For You, ByMizell: Q & A With The "Be Free. Be Kind. Be Edgy" Fashion Designer, Dennis
Have you ever met someone that just seemed to be superhuman? I'm pretty positive that was my exact thought when I was interviewing this next person who agreed to make a SimplyMei Guest Appearance. If being a wife AND a mother isn't time consuming enough, she maintains an inimitable drive to fulfill one of her lifelong passions.
I guess what they say is true. Nothing can stop a woman on a mission!
...and true enough, absolutely nothing can stop this fashion designer. Who is she, you ask?
SHE is none other than Dennise Mizell-Eaton, founder of the ByMizell clothing line. With an eclectic style and artistic imagination out of this world, Dennise Mizell-Eaton is making waves in the fashion world and she wants to share her gifts with you!
Born in Newark, NJ, growing up and attending school in North Carolina, and recently residing in Okinawa, Japan Dennise is no stranger to different places, people or most importantly, fashion. At a young age she always knew she wanted to be a creator and she also knew her purpose in life was to empower others. So, Dennise took her ideas and combined them into what she felt was her ultimate package of passion!
Growing up for Dennise she was not the most confident in the room and her self-esteem was lacking. It was when she started college at UNC-C that she started to embrace her free-spirit and positively reshaped the way she viewed herself. This new mental freedom allowed her to confidently bring her dream of creating her own wardrobe into fruition. In 2014, she officially picked up her sewing machine and went to work. This was a very humbling time for her as she often worked on the floor of her shared apartment. I like to think that humble beginnings often make the rewards so much sweeter in the end and in Dennise's journey this seems to hold true. Since starting her line, ByMizell has debuted in shows and clients rave over their pieces. Dennise continues to create timeless collections.
Just check out a few her pieces for yourself! (below)
I mean seriously I cannot take how beautiful these custom make pieces are! (Fun Fact: Sunflowers are my absolute favorite) Looking for a gift to get your favorite blogger? I'll take anyone of these outfits. Thank you. "You should have!" *wink*
Okay now! Check her out sporting one of her very own pieces. I'll be the first to admit that I've never been the "plaid enthusiast." Oh but I am a believer now. Dennise you are giving me L-I-F-E in this Strawberry Blonde Plaid Dungaree honey!
Surprise! It's me guys. Let me tell you I have never seen a paper bag skirt until Dennise sent me one of her very own. The minute I put on this fiery red skirt, I just felt like a different woman - - a ByMizell woman. There's a quiet sexiness about this look....the kind of sexy where you don't have to say a word or do too much because the look (in my case, this skirt) speaks for itself!
Getting To Know Dennise
"ByMizell is all about stepping your faith up, growing, being confident, and being the head turner in the room. We all want to be that. We will all be that!" -Dennise.
Interviewing Dennise was an absolute joy. In speaking with her, I could tell that fashion is not just a "new hobby" she picked or just something she does to "pass the time". Her attention to detail and relentless dedication is reflective of her authentic passion that encompasses so much more than just fashion. She is indeed a true artist. in many aspects. Read on for the exclusive SimplyMei interview. We're talking about life behind the scenes, rookie mistakes, and more!
Q. Tell me about the moment when you realized that being a fashion designer was more than a dream. Why did you choose fashion designing as a career?
A. I honestly cannot even tell you when I decided I wanted to be a designer. It wasn’t something that I dreamed of as a child. What I did know as a kid is that I really loved ART, and everything about ART by all means. I’ve always been a hands-on kind of person, creating and constructing. With that, I did draw a great deal of clothing and I guess you could say model figures, which I didn’t know they were at the time. Later on, and one million drawings later in my teenage life is when I discovered my love for clothing and putting pieces together that made me feel different but good at the same time! It was then that I decided I wanted to wear MY own designs, and have MY own style, that came straight from my mind, and were based on my drawings. This eventually led into me wanting to make other people -ladies in particular- feel just as great as I did in my clothing. But I definitely didn’t take anything I was doing seriously at first until I started getting feedback on the progress I was making and I totally didn’t consider myself an entrepreneur or even a designer until recently! It’s still setting in on saying that’s what I am. It’s totally unbelievable and EXCITING that I really went from paper to clothing clients who ACTUALLY pay me to wear my version of ART. Even claiming I wanted to be a designer I didn’t see this coming lol.
Q. What is life like behind the scenes for a fashion designer?
A. Behind the scenes work requires a lot of problem solving, and attention to detail, more than most people would probably believe. You have to get things exactly right and precise or else the whole garment can come out entirely wrong; and because I’m currently an Independent Designer people pay much closer attention to the details of how the garment is made and how it fits their body. With the perfect fit of course you need measurements, you need to produce a pattern, you normally have to make a mock design with muslin before the real one. I personally go and find my clients fabric that I think would best suit them, you also must buy any accessories that go with that garment, (buttons, zippers, thread, etc.) Then you can finally get to making the piece -by this time I’m usually wore out- It usually takes hours to finish any piece. But a fitting must take place and if alterations are needed then they must be in pursuit. Another fitting. And Wha-la! That's just for one custom piece. Lol A collection starts from scratch with the mood board, drawings/ sketches, choosing swatches, thinking and elaborating on trends and if or how you can incorporate some, patterns, mock-ups, etc, and then comes the full creative directing side that a designer has to become when it comes to how you want your things to looks down a runway or during an editorial photoshoot or what have you. So comes the time when I am trying to get a collection done, things get HECTIC and I’m usually freaking out through the whole process and especially when its coming to an end. But it gets done.
