Meet the Chicago-based YouTuber, Instagram influencer, stylist, and bass player Devyn Crimson. We caught up with Devyn for a chat about the vintage fashion scene, music, her YouTube channel and much more.
Iuliana: Hey Devyn! How are you? Thank you for your time today! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Devyn: Hello & thank you for having me! Well, I am a Chicago based artist– originally from a tiny town in NW Wisconsin. I work as a stylist from my home, styling people all over the globe, and I am also the bassist in The Knee-Hi’s which is an all girl rock band I formed with some of my local friends. I am extremely inspired by the mid to late 60s and early 70s rock n roll in my style & music. I also have a Youtube channel where I share what’s happening in my world & also my style with some tips for people who enjoy the same kinda threads. I am a Sagittarius sun, Capricorn moon, and Libra rising!
Iuliana: You have such a unique signature look. You are most definitely a vintage crusader and you often integrate vintage into your own personal wardrobe. Where did your love for vintage begin and where do you see its place in the fashion spectrum?
Devyn: Why thank you! Vintage style definitely has a huge impact on my looks. My true love started with 60s style when I began listening to the Beatles, The Zombies, and other British Invasion groups at 15 years old. Although I did have a major appreciation for 1950’s fashion prior to that, my style wasn’t a reflection of it. It’s now been 8 years that I have been collecting vintage and tweaking my style to get to what I have today which I feel is an eclectic mix of late 60s grungy rock, early 70s glam, with enchanting folk touches. I really change some day to day, but if I had to kind of describe it that would be how. I really just gravitate toward whatever I find interesting.
Iuliana: What are the absolute favorite vintage pieces you have sitting in your closet right now?
Devyn: Oh I love this question, although it is a hard one to answer! I just got these 1970s boots that are a beautiful chocolate suede with little tan suede hearts going up the side that I am glued to at the moment. I have two pieces that I think will be super fun on a night out as soon as the world becomes safe again (oh, 2020)! The first piece I actually got last fall and I was hoping to get to bring out this summer, but c’est la vie! It is a really gorgeous 1960s two piece set made for a go-go dancer! The set includes a pair of tiny hot pants and a vest– both drenched in a deep burnt orange fringe that shimmies along with your every movement! I found that at an antique mall near the Wisconsin/ Illinois border! Total score. The other was an ebay find which is a micro mini silver lurex dress. This item has a classic dagger collar and rectangle buckle belt in the same fabric as the dress which is meant to be worn down on the hips. Super Space Age look and the perfect material to catch the night lights! Lastly, I have to include my trusty vintage purse which was a gift from a friend. No matter what I always go back to this one purse from the 60s. It’s a tooled leather with a metal clasp, and actually has the singer of Heart, Ann Wilson’s signature inside from when I was given a ticket to see her concert by a friend who had bought one but couldn’t attend.
Iuliana: Was becoming a fashion stylist always a dream of yours? Why do you think your job holds such appeal and is it as glamorous as it appears?
Devyn: I have always been very interested in fashion and, luckily, had parents who really just kind of let me do my thing in that aspect. Before I really knew what a stylist was I always said I wanted to be a designer. I actually drew up clothes, wrote a letter, and mailed it into my favorite store when I was probably about 9 years old and they were sweet enough to respond to my letter! As I grew older and learned more about different positions in the fashion industry, and more about myself I realized that what I really love about fashion is getting to create a mood or character, or tell a story, and I am able to do that working as a stylist. I think it maybe seems glamorous to some people just because that can be the illusion that social media creates, just in general. We normally post fun things we are doing, when we look nice, and people don’t get to see all the hard work that goes on behind it. They don’t see the hours of research, late nights, financial battle– especially when you work for yourself because you do all the financing, customer service, marketing, etc. It’s work but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Iuliana: Some people can be ‘scared’ of wearing vintage. Can you offer any tips on how to wear vintage today?
Devyn: If you are starting out and are maybe a little weary of throwing on that flower power mini or whatever it may be, maybe start by adding one vintage/vintage inspired piece with other modern items you already have. For example, maybe you really want to rock those printed bellbottoms, opt for a more modern or contemporary styled top or even just a band tee. Flared pants and a band tee is a classic style that goes back to the 60s but is still super popular today, so most people wouldn’t think twice about it but you’ll still have a retro flare! Also, accessories are your best friend! Adding a vintage handbag, scarf, sunglasses, belt, or jewelry is an easy way to bring some vintage style to your look! Plus, if you have a nice basic accessory it can become your staple piece and you can wear it every day! I love having items that are just a part of my being for a portion of my life. I can look back and be like, “Oh yes, my (whatever necklace/purse/shoe) phase!”
