I put it out into the world, but then I just tucked it away and let it sit. Then, I got a call recently inviting me to this massive Game of Thrones event in Chicago, and they asked me to make another three-piece set inspired by the show. I made this amazing, floor-length denim coat with fur, which is sort of a mix of the men of the Night’s Watch and the wildlings. I don’t have any information on the (Game of Thrones museum) locations for display yet. But I was so inspired by the collection that I will be extending it into my current collection for fall. I also got to do an exclusive meet and greet with the one and only Deborah Riley, who is the set designer for the show. She was so inspiring. She gave me so much amazing advice moving forward in my career.
What is the next step for growing your brand, Deyonté Weather Collection?
Right now, I am doing everything — I mean everything — myself. All social media, communication, designing, sewing. That, on top of raising my son, is a lot of work. I want to start building my team, finding really passionate individuals who get my vision. I am also trying to find the right company to mass-produce my designs. I really wanted to have everything made in America, but the few producers that are her are booked out for years. I’m starting to consider finding a producer overseas, but I want to feel good about that decision first.
Where do you want to be in five years, fashion-wise?
My biggest priority at the moment is transforming my brand from custom to mass production. I love doing custom designs, but it just isn’t realistic for the general public. It would be a dream to be able to partner with Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. … I would love to have a little boutique in one of their stores, so I could come in and get to know my clientele.
Who are your biggest fashion inspirations right now?
I’ve really been loving Iris van Herpen, who is doing amazing things with laser cuts; Pyer Moss, who is doing a lot for the black fashion industry; Elie Saab; Ralph Lauren, who I see myself in a lot; (Donatella) Versace; and Alexander McQueen.
How has having a son changed your fashion career and/or your style?
It’s made me really want to start a children’s line! I keep getting requests, asking when I’ll be coming out with one, because people see pictures of us wearing matching custom outfits. So, I want to take advantage of his cuteness and start doing children’s clothes soon.
What do you love most about living here? Do you think you will ever move back to Chicago?
I love Seattle, because I feel like there is so much opportunity and room for growth here. While I often feel the pull to move back to Chicago or to New York, where there is more of an established fashion scene, I am worried that the second I leave, the fashion scene here will explode. I want to be a part of that! But me and Laticia (my wife) have talked about moving to London for a few years so our son can go to school there, and so I can experience that fashion scene, too.