Q. What kind of woman do you envision wearing your Mizell clothing?
A. The kind of woman I see wearing ByMizell is an empowered woman. She’s the girl that no one knows is coming to the event and she pops up and captures the whole rooms attention. She’s the girl that doesn’t have to say a thing and everyone still wants to be her. A woman in ByMizell is a kind woman one that embodies this softness but she also has a bit of edge and sass to her that makes her delightfully untouchable. The ByMizell woman is an Art in herself and creates the visuals as a walking masterpiece.
Q. There are always going to be people that share your passion for designing. What is it that sets you and your clothing line apart?
A. My aesthetic. The way I style my pieces are purposely decided from the beginning. The way I make sure to embody both a softness and a simple hardness to every piece or outfit. I always want my client to feel like themselves, confident and free. Nobody will be able to tell you otherwise.
Q. What are some of your favorite clothing lines, besides yours of course?
A. Right now I’m closely watching a few people. I am in love with a newer designer LaQuan Smith. He is such a big inspiration. One because he’s black, and “I’M ROOTING FOR EVERYBODY BLACK!” thanks Issa, and two because from my perspective he’s a humble guy. His designs have been on major people such as Beyonce, and the Kardashians, Cardi B, and most recently Gabrielle Union. These are all people with VERY different body types and styles YET they all can wear something from him. That’s inspiring, thats where I want to be.
I also follow some others such as UK designer, Natasha Zinko, the beautiful dressmaker, Michael Costello, and my favorite local NC designers being, Tygerian of Tygerian Lace and and Trey of IversonTrollinger, they’re both amazing and everyone should check them out!
Oh! And after seeing Black Panther, I am surely a fan of Ruth Carter and all of her marvelous work.
Q. What are some of your favorite trends right now and what are some that you wish would just disappear forever?
A. My Favorite trends right now? Hmm… I would have to say the monochromatic look. Wearing all one color or various shades of one color. I’m into that. It’s something that sounds simple but simple can easily be passed for elegant and then you add your own twist, which is my favorite part of the whole thing!
Since moving back to the states from Japan I can say that I can go for a more “baggy” or loose look with my own clothing. Their culture promotes it so I think its a piece of Japan I brought back with me.
Also I’m feeling this imitation Gucci look with the stripes down your legs and arms. That’s so popping to me right now. I’m going to be sad to see that go when it does.
I don’t think any trend should just disappear. If you can wear something well and bring it in style I am definitely all for it! I never would have thought plaid would ever be a big thing again and I look up and have a whole mini collection of it. It’s a tricky fabric and it will continue to go in and out. Just like anything and everything else.
Q. What is the biggest rookie mistake you have made?
A. lol where do I even begin to answer this question. I make so many so often it I eventually just get used to them and learn not to do them again. But to answer I would have to say, going in on a new project or collection not thinking all about what I want to see and not considering what my audience would like to see. I have always wanted to be of a service to people so I need to make sure that I am being THAT service.
Q. What is your favorite part about being a designer?
A. That’s a good question, because I never actually think about it. As much as I like being a designer, truthfully sometimes I get caught up in what I don’t like all too often. Because it does get exceptionally hard and it can be that way quite often. But then I talk myself back into REALITY and kick all that negative energy to the side. But to explain the best part, it would have to be the feeling of creating freely and the endorphins I feel raising when I know someone likes or loves what I make, especially when its on them! My heart feels so full when someone is completely satisfied and feels amazing in what I create for them!
It’s also really cool when I can create little baby outfits for Gabby every once in a while too. haha
Q. What motivates you on the days you don’t feel like rolling out of bed?
A. Honestly, it would have to be when I listen to other people’s success stories and advice. I literally will turn on a podcast on to get me up and running, and when I’m up, I continue listening through my work time period. With those stories I listen to, I hear my own and getting to the “other side” of it all motivates me everytime. I also have people waiting on me to get there. I feel I owe them something worthwhile, those people being my daughter and husband.
Q. The people want to know, what can we look forward to in coming years for ByMizell?
A. We will have to wait and see…..
Lol, no I won’t end like that. What’s next for ByMizell? Oh man, I’m excited about what’s coming! Short term: I plan on stepping out the box. When I say box, I mean my oh, so comfy, comfort zone. You’ll see some pop-up shops, and now that I’m back in the states I can prepared to be in an actual show. Hopefully, this fall for a S/S2019 collection. I plan on producing more so crossing fingers on being not so much of an independent designer. Long term: Stores, being in stores, traveling for shows and shoots, and being an even greater service to our clientele. That’s what it’s all about, you, never me. I want everyone to feel like their best selves. So I’m planning to cause pandemonium to the world so that everyone can Be Free. Be Kind. and Be Edgy… Until next time. <3
Want more with the edgy designer from Newark, New Jersey?
Stay connected with Dennise via the following ByMizell social media handles:
Thank you for being my special guest Dennise! Until next time with...