Designer Patricia DeLaunay is building her namesake brand on a foundation of love, passion and determination: Love for fashion’s heritage traditions of beauty and craftsmanship; a passion to dress and empower modern-day eco-heroines; and a to-the-core determination to use her talents for the protection of people, animals and planet.
Born in Germany during one of her family’s U.S. Army tours, Patricia was raised in Europe until the age of seven, and then in her father’s hometown of Brownsville, Texas. Her childhood memories are of lush German forests, vast Texas wilderness, and the sustainable example set by “the Greatest Generation” members of her family: The DeLaunays lived through Depression and two World Wars, and taught her to be resourceful, never wasteful, and respectful of nature and animals. They combined their “make due and mend” spirit with a dash of the Parisian style inherited from their French grand-père and the rustic, romantic flair of their Mexican abuela.
Patricia began sketching at a very young age, inspired at first by her pop culture heroines Wonder Woman, Princess Leia and Red Sonja. It wasn’t until her 11th birthday that she became aware of “Fashion” thanks to a life-changing gift, the book “Dior in Vogue” given to her by her big brother. That day, her sketches became a blend of Paris couture, sci-fi chic and Red Sonja armor. And her career path was set.
She attended Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, where she trained under the legendary Rosemary Brantley as well as mentors Isabel & Ruben Toledo, Henry Duarte and Trina Turk. It was during her studies at Otis that Patricia became more fully aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry---and her own responsibility within that supply chain. During her senior year, she began preparing for a sustainable design career by pursuing a course of independent study focused on organic textile developments.
After graduating in 2004 with Highest Honors and the prestigious Rosalind Gilbert design award, Patricia began her career as an assistant designer at St. John, a luxury knitwear house, where two of her signature design styles---strong-yet-feminine tailoring, and smashing “little black knit dresses”---enjoyed immediate success in stores. In 2009, she moved on to design the Robert Rodriguez Black Label evening collection; the Audrey Talbott sportswear collection; Three Dots’ casual luxe line; and various freelance projects for day, evening and bridal ready-to-wear.
As her career advanced, Patricia was stunned by the amount of garment waste being incinerated or dumped in landfills and the pollution of waterways through toxic textile dye/finish runoff. A lifelong lover of animals, she was horrified to learn the details of their suffering for the sake of fashion.
When she was unexpectedly laid off in 2016, and increasingly alarmed by the progress of climate change, Patricia knew it was time to put her talents and experience to work for a sustainable design future. Combining her industry knowledge with her passion for responsible, cruelty-free fashion, she launched her own collection, debuting with Autumn/Winter 2018. Honoring her family’s heritage and their sustainable values, she has named her fashion house “DeLaunay.”