Iuliana: How do you feel about vintage being a source of sustainable fashion?
Devyn: I love it! I think it’s so important to be making use of what we already have here, especially in an industry which can be extremely wasteful. Still 84% of clothes end up in landfills, so just secondhand in general is very important if possible. I think the most important thing is to be educated and make mindful decisions. I know not everyone can shop for vintage, and secondhand can even be hard too depending on who/where you are. Just being careful about buying things you love and will love & also trying to find good homes for them when you’re finished; whether that be passing down to a family member, friend, donating, or even reselling at a garage sale, online, or however!
Iuliana: You also have a YouTube channel. How did you first get into making YouTube videos? Do you feel like there’s a sense of connection with the online vintage community since you first started?
Devyn: I do! I first started YouTube when I was 19, I believe. My then boyfriend, now fiancé, had a channel already which he uses for his music and he was very encouraging of me, as well as some people on Instagram, which is where I started out on social media. Personally, I have made a lot of friends through social media! When I first started, I found a few people’s accounts and we pretty much have been friends for years now. Some folks in my city and some in different cities. We all enjoy traveling and kind of pop in to say ‘hi’ every now and again which is always a delight. It’s so cool to think how I have known some of them for like 7 years now. I mentioned at the beginning, that I am originally from a very small town. When I say small I mean less than 300 people! So, there weren’t many people who shared my interests. The friends that I made early on, even though they were just online friends then, were really comforting to have and know that I wasn’t alone in my interests.
Iuliana: I saw that you’re part of a band too, called the “Knee-Hi’s”, where you play the bass. Tell us about the origin of the band. How would you describe your music? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues lately?
Devyn: Yes! My babes! So the band actually is like 9 months old. We came together last December. It started out with my friend, Alice, and I. I had picked up the bass last summer and was trying to do somethin’. I was talking to Alice and we were discussing how we both really wanted to be in a girl band. I mentioned that I was learning bass and she was saying how she was playing around with her guitar. There & then we decided that we should get together and jam. We both picked a few songs and started meeting up every week until we decided it was time to look for a drummer. I posted on my Instagram story asking if anyone knew a female drummer in the Chicago area. Our friend, Chris replied saying how she would be down to pick her sticks back up & that her sister (also our friend), Ash, was working on some guitar too. We planned a time to meet and started practicing weekly from then. Our music has a nostalgic sound with garage, doo-wap, punk influence. Mostly just rock n roll is the goal! Since we are pretty fresh, there wasn’t a huge opportunity to play many shows before quarantine, but we really did hop into playing live right off the bat, luckily, so we have a few under our feet. I will never forget our first time playing in front of people. We were at a local favorite spot of mine and a friend had asked if we wanted to hop up and play one that night. Two practices into being a group– we said, “of course!”. Little did we know, there wasn’t a drum kit and the dimly lit dive bar was packed from front to back, side to side. We shuffled around the mobs following each other in a train up to the bar, took our now ritualistic pre-show shots, and popped outside to practice with Chris (our beat) improvising on the tambourine. Our friend from Texas, who is a true songbird, was visiting and hopped onstage harmonizing “Gloria” with us. The night was unexpected and spontaneous, kept us on our toes, and all at my favorite little southside spot. My other favorite was our last show before quarantine which was at Livewire Lounge. We got to play with some amazing local bands like Los Black Dogs, Dead Feathers, and The Count.
Iuliana: Do you feel like you had to give up any aspect of your life to become so successful and get where you are today?
Devyn: I really don’t think so. I’m not sure if I think of myself as ‘successful’ either! I just am doing what I love and the fact that other people seem to love it too is beyond thrilling. Maybe some people would say the way I live lacks some security but it doesn’t bother me any.
Iuliana: Do you have any upcoming projects or announcements you wish to share?
Devyn: While I do have extremely exciting things in the works, I can’t talk too much on it yet. The Knee-Hi’s did just release our debut single “Darlin’ Darlin'” which is available on YouTube now, and in a few days Spotify and iTunes too! You can keep up with us @thekneehis on Instagram!
Thank you so much for having me xoxo
Follow Devyn on Instagram here.