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People Are Talking About These DC Fashion Designers

Deontré Hancock and Darel Dawson are making news.

Deontré Hancock (left) and Darel Dawson. Photograph of Hancock by Kat and Mariel Tyler; Dawson by Nicholas Moreland.

Deontré Hancock

The news: Hancock, who grew up on Capitol Hill and has a clothing brand called Hoodlvm, showcased his style on the latest season of the Netflix design competition Next in Fashion. He made it to the final but didn’t win. “I rep my city to the fullest,” he says. “I’m hoping I made people here proud.”

Hancock’s fashion. Photograph by Spencer Pazer.

The backstory: His love of design started in middle school, and he taught himself how to make clothes from YouTube videos. After graduating from fashion school, he launched his brand in 2010.

The clothes: Until recently, Hancock mostly made custom items for individual customers, but now he’s working to expand his offerings, especially the puffer jackets that were his signature on the Netflix show. His look is a bit retro. “I’m a ’90s baby,” he says.


Darel Dawson

The news: The DC designer’s company, Grindstone Universal, recently had its first show at New York Fashion Week. It almost didn’t happen: The invitation came via email, and “I thought I was getting spammed,” Dawson says. But it worked out in the end, and his clothes proved to be well received.

Dawson’s fashion. Photograph by Ilya S. Savenok.

The backstory: Grindstone began as a T-shirt brand. “My first job out of college was so boring that I started to doodle,” he says. His artwork became the basis for the shirts he and his roommate began selling from home.

The clothes: Since those early days, Grindstone has expanded into outer­wear and other items. The clothes are fashionable but also down to earth. “I would hate to be bored with what I put out,” he says, “but we have to make sure the person wearing it is comfortable.”

This article appears in the May 2023 issue of Washingtonian.

Editorial Fellow

Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.