Kade Stuart is a fashion designer, licensed Esthetician, and a freelance makeup artist. This triple threat is also the creative mastermind behind Deen + Gray, a contemporary fashion label that sells beautifully crafted crocheted scarves and hats.
Growing up in her Oakland, Ca home, Kade was surrounded by fashion designers. Both her mother and grandmother sewed. Her love for fashion was inherited as much as learned, and for that reason Kade has always known that the fashion and beauty industry would be her place to thrive. Opting out of fashion school, Kade went on to Tuskegee University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Management. With a desire to pursue her dreams, Kade enrolled in The San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology to hone in her skills as a makeup artist and Esthetician.
Kade’s passion for beautifully constructed clothing and accessories combined with her love of crocheting sparked what we know as Deen+Gray. Deen + Gray’s January 2010 debut truly showed us works of art created by hand. We are sure Kade’s presence in the fashion world will be seen sooner then later. Ooh La La had the honor to interview the founder and creative director of Deen + Gray to find out her inspiration behind it all. We also grabbed a few pointers for upcoming designers. Check out her complete interview when you
Ooh La La: What inspires your designs?
Deen + Gray: I’ve always loved beautiful clothing and I’m the type of person who notices the minor details of the pieces I admire. I can’t imagine a person loving fashion and not having the same appreciation for detail as myself so I try to create things that people like me will love.
Ooh La La: How did you get into fashion designing ?
Deen + Gray: I’ve always been creative and have always loved fashion. My mom, her mother and my father’s mother all sewed; many of the chic clothing my mom wore in the 60’s & 70’s she made herself. I never received formal fashion training, opting to go to school for skincare and makeup instead, after undergrad. I have been sewing since I was young and I taught myself how to knit and crochet about 5yrs ago. I love sewing but I usually only sew for personal use…occasionally I’ll make myself a dress or top to wear out or sew/repair things for friends.
Ooh La La: Describe your philosophy on fashion as an art
Deen + Gray: Fashion is art in it’s truest sense, I don’t think you can separate the two. You can’t look at the couture designs of the likes of Alexander McQueen or John Galliano without feeling overwhelmed by the awe inspiring beauty and intricate detail in design. They aren’t merely making clothing, they are telling a STORY. That, to me, is art…
Ooh La La: Are you coming out with a new collection for the winter/fall?
Deen + Gray: When I started Deen + Gray didn’t identify the pieces as a part of a fall or winter collection. I decided I didn’t want to do a collection in the traditional sense but rather I wanted to create pieces that I felt transcended seasons and could be apart of someone’s permanent collection. Deen + Gray is the collection and it‘s ever evolving. I can‘t help but try new styles because I see the value in staying current, so you can always expect something new. You can expect to see a few new items as winter approaches, as I have a few items in the works, but it’s a process. When I have a new idea, I create it, test it for quality and fashionability and only after much scrutiny will I add the new style to Deen + Gray.
Ooh La La: What’s your goals for your label? (Are you trying to be sold in major retail stores, do you want to stay independent, are you doing any showings soon?)
Deen + Gray: Right now I enjoy being independent, I enjoy the freedom while I build my business. I’d like to see Deen + Gray carried in small clothing boutiques and as my business grows major retail stores.
Ooh La La: What’s the most difficult part about running your own label/company?
Deen + Gray: Well for starters I do everything! From designing, to manufacturing, marketing and shipping, as of now. I don’t wear many hats I wear ALL hats. You HAVE to enjoy what you do because you will be frustrated, stressed out, overwhelmed and discouraged at times.
Ooh La La: What advice would you give to upcoming designers about breaking into the industry?
Deen + Gray: Do what you love, believe in yourself, and surround yourself with others who believe in you. always set and accomplish goals. Additionally, it’s important to remember how valuable relationships are, especially when it comes to meeting people in the industry. The fact that I had been doing makeup, and testing in the Bay Area helped me immensely when I started Deen + Gray. Both the photographer Christian Pollock and the model Erin Johnson, were professionals whose work I admired and had worked with on a number of occasions. I felt comfortable and they were very accommodating, making my first photoshoot a lot easier for me.
Check Kade out at Deen+Gray
Kade’s Twitter Page