There’s a reason Los Angeles-based designer Laurel Dewitt‘s is known as the Queen of Chain and Metal. Think of a visual that included an extraordinary metal piece whether a crown, bustier or chain link dress, and there’s a good chance DeWitt had a hand in making it.
Since founding her eponymous brand in New York 10 years ago, she has provided looks for Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Megan thee Stallion, Saweetie and Cardi B, among others. This year, her designs played a starring role in “Coming to America” as worn by multiple characters including Teyana Taylor in the role of Bopoto Izzi.
Prior to making the move to the West Coast, Dewitt made a name for herself in New York where she literally took people to church through a series of other-worldly New York Fashion Week presentations held at the Holy Apostles Church where her stunning creations were worn by models included Amber Rose, Jessica White and Amina Blue.
Like most work-centered creatives, DeWitt was forced to downshift in 2020 because of COVID-19 and used her spare time to cook up new avenues of expression, including design items for a wider audience.
Below, check out what Dewitt has to say about working with the greats, her move to the West Coast and what 2020 taught her.
Snobette: You launched your brand over 10 years ago How does it feel to have achieved the level of recognition and success that you have?
Laurel DeWitt: “It feels amazing. There were people that didn’t get it when I started. They would ask why I was making metal clothes. They didn’t see the vision, but I did. It feels wild to think that it’s been over 10 years. I’m always thinking about the next goal, so it’s hard to live in the moment when these things happen.”
Snobette: From all the editorial pieces, the video costumes and most recently the film “Coming To America,” is there is a piece that you fell in love with more so than others?
Laurel DeWitt: “This is always such a difficult question because my pieces are really my babies, but if I had to choose, I’d say that the crown Beyoncé wore in Coldplay’s “Hymn For the Weekend.” That was the first time she actually wore one of my pieces after a few years of missed hits, so it’s the closest to my heart.”
Snobette: Your work beautifully blurs the line between art and fashion. After creating so many works of art, do you find the need to adjust to think more commercially with your jewelry and handbag line or is your process the same?
Laurel DeWitt: “My brand has always been my art. Right after graduating from Pratt, I went into corporate fashion designing handbags and was also building my brand, so I did both simultaneously. Now that I’ve shown the world what my art is, the next step is moving in a more commercial direction. I have some things in the works that I’m very excited about.”
Snobette: There have been a significant number of creatives who’ve made the move from New York to Los Angeles. You’ve also made the move. How has it been for you?
Laurel DeWitt: “For the most part it’s been an amazing experience. There are more opportunities here than New York for celebrity, TV and film. When I was in New York I would get a lot of last minute celebrity requests that I couldn’t fulfill because of shipping times, but now that I’m in L.A. people can hit me up and I can make things happen that I wouldn’t have been able to before. The New York hustle is real though, and I think that has helped me make all the moves I’ve made in L.A.”
Snobette: From a fashion standpoint, whose work do you admire right now?
Laurel DeWitt: “There are so many dope designers out there. I have to be honest, I try not to pay attention to a lot of what’s going on outside of trend forecasting because I don’t want to be influenced by what other people are doing. I’ve been doing a lot of research and studying on the costume design side of things more than anything. I’m always influenced by what I’m watching at the time.”
Snobette: What did you learn in 2020 that you are taking with you this year?
Laurel DeWitt: “I think 2020 taught me to take time to be still. I am always on the go, always working on a project, and I don’t always take the time to rest. Also, it taught me to be able to pivot. During lockdown there were no projects, so I did what a lot of designers did, I made masks.”
Snobette: Has Clubhouse had an influence on you as a creative?
Laurel DeWitt: “I don’t think Clubhouse has influenced me as a creative per se, but it’s certainly reconnected me with people and introduced me to an entirely new audience. I feel so loved and respected. The creatives on Clubhouse really give me my flowers. It’s been cool because I guess people saw me as this elusive being because I just work and I’m not usually on the scene.”
Snobette: What can we look forward to for Laurel Dewitt for the remainder of 2021?
LaLaurel DeWitt: “I have quite a few things in the works. I’m working on a clothing line and I hope that’s out soon. I’m also working on a few TV and film projects. Stay tuned.”