Scott Devon’s aspirations are taking him far beyond the frozen food aisles and into luxury fashion and retail.
Devon, chairman of Cole’s Quality Foods, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company his father, Wes Devon, built into a multimillion-dollar business, is opening a 10,000-square-foot DevonWorks store on Friday in Beverly Hills, which will showcase his new luxury lifestyle brand driven by edgy, mostly silver and black creations.
DevonWorks’ women’s ready-to-wear is $2,500 to $10,000, while men’s and women’s denim and leather jackets are from $240 to $5,000. Demi-couture under the label Devon runs up to $60,000.
“Fortunately, I was able to be successful in the food business, but I always had a dream of doing something creative,” said Devon, who once had the goal of making great American sports cars until his bid to take over Viper was thwarted by Chrysler. “I paid my dues in another industry to get to do this….People that know me really well know that I have that artistic talent. It was just a matter of timing.”
The Beverly Hills store is intended to be the seedling for a retail network that Devon expects to grow to 10 stores over the next 10 years, with New York slated as the second retail destination. The shop, designed by Peter Arnell, has an industrial sensibility, with 17-foot-high exposed ceilings, concrete floors and a glass exterior, but its design center
“In this market, you can’t be quiet,” said Arnell. He added that the store is put together in the spirit of a flea market where “you stumble on things, and everything is twisted and turned to enable a high level of curiosity, which is reflective of his [Devon’s] personality.”
Devon said he hopes the flagship can be profitable this year, but he noted DevonWorks’ revenues would depend heavily on wholesale. The brand has started showing its denim to retailers, although the women’s rtw won’t be available for wholesale for about a year. Devon has brought on board Amy Hochfelder, who has worked with Peter Som, Rachel Roy and J.Mendel, to develop DevonWorks’ wholesale operations as vice president of wholesale sales.
Devon serves as creative director for DevonWorks. He hired Keith Lissner, who was a designer at Polo Ralph Lauren and launched a namesake brand in 2006 before closing it this year, as design director to execute his vision for a demi-couture division called Devon. Agatha Blois, whose custom leather pieces have been worn by Billy Idol, Sheryl Crow and Slash, designed the denim and leather jackets with DevonWorks. Michael Stuart, who has been tapped by the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang and Donna Karan, was responsible for vintage crystals and beading on select pieces.
The recession hasn’t kept Devon from launching a luxury brand. “It is so avant-garde, we obviously have to price it accordingly,” he said. “There is no compromise on fabric and design. These things cost what they cost.…There is a value to what we are creating that people will recognize.”