Interview by Fabian Guerrero & Roberto Sanchez.
FG Where does your inspiration come from and how are you able to take from inspiration and make it your own? WB I take a lot of inspiration from art history. I took some extra classes in college because I loved the subject so much. I am a huge mood board person. But mine are all digital. My creations are amalgamations of everything that’s in my head and in my heart. So I surround myself with things that enrich those organs, I nurture them and feed my creativity. I take that very seriously knowing that I am an artist and what goes in, is what will come out. I cannot bear to even look at certain things or be around certain people because I know it will manifest in some way. FG When was that moment that you knew exactly what you wanted to become a designer? WB I always knew that I was an artist, but in high school, I discovered my love for fashion. I remember seeing the ad campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2006 and thinking how cool it was that they told a story with the clothing. Then I found McQueen, of course, and that was it for me. I think a bit of his soul is intertwined with mine. RS As a designer what are your goals and your dreams? What have you already accomplished WB I have already worked towards a lot of the goals I had for myself as a designer (magazine cover, dressing my favorite stars, etc..) But I am dying to have my first runway show. I think about it every day, envisioning what it will be. I am working towards that steadily every day and I’m excited about the fire that it will ignite. I want insanely quality pieces and next-level innovative designs that really speak to what I want to see in a high fashion brand with a cultural impact. FG How would you describe the people that wear Wesley? WB One of a kind, brave, creative, forward thinking. The people who wear my clothes know what they stand for, they are self-assured and know that there is more to life than what can be seen on the surface. They love others, are generally kind and caring people who respect community and culture. They have an eye for detail and know that art is important. FG Being a queer designer, what does that mean to you and how are you able to use your platform to reach out to the community and people? WB I have always used my art to communicate with my community. My designs tell a story of love and acceptance. I want the stories that my fashion conveys to inspire LGBTQ or gender-nonconforming people to just accept themselves for who they are and to love their uniqueness because when we are able to do that for ourselves, we are then able to invoke that in others. Love can end wars, so this is my effort to teach people about that. For me, my art is my platform and I have thought of it that way ever since I can remember. I think young artists today make the mistake of waiting until they have some sort of social “platform” or following before they feel like they can be a voice for change. We should be focused on being everyday activists in our own circles, however small or big they may be. So I create in order to inspire change. FG If there was one word to describe Wesley Berryman what would that be and why? WB Love. Because everything is nothing without love and Wesley Berryman is everything. RS What are your concerns about the fashion industry? WB I’m really concerned about the whole Dolce&Gabbana racism thing. It’s just disgusting and sad. I used to be a huge fan of their work, they were gods to me. I think they need to face severe consequences for the racist remarks made against an entire country. And I think the fashion industry has a duty to make them pay, we should not let racists get away with what they do. FG How has 2018 made an impact in your life and what does Wesley Berryman have in store for 2019? WB I experienced a lot of personal grief and depression in 2018 and with everything that happened in our country, it’s been sort of a grim year. But 2018 also brought me a sprinkling of golden moments. This year enforced the idea that light cannot exist without darkness. And I’m grateful for both because I have learned so much from every situation that I faced. I’m now stronger and more prepared to go into 2019, I have so much planned for the growth of myself and my brand that I wouldn’t have been ready for without time and nurturing. RS Do you go with the fashion calendar or how is Weslah presenting his collections and how often? WB I can’t be held down by a calendar, I barely function under the man-made law of the time. I take great care when it comes to creating my collections, I want everything to be as fully realized as possible. But as my life changes, so do how I create my work. Now I am creating on a faster schedule because I have so many ideas that it’s impossible to keep up with them before I have completely new ones. If I could, I would have every look realized, I have books full of designs. So I think it would be fun to work on the fashion schedule, just to be able to get all my ideas out there in a fast-paced way. Everything I create is linear, with one collection picking up where the last one left off. It’s a continuation of a story, my designs are my life as it happens and I’m just creating it as I go. FG This year your work has been featured amongst artists from Ciara, Beyonce, Azealia Banks etc... how have those moments and experiences made you feel? and what other celebrities do you think you would love to see your designs on? WB Those were all really amazing moments to look back on. I feel proud of them because I know how much of my own hard work went into the looks.. I create them all by hand. I also feel happy knowing that my art is on display for the world to see and that my message of love is radiating into the world. That’s why I don’t care about dressing celebrities. I care about dressing uniquely gifted people who carry a message or a profound talent, and everyone who has worn Wesley Berryman is just that. RS Tell us more about your new collection, in terms of expression what sensations or feelings are you willing to make people that wears Weslah feels? WB My new collection is a reflection of darkness. An allegory of good vs evil. Pent-up emotion and unrequited love. The struggle of fighting our own demons. The pain of obsession. In the darkness, we may feel lost or anxious, but in its reflection, we can see love and tenderness. The imagery I am creating is the regurgitation of my own psyche, and it is my own interpretation of what my generation is going through mentally and emotionally. FG What's next for Wesley? WB I want to distribute Wesley Berryman to the world. Whether that means a physical fashion product or a visual digital experience, I want people to experience Wesley Berryman as art and fashion in one. I want to bring the message of love to diverse communities in remote areas and just simply nurture my fellow humans. I want to create a safe world where one is free to live just as they are, with no labels or judgment. I want world peace. And I want to use fashion as a tool.