Dashaun Hightower is a Chicago-based fashion designer hailing from New Britain, Connecticut. His label is a mix of high fashion, grunge, and streetwear with an aesthetic that shares qualities similar to that of notorious labels like Viktor & Rolf and Thome Brown, which like Hightower, are all about creating drama and evoking emotion. The local designer has been featured in editorials such as Art +Design Magazine, Chicago Reader, and Vogue.It, and most recently received international recognition as the winner of OUT Magazine’s 2017 Fashion Vanguard Award. An award that honors the industries LGBTQ most talented and promising fashion designers. Locally the city has yet to see this young designer completely shine, but they soon will. This Saturday, for one night only influencers, artists, and fellow designers will be offered a preview into Hightower’s progress and process during an exclusive fashion exhibition.
Get to know the artist a little more before Saturdays installation. Check out my interview with the designer on what inspires his Hightower brand, his muses, and favorite influencers, and why he is building his empire right here in the city of Chicago.
T: When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
D: I would say I knew I wanted to be a designer my senior year of high school. Up until then, I had mainly focused on being a portrait artist, but realistically that wasn’t for me. I started to show interest in textiles, and I’ve pretty much been o this path ever since.
T: How would you describe your brand?
D: I would describe my brand is a mix between high fashion, grunge, and streetwear. The brand to me is very eclectic which I like because it allows a lot of different people to identify with the brand.
T: What is your inspiration for Hightower Co.
D: The inspiration for Hightower comes from curiosity. If you look at my body of work, there is a lot of experimentation with fabrics and silhouettes. I really like taking something that is seen as the standard and distorting it. I feel like this need to ask why fuels a lot of my designs and just my way of thinking.
T: More specifically, do you have any fashion icons that you look to for inspiration?
D: Fashion Icons that I look to for inspiration are Grace Jones and Jean-Michel Basquiat. To me, there is enough content between the two of them to really make some crazy things.
T: Why build your brand in Chicago?
D: I decided to build my brand in Chicago because I felt like the New York market was oversaturated. I also wanted to build my brand in an isolated environment, and Chicago seemed like a good fit. I am happy that I made that decision because it allowed me to reinforce my attention to detail and build a solid foundation.
T: Are there any Chicago influencer(s) that you would love to see wearing your label?
T: Talk about the Immortality fashion exhibit taking place on June 10th.
D: The exhibition is a series of visual displays that highlight each of the collections I have created to date. It’s almost like the audience is sitting in on an editorial. This exhibition allows the audience to really get a feel for the brand and what our values are.
T: What is the future of Hightower Co?
D: The future of Hightower is to keep growing responsibly and stay true to the aesthetic. The next collection will be completed soon, and after that, it’s on to marketing. The goal with this next collection is to create something that pushes boundaries but is also profitable.
Want to meet the Vanguard recipient and see his award-winning garments in person?
Click RSVP for the Immortality show taking place this Saturday, June 10th!