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BLM To Body Inclusivity: Our Q&A With Designer Renee Bishop

by Wolf & Badger

Based in New York City, it was destiny that designer Renee Bishop would launch her own fashion brand, DEITY NEW YORK. Hailing from a family of seamstresses, Bishop’s designs celebrate the female form with their elegantly bold charm and timeless silhouettes. We caught up with Renee to hear more about her inspirations and how to create a more inclusive fashion industry...

Renee, please can you tell us about yourself? 

Hailing from a family of seamstresses, I've always felt born into my destiny. Before finding my calling as a fashion designer I gained extensive experience as a stylist and model, providing me with a 360 perspective of the fast-paced fashion industry. I'm self-taught and the lead designer and creative director of Deity New York. I have a fresh, new vision - the projection of youth with an artistic view. I keep the garments very sophisticated, yet edgy and filled with emotions.

Where did your interest in fashion come from? 

Both of my grandmothers worked in New York’s Garment District. On the West Coast, my mother’s love for fashion was poured into the clothing she created for my siblings and me. I inherited technicality, a keen eye for the details of buttons, zippers, cuts, and artistry. Utilizing these priceless gifts, I am able to instil excellence into each design.

What was the main inspiration to begin Deity New York? 

I couldn't find luxury clothing that would hug my curves perfectly. In addition, I wanted to wear looks that were elegant and timeless but still bold and stylish. So I started designing for myself and after years of positive feedback about my designs, I decided to share it with the world.

What was it like to launch your brand amidst the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM)? 

We launched during Covid-19 and in the midst of the state of emergency, the BLM movement played no part in our launch. I think our society has awakened to see what the black community has gone through and started recognizing all the contributions in fashion, music, beauty, and society in general that black people have made.

How has the movement affected your business and creative process? 

It made us really reflect on the message we're sending out and who we want to be as a business. We also wanted to contribute to uplifting our community by partnering with non-profits such as the Loveland Foundation (which provides mental health services to black women). We ensure to hire a diverse team, and make sure that everyone on the glam team knows how to handle darker skin tones and all textures of hair during fashion shows and photoshoots. My creative process hasn't changed much - I've always designed with black women and their beautiful curves at the forefront and not as an afterthought. If anything it gave me more drive and motivation to keep it moving and worry less.

What changes are needed to create a more inclusive, educational fashion industry? 

True representation of us and for us. However, we can't expect others to do what we should do for ourselves. So we must be the leaders in that respect. There needs to be more funding and partnership opportunities for black-owned fashion businesses. Also, more executive positions at top fashion houses and institutions need to be filled by people of color. 

What is it like to work with a women-only team? Can you share some examples of how your team empowers each other? 

I love having a woman-based team and working with women while we design for women. We empower each other with our constant support of each other and allow each experience and lifestyle to show through in our design details and aesthetics. 

Do you have any advice for young black creatives hoping to make their mark in today's world?

Remain true to yourself and your vision. If you’re not creating from the heart space, then it shows in your work. Perfect your craft and love. Lastly, be proud of what you do. People love raw authenticity. Create freely and with love.

When did you discover Wolf & Badger? What does the platform mean to you? 

Back in 2010, I discovered Wolf & Badger - I love the unique designs you can always find and the independent designers on the platform. I love what Wolf & Badger stands for and being part of this community.