Fashion Designer, Founder of DVO by Dean
Origin: Queens, New York City
DVO by Dean is our first designer feature! We were lucky enough to have a conversation with Dean, the founder and creative director of DVO by Dean. We spoke about fashion, self-identity, and more. Check out a snippet on our IGTV / Youtube of the interview or read the full interview below:
Who is DVO by Dean, where are you from and what do you do? Well, DVO by Dean is my brand name. Of course, I am Dean, but
most people know me as Troy. That's my first name. I'm from Queens, born and raised. My family is from the islands, St.Thomas, Virgin Islands. My style has really been bred through everything that I've been doing right now. I wear many different hats... Fashion designer, creative director. Director, producer.
What was it about fashion that first intrigued you, did you have a certain reason for taking an interest? My first fashion interest has been always in my style. I've always had my own style through middle school, high school... even in my brain, different styles that I feel that I'm intrigued by what I've had throughout my life. So I've always tried to bring that out through my fashion designs. When I was younger, I went through different phases. I had my hip hop phase. I was really wearing baggy clothes, criss-cross type of shit. Wearing my clothes backward and stuff. I went through my retro phase and then I went through a phase of like really trying to self identify with what I really want to wear rather than what was trending. There's a lot of trends going on right now rather than people being themselves or wearing their own styles. But that's the main thing that I always want to keep with my brand is self-identification. Everybody just has their own styles.
As a fashion designer is there a specific aspect of your work that you are trying to bring to the table that is not already there? I feel like right now a lot of fashion designers are really keeping up with what's popular and what's trending. Of course, we have a lot of the household names of fashion that people really identify with and follow. But a lot of brands I see right now, they're kind of keeping up with those household names and making certain products that are very trendy. Everybody wears them because it's popular right now.
I admire that the group you work with is the group you usually stay with, is there a reason you work with the same people? Yes, honestly, one thing that my brand is based on is trust. Trust is the main thing about the people that I work with. I want to know that the people that I'm working with have a very open mind. Their minds are vibrant. They have different ideas to bring to the table. One of the great things I love about the people that I work with is they like none of the trendy shit that's going on right now. They like to create their own type of brand or create their own type of vibe to anything that I bring to the table as far as the garment. The people that I work with always create new things. We never try to do the same thing other people are doing. The main thing that I like to do with the people that I work with is to stand out. I want them to stand out at the same time. Whatever style that they want to do and whatever style we come up together.
I attended one of your fashion shows this past spring. When delivering a show, what is your creative process? Do you have different messages you try to convey each time? Honestly, I don't like fashion shows. I don't like the concept of fashion shows nor do I like fashion week or like how it's really hyped up to be. My whole thing is when I do shows, I like to present what I have coming for that particular show because my whole objective and my whole inspiration is through films. I love movies. I like to create movie sets and create a movie aesthetic. As far as my garment goes, I don't like the whole theme of fashion shows. You just play a song, it's a mix, everybody just comes out, walks through your garment and it's three minutes worth of a show. It doesn't really mean anything. It's boring. So I try to create different things throughout my collection. And that was my first fashion show this year. Through that show, I showcased womenswear, menswear, and also a wardrobe that I have for a short film that I have coming out very soon. (DVO Hit squad) But also I showcased different things throughout that show. That was my first opening for people to see my work from my clothing brand.
Have you had a favorite moment so far since you started making clothing, why was it so special?
I feel like the last fashion show that I had was very pivotal to how I feel right now. RAW Artists. They were one of the people that picked my brand up and saw the potential that I have. During that show, I was like, "yo, this is amazing". I loved the reaction that people had to the show. There were a lot more people there than I expected from the first show. And it was an amazing show and once I came out after I had all my models come out and do the final walkthrough, I felt like it was a special moment because I felt myself building up to everything that I wanted to do.
What does fashion mean to you? I feel like fashion means your self-identity. Fashion is not about the latest trend or what's popular right now from the latest rapper that rapped about the latest designer, which we all know is mostly household names. But I feel like fashion to me is your self-identity. Whatever you want to wear. Whatever you feel for yourself is the most important thing. Fashion is more so what you want to wear today. What you think people will be impressed by what you're wearing. But fashion to me is what you feel is most important to you and your self-expression. Because honestly, it doesn't matter what you wear, we have clothes that can fill the universe.
What is your brand's mission? Not only where you are trying to go with it but what are some factors that are important to you for your brand and personality? I feel like my brand's personality is that it's always building. My brand is never stagnant. We're always making and building different things of what people will appeal to them and what they like. Honestly, also vintage pieces... That's always been my thing for DVO is to make pieces that you can wear anytime anywhere. Timeless pieces. I like to make timeless pieces of what you can wear. Never gonna go out of trend. Cause most likely when people start wearing that piece again, it's going to be back in trend as well. My brand comes in the middle. Or even better than the expensive version because you feel like yourself in that piece of garment.
You have a place in the city where you usually hold galleries and your fashion shows, can you speak more on how that space started and what exactly it’s used for? An artist collective? I was brought there by a friend of mine named Marlin. He has his own clothing brand as well. He brought me there just to see the space and kind of view the space of letting me know whenever I want to do photoshoots for my brand I can come and do it here. So I went and viewed the space and I saw it as a goldmine pretty much and space for people to create and do what they do as far as their brand. But also bring something to the table. When I first went there, I went to a couple of shows and I saw how they bring everybody's collective vision together. I told him I would definitely love to bring my visions to the studio. He told me that he was having a fashion week show with multiple brands coming up. And once I saw how the setup was and how I have my own creative control to do whatever I want to do, I felt like that place was the start of DVO for people to see what I do for a living.
As we start to come to a close in 2019, has there been a pivotal moment this year that you’ll take into 2020? I feel like the last show that I had was one of the pivotal moments that I would carry on in my career because this year I never really did fashion shows. I wasn't very fond of doing fashion shows. I felt like I would create my brand, I will promote it. I would have my own campaign collections and show my vision. As far as fashion shows, I feel like people are very limited with what you want to do with your fashion show, whether you're a part of something or you're having your own show. I feel like fashion brands lack on really creating moments for people. I want you to view my clothes. I want you to be fond of my clothes and think whatever you think about my clothes for whatever collection I'm doing. But at the same time, I want to create an experience for you to come to because everybody has enough clothes in the world. But I feel like when people come to certain shows, they're expecting something. Regardless, people are gonna have their own opinions about the collection.
What is next for you? Anything you can speak on?
Yes, I have the DVO Hit squad film coming out very soon as a short film and I want everybody to view it and I'm going to keep you posted on when that's coming out. And I have my women's DVO collection coming out and that will be launching soon on the website for DVO by Dean. Men's wear and women's wear. But I've been focusing more on the lady. So guys y'all going to have to wait. There will be no more fashion shows closing out this year but I will see y'all for next year's fashion week.
Don't forget to check out DVO by Dean on Instagram.
Interview by Madison Everett.