Meet the aspiring Head Fashion Designer behind the brand ‘House of Deveer’, Grace Deveer. In this interview, she discusses everything from the moment she first realized she wanted to become a designer to the impact she hopes to have on the fashion industry. Most importantly, she wants to share her perspective with the world through fashion, instil confidence and urge women to celebrate their most authentic selves. SCHICK contributor, Lawrencia Nelson finds out what a typical day is like for the designer and her favourite parts of being a creative.
What inspired you to create a fashion brand that focused on African fashion?
My inspiration for creating the brand comes from my deep passion for preserving African textiles, the woven fabrics and prints. For instance, for the prints produced in Ghana, each fabric has its own story and meaning. I like to use bold colours and abstract patterns. These have always inspired me to continue the tradition and create my prints that tell their own stories
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
I’ve always felt fashion was my calling. Even at a young age, I would watch my mother and aunties dress in traditional African clothes for church and special occasions. They wore it with so much pride and that’s really where my interest in fashion started to develop. Also, my grandmother would tell me stories and the meaning behind different prints, which further emboldened my interest.
What inspired you to create the brand?
House of DeVeer celebrates African culture, particularly the rich colours and variety of the textiles used in African attire. My inspiration for creating the brand stems from my deep passion for preserving African textiles, the woven fabrics and prints. For instance, for the prints produced in Ghana each fabric has its own story and meaning. I like to use bold colours and abstract patterns; it’s always inspired me to continue the tradition and create my prints that tell their own stories.
How has the brand evolved over the years?
House of Deveer is slowly evolving and it is still finding its own trademark, there’s so much that I need to learn, I started off by being a tailor making clothes for party’s and weddings it was fun at first then it started to become a chore I felt like I wasn’t using my full potential. That’s when I realised I wanted to be a designer to create and come up with innovative designs I wanted my clothes to have purpose. I’m still evolving as a designer and a brand. I still have a long way to go and there are things I am yet to discover but I’m enjoying the slow process.
What makes House of Deveer stand out and perhaps how you hope to impact the fashion industry?
I would say the Afrocentric chic designs, accompanied by a blend of high-end luxury and Ghanaian culture. One day, I want to impact the fashion industry by being ethical and sustainable, creating more fashion houses and factories in Ghana and giving back to my country, and eventually, the whole of Africa.
Describe a typical day for you as a designer?
Every day is different for me. Sometimes, I focus on design development, doing research on my new collection or sewing and making up samples for the collection. I also spend quite a bit of time working on my social media.
What is your most memorable career highlight?
The most memorable career highlight is competing in Fashion 4 Africa. It was the turning point in my career and life, and it gave me back the confidence and drive to continue fashion again after battling with my anxiety and depression.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing my customers radiate happiness in my designs!
What is your least favourite part of your job?
Honestly? At times, my work can be overwhelming. I mostly do everything by myself and it’s hard keeping up with everything.
Tell us about any fashion designers that have inspired you along the way…
Coco Chanel has always been my inspiration because I believe she broke the rules of fashion and revolutionised the way women wore clothes.
Let’s discuss your pieces. Can you describe the typical design process?
My design process starts with one initial idea, which leads to other ideas. I like to look at colours, patterns, nature and people. My graduate design pieces started from “Birds of Paradise” by National Geographic. I was inspired by the different colours and patterns of the birds and also the Black Cuban womens’ traditional clothing, which is a mix of African and Spanish culture – rumba dresses with extravagant frills, ruffles and traditional African head wraps.
How do you want individuals to feel when wearing your clothes?
I always want them to feel comfortable and most importantly, confident.
How do you like to wind down after work?
Meditating and reading books or watching my favourite programs.
If you were not a designer, what would your career path of looked like?
I would have to say a creative writer. I’ve always loved books ever since I was a child; then, I would even write my books!