Coming out of New York City, popular designer brand Terry Winston is many things. Creative, passionate and ubiquitous. The latter, of course, is a nod to the amount of sightings the "TW" logo for the line appears on attire worn by some of your favorite celebrities, including Teyana Taylor, B.o.B., NBA star Nick Young and more.
Speaking on the brand's latest line, "Heart of a Wolf," designers TerryBest and Maya Winston Lawrence spoke to REVOLT about the levels to the breaking into the fashion industry, making a name and staying ubiquitous.
Coming out of New York City, how important is fashion to you and your day to day?
Terry Best: Well, fashion has been our entire life. Being a young black man raised by my mother, we was always thought to look, dress and feel presentable. Especially within the Caribbean community. New York City is so cluttered and fast paced. Fashion is what we use to stand out.
Maya Winston: Growing up in NYC fashion has always meant everything to me knowing I lived in the fashion capital of the world. Your personal style said a lot about you and the make up of your social group. In a city like NYC, that's usually what accounts for others first impressionist you. You can tell a lot about someone from the way they are dressed.
Fashion is many things, from expression to art. What does it mean to you?
TB: Fashion gives us the ability to be heard without having to speak. Fashion is my social identity an what I relate to the most.
MW: Fashion is about expressing your identity. Through clothing I'm able to tell a story about myself, or translate a mood or feeling without even having to speak. TW is exactly that. Through out the process of creating a capsule or collection, each step is carefully thought out as a way of me sharing a piece of me, with whoever will consume an item from TW. From the fabric to the colors, to the simple intrigue and subtle details. They all come from a feeling inside me, and that's simply how I'm able to express those feelings.
How did you get into the fashion business?
TB: Well one of the perks of growing up in New York City, you tend to meet an become friends with a lot people. Musician Teyana Taylor was the first artist to wear our signature sweater, which went viral instantly. At this point we knew that we could be successful once we have the structure. It's a busy industry and also a challenge in carving out your lane, but you've managed to do so.
MW: I've always been around the fashion business with my mom being a seamstress while I was a child but it wasn't until NYC fashion night out 2012 when it occurred to me. The vibration in NYC that night, a bunch of youth running around the city dressed in truly what they felt was their boldest statement for the night; it excited me. I had a different vibe that night, a feeling I wanted to bottle up and have for the rest of my life. I made custom pieces the following week and everyone wanted it, that's when I knew me and Terry could create something special.
Tell us about that journey to creating Terry Winston.
TB: Most people don't know this but the brand is literally our names. The "Terry" is from TerryBest and Winston is from Maya Winston Lawrence. As the lead designers of Terry Winston we constantly try to remain grounded and connected to the people. We thrive on being approachable within our lifestyle. We realized that fashion is about life style. Our lifestyle has always been around great fitting clothing, music and nightlife.
MW: We always been socialites in NYC. From high school to college. That social scene has always been our niche. Fashion music sports. That's always been our thing and it's a strong influence in our lives and plays a strong part in our marketing and branding. Terry Winston is a product of that.
What qualities must one have when trying to enter the industry with their own idea, creation and expression?
TB: Creatively, it's tricky. Sometimes times you have to be very aggressive to get your idea vision across, while other times people get it but there are cases when it takes time. To me, patience and determination is the key.
MW: One must always stay true to themselves, and trust the process. Be diligent, and maintain a very high level of focus. For me persistency and perseverance has been the key. I can't stress that enough.
What are some of the misconceptions that aspiring designers and creators tend to have before stepping into the fashion industry?
TB: From a business perspective, the biggest misconception is that people think it's easy to sustain. Whereas in fashion, your longevity is determined by progressive growth, consistency to deliver and knowing your crowd. Try doing this in a consistently growing world where everyone changes their mind every five seconds.
MW: That becoming a world renowned fashion designer is "finna be a breeze". I'm not really sure about misconceptions, but the fashion industry can chew you up and spit you out quick. We see brands come and go all the time, it's not as easy as it looks
As a business, what must one do to consistently stand out?
TB: Stay true to yourself. Be the trendsetter rather than following the trend. We try to keep a forward thinking mindset.
MW: That becoming a world renowned designer is "finna be a breeze". I'm not really sure about misconceptions, but the fashion industry can chew you up and spit you out quick. We see brands come and go all the time, it's not as easy as it looks.
Talk to us about how the capsule collection came together and where can people purchase?
TB: This capsule is very important to us. It symbolizes the growth, sacrifices and process we had to endure from the start to now. We started back in 2013. The "Heart of a Wolf" capsule is a collection of high quality, comfortable everyday wear for todays dynamic man.
What's some of the advice you'd give aspiring designers and creatives who hope to make their mark in the industry?
TB: My biggest advice is to get a mentor or a team that pushes you everyday . As an up-and-coming designer, your days are very long and stressful, especially if you aren't making sales. You need someone that you can look to for advice even if they aren't in the same industry.
MW: Build a strong team around you. It will make the process much easier. It's definitely not a solo mission.