The Women Who Inspire Layton

March is Women’s History Month. A month dedicated to the study of some amazing women who have shaped American history and paved the way for the success so many women are able to achieve today. In honor of Women's History Month, I want to talk about the women in my life and how they helped me become the person I am...and why they're a major inspiration for launching Layton.

So much of my drive to start Layton comes from the brilliant and talented women I grew up with. Women for whom the pieces in my first collection are named. I feel strongly about paying it forward to the next woman—maybe a mama who needs a little encouragement, a little love, or maybe just a little something to make her smile. Lucky for me, I have been surrounded by awesome women my entire life and will never run out of names for my future collections. But, this first release really is about the four who’ve played a role in getting Layton off the ground and to whom I am forever grateful.

A photo of my grandma, Doris, taken after her high school graduation

A photo of my grandma, Doris, taken after her high school graduation

The Dottie blouse is named after my maternal grandmother, Doris, known lovingly as "Dot" by her close friends. She was a beautiful seamstress and made a lot of the clothing my mother and her four siblings wore. I’ve heard stories about her impeccable taste and how she could transform the same suit into something new just with accessories. My grandma was a very strong woman who overcame many obstacles in her life—all documented in the journals she kept religiously. She was brave, she was kind, she was creative, and she was a doer.

Ellie on one of her many world travels.

Ellie on one of her many world travels.

The Ellie dress is named for a dear family friend who is more like an aunt to me than a friend, and who my children adoringly call Grandma Ellie. Ellie has been part of our extended family since before I was born. She attended high school with my dad and even attended a few dances with him (they were dance partners—so cute). Lucky for the rest of us, they remained friends over the years. Ellie is a gorgeous seamstress and tailor and has made custom dresses for me over the years. She also was the first person who took my idea for Layton seriously and referred me to the woman who would make my first two samples. I think of Ellie as a history keeper. She has such an affinity for recalling memories and stories from the past and always wants to hear yours.

Kathy wining and dining (one of our favorite pastimes)

Kathy wining and dining (one of our favorite pastimes)

The Kitty dress is named for my mom’s best friend, Kathy, who is also more like an aunt to me (or maybe more like a second mom, as I've called her). My mom and Kathy have been friends for over 50 years and she has been a part of my life since I was born. (There's a story of her flying out from the Midwest to visit when I was first born only to spend the majority of her trip sitting on the kitchen floor with my mom drinking Guinness as they tried to calm a hysterical infant--sorry Kath!). Kathy, whose nickname is Kit, has been a strong resource for me over the years. She’s always offered guidance and advice, and is someone I’ve called on when I’ve struggled with a decision.

My mom and me visiting San Francisco circa 2015.

My mom and me visiting San Francisco circa 2015.

The Suki dress is named in honor of my mom, Susan, who always wanted a fun nickname—so I gave her one. My relationship with my mom is a very important one to me—one that involves multiple calls and texts a day (about some mundane things and some more serious). My mom has always been very supportive of me, no matter what crazy ideas I’ve come up with. She is an incredibly strong person who manages to keep things going even when life throws curve balls her way. She's also hilarious. She can find humor in almost anything, including the struggles of a new mom. She's been incredibly supportive of Layton and even helps with some of the day-to-day management of the business (thanks mom!).

I could go on about each of these women—one paragraph isn’t enough! This is just a glimpse into how each of my designs got her name. The Dottie, Ellie, Kitty and Suki all honor the women who’ve come before. Each of the Layton pieces carries a bit of history with it, and I am so honored to be able to pay that history forward. XO, Devon