Released in January 2015, Sweats by Stew was founded by Chicago native Brittany Stewart (daughter of one of Chicago’s Fashion Pioneers, Diego Ross), which was sparked by her love of fashion infused with a lack of finding clothes that fit her personal style.
So with all of her knowledge of the industry plus the years of experience as a Merchandiser then landing an internship with Ralph Lauren Co., and meeting the living legend himself, Mr. Ralph Lauren – Stew, (as she’s affectionately called by friends and family), knew it was time to branch out and take on the road from employee to entrepreneur.
Super excited that RowASeat1 caught up with Stew while she was between orders, business calls and running errands in the city of Houston… Check out the exclusive interview and be sure to support Sweats by Stew!!!
RowASeat1: When did you fall in love with fashion?
Sweats by Stew: I fell in love with fashion at a very young age between 10 or 11 years old. My father plays a major roll in why I love the fashion industry so much. I was the little girl traveling with my father to meetings, watching him conduct meetings over the phone and seeing tons of look books all over the table.
RowASeat1: What was the moment that made you decide to become a designer?
Sweats by Stew: Honestly, my personal style and what I like has been challenging to find in Womenswear. Which is why I do majority of my shopping in the Men’s department because of the lack of variety in Womenswear. So, I dedicate my talent and design for women who dress like the ‘Teyana Taylor’s’ of the world. Don’t get me wrong I can be a girly girl, but it’s not my style.
Sweats by Stew: Sweats by Stew specializes in custom sweats. As of now I’m not mass producing and I want to maintain exclusivity. I want it to be very personable, on the lines of ‘couture sweats.’
I understand that I’m in a ‘learn as I go’ phase, but I’m growing quickly. I’m really excited about my spring release this Easter with a few linen pieces, more color ways, windbreakers, tees and more.
RowASeat1: When was your ‘turning point’ from employee to entrepreneur?
Sweats by Stew: I come from a history of working as a Merchandiser for Forever21, TopShop and a few other retailers; and I wasn’t making enough money. My thoughts were: ‘why work for someone else keeping them rich when I can be my own boss.’ I’ve always been a stylish person and I didn’t want to be put in a box; and I definitely didn’t want to seem regretful about anything in life.
RowASeat1: So, tell me how was it meeting the living legend, Mr. Ralph Lauren?
Sweats by Stew: One word explains that entire experience… Amazing! Meeting him (for me) was better than one day meeting Oprah. He spoke to all the interns and we got the opportunity to ask him questions. I love how he shared words of wisdom and moments of him being indecisive as a designer. He also shared how he’s very hands-on with the company from the store visits to every collection.
He made me feel like everyone has a shot at being whatever you put your mind to. Ralph Lauren was very laid back, welcoming and he loves peanut M&Ms, but the colors must be separate (Laughs).
RowASeat1: Name your favorite designers.
Sweats by Stew: Most definitely I’m rocking with MCM – I love how they’ve reinvented themselves to a younger market. Ralph Lauren because he’s a pioneer and of course CoCo Chanel, she’s timeless!
RowASeat1: Who are your style icons?
Sweats by Stew: I’m going to choose Angela Simmons, Teyana Taylor and Kris Jenner – all different styles, but they own their style.
RowASeat1: What’s on your wish list?
Sweats by Stew: My wish list definitely consists of opening a store for my company in the future. I would love to move to LA and land a contract at a major retail store.