Zendaya on Launching Her Own Fashion Line and Building a Fashion Empire

by Sydney Sadick

At just 20 years old, Zendaya has locked down an acting and singing career, a shoe line, and she isn’t slowing down. In collaboration with her stylist Law Roach, Zendaya launched her first namesake fashion line—Daya by Zendaya—and a lifestyle app that gives fans a look into her day-to-day life, featuring both free and paid subscriber content. The collection centers on her streetwear style with a range of velvet jumpsuits, bomber jackets, lace tops, mini dresses, a luxe faux pink fur coat, and more. We met up with the newly minted designer at her NYC pop-up (there are locations in Chicago and Los Angeles, too) that’s open through the weekend. She gives us the scoop.

What inspired you to launch a clothing line that’s direct-to-consumer?
Most people I know order online—it’s my mom’s favorite thing to do—so I feel like it’s the new wave. And it’s easier! But seeing this [pop-up], I’m like, I need a store! The pop-up shops we’re doing look so dope.

When did you realize you wanted to launch your own clothing line?
I’ve thought about it since I was a little girl. I did the shoes first to see the process, and this was a step up. The different levels of who I am are in the clothes: the glam, the tone-downed, the rough, the tough…it’s everything.

Why was it important to you to have pieces with extended sizing that embrace all body types?
It was a no-brainer, and it was actually a deal-breaker. I can’t just talk the talk about inclusivity, loving people, and breaking barriers and not do it when it comes down to my own stuff. I want people to have quality pieces that are realistic, and the sizing was important because I want my mom and sister to be able to wear my clothes. There are too many different shapes and sizes in my family; I want everyone to feel included.

How do you see your brand expanding?
When I think of the brand I’d like to have in the future, it’s like Oprah’s. She’s able to do everything and keeps it so positive. When Oprah says something, it’s trusted. It feels good to you. If Oprah says, This is the best latte, it’s the best latte, because Oprah said it! It’s a trusted brand, but there’s also a level of empowerment, love, and goodness. Everyone feels like they’re related to her!

Have you met her?
I did! I almost cried. I was going to cry but I didn’t because she grabbed me as I was going to—and she knew I was going to because she’s Oprah!

Who in the fashion industry has given you the best design advice?
I talked to Domenico Dolce when I went to Capri. One thing he told me was that what you do is for the people. It’s about them, not you. That’s the driving force, and I think that’s the truth—you give up a part of your life, in a lot of ways, when you’re in the public eye. My gifts and talents don’t belong to me anymore. They’re meant to be shared with other people and make them feel better.

Daya by Zendaya is popping up in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles this weekend.
NYC: 350 West Broadway New York NY 10013, Saturday & Sunday 10AM-8PM
Chicago: 108 North State Street Chicago, IL 60602, Saturday & Sunday 10AM-8PM
Los Angeles: 441 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA, Saturday, 12PM-10PM, Sunday, 10AM-8PM

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