Overalls: Alex Black

Exclusive Interview: Devan Gregori Expands on Womenswear and “Ferry Fashion”

As we noted in earlier post, a  colorful cohort of Bay Area apparel designers  will convene with Fashion Incubator SF pop up at Westfield SF Centre April 23-April 24

Among the celebrities on hand to tell their stories will be Devan Gregori, who quit her corporate day job to build her label from a small apt. in Oakland with the mission to bring fun back to functional fashion.

In this exclusive interview, she expands observations of the industry.

Cultural Currents: Ferry riders are always on the lookout for functional fashion. How do your designs satisfy this need?

Devan Gregori: I really think we should all be outside walking or using public transportation more. One of the defining features of our aesthetic is feeling free and unencumbered in your day-to-day.

First off, I source fabrics that feel good against your skin all day. For example, our timeless linen/viscose has a gorgeous weight to it, which makes it ideal for layering all year around. It doesn’t wrinkle the way 100% linen does, but it still maintains its breathability, making it ideal when transitioning from indoors to outdoors often.

Another feature that makes these designs commuter-friendly is that everything has pockets deep enough to whole a cell phone without adding a huge amount of visible bulk to your silhouette.

Lastly, all these designs are made to adjust to our bodies, since bodies are never constant. The Sasha wrap pant, for example, both feature an elastic waistband in the back AND an invisible zipper, making it easy to slip on and adjust comfortably, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. It also has a lining in the back of the wrap pant, so if you’re sitting down on the ferry, you don’t have to worry about exposing too much skin.

CC: Pockets seem to play a key role in your wardrobe options. What inspired that detail?

Gregori: From a personal perspective, I’ve always been a pocket person. I’m a minimalist when it comes to the things I feel like I need to carry around with me. All I really want on a day-to-day basis are  my keys, phone, credit card and a lipstick, and I’d rather slip those in my pockets than be burdened by a heavy purse that I am responsible for not losing or getting stolen. Now, don’t get me wrong, purses and bags have their place, but when I’m presented with the choice, I’d choose feeling the freedom of pockets every time.

Now from a more historical and political perspective, pockets have had an interesting history in fashion, but in womenswear particularly. We know that what makes us special as humans is our ability to create and use tools. Now our only problem is that we, unlike marsupials, don’t have built in pouches to store things. So the concept of who has the necessary tools when they’re needed becomes pretty paramount. It means walking through life with a bit more assuredness and confidence that you can handle whatever may come your way.

Womenswear is inundated with these little tiny nothings of pockets that are either fake or are so shallow, they barely hold a bobby pin. We’ve all had that experience of having to ask a date to hold our phone for us. They bemoan it, and we don’t like it either…so why do we continue to design these little pouches of nothingness?

I’ll spare you the history of the pocket, but traditionally, women have been treated as objects to admire, without any real purpose other than managing a house. They shouldn’t need to handle such things as money, nor were they allowed to for a while. So, when we think of what a pocket means, it essentially means power, the ability to be independent and engage in today’s society.

I design pockets that are deep enough to hold a phone because I don’t want to ask someone to hold my belongings for me when I go out. I want to reclaim the power of the pocket!

CC: Can you define the “core silohouette” for our readers, and explain why it is an essential design element for you?

Gregori: I love the idea of having a wardrobe of carefully chosen pieces that make you feel confident and that you want to wear over and over again. It’s like building the foundation for your personal aesthetic where you can incorporate statement pieces as you want to.

A core silhouette should be your go-to look – the one you want to wear when you want to feel your best (and I don’t know about you, but I want to always try to feel my best everyday!). It should make you feel confident whether that’s on a Zoom call, on a date or letting loose with friends. For me, that’s a cropped tee and high waisted wide leg pants because I want to be able to move about my day without feeling little distracting tugs or pulls.

I think the core silhouette will be different for each person that shops this label, but that’s the magic of this collection – you can pull together pieces to either create or add to your own core silhouette. You can even add that approachable statement piece in a beautiful print or pattern since you know what style you like best.