Q & A with Devan
1. City of residence: Oakland, CA
2. Place of birth: San Francisco, CA
3. In under five sentences, define your business:
The Devan Gregori label offers women pieces that adapt to the spontaneity of life. A core collection of timeless jumpsuits, pants and tops is punctuated each season by inspired prints and texture sources from small mills in France and Japan. Using sustainable fabrics and working with honest manufacturing practices, each piece is meant to stand the test of time; to be reached for again and again, ready to make memories in.
4. What inspired you to launch Devan Gregori?
What inspired me to launch this label, and continues to inspire me, is the power that I feel women have when we lift each other up. We are strong, beautiful, intelligent, emotional creatures with incredible potential and force. Yet we also live in a society that tells us we are each other’s competition.
So this what I want this label to be is a representation of our strength and tenacity. What we wear is so closely connected to how we feel about ourselves, how we are perceived, and how we approach the world. I want people to feel beautiful and empowered and that they can take on anything they want in my clothes, whether that’s to run, to explore, to take risks, to be who you want to be.
As a woman who is active in her personal life, I’m gravitated towards garments that let me move freely, whether that be to dance, run, sit cross-legged, you name it. I want each woman to be able to adapt to the spontaneity of life and feel supported in whatever she takes on.
5. What social or environmental impact is your business making?
For any brand, regardless of how established, I believe it’s important to take what steps you can to do what’s best for your planet and your community. It’s not a marketing strategy, it’s a responsibility. As a small business owner, I recognize that I can’t do everything at once, but I’m doing what I can right now with the resources I have to reduce my impact on the environment.
When it comes to materials, I strive to use natural or naturally-derived fabrics. Tencel, for example, is a fabric that has a 99% closed loop production process, which means that all the water/additives used to create the material can be recycled instead of turning into waste that runs off into our waterways. Any fabric that I use that is not labeled sustainable is sourced from small manufacturers in Japan or France, where mills are family-owned and there is pride taken in the manufacturing process.
I also am mindful of the small everyday decisions I make and their impact on a larger scale. The cardstock for my business cards are made from recycled T-shirts, and my packaging materials are sustainable as well. I keep my correspondence to email, and try not to consume paper products.
Something else that’s close to my heart is honest manufacturing practices. I work with a friend and colleague who has started his own business in garment production. Rather than sourcing factories all over the world for the lowest possible price, I decided to invest in his entrepreneurial spirit and his small team of extremely talented people.
6. If you could share just one piece of wisdom with the world, what would it be?
I’d say prioritize your people & tend to your relationships. In a society that focuses so much on individualism and overconsumption, we tend to lose sight of what really matters. Things come and go – money, things, position, power…but at the end of the day, when all is said and done, what we will have left are the relationships we have built with others.
7. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Well I just finished Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, which was fantastic. I’ve been slowly savoring Phyllis Grant’s Everything is Under Control, and up next is Flights by Olga Tokarczuk.
8. Quote you (try to) live by?
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis
It’s taken a lot of moments of pain, regret, shame, and also forgiveness, vulnerability and love for me to realize that the “fresh start” I fantasize about is a fallacy. Great beauty lies in our power to learn and build from our past, our mistakes, failures and our successes.
9. Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
10. What is one random fact that most people don’t know about you?
When I’m not managing the label, I teach indoor cycling classes at Cyclebar in Berkeley. I’ve been a fitness instructor for a little over 4 years, but have been with Cyclebar for about 9 months. We’re lucky to have a patio space, so right now we are holding socially-distant outdoor rides.
I have a hard time sitting still, so teaching cycling classes gives me an outlet physically, but also socially. I love bringing people together, and I find that exercise can be quite therapeutic, especially during these times!