It is an overnight success story several years in the making. It’s the art of perseverance and an indomitable entrepreneurial spirit that fuels their rising star in Chicago’s burgeoning fashion scene.
Brandon Williamson founded Persévérer in Detroit a few years ago then relocated to Chicago where he opened an atelier. The PRSVR line started with with leather goods, primarily luggage and outerwear. The collection quickly grew to include shoes, clothing, and accessories, for men, women, and children. The PRSVR name is synonymous with Persévérer (french for persevere) and came for the need of something bold and easy to remember. It is also an acronym (Passion, Resilience, Sacrifice, Values, and Respect) which is their mantra and is in everything they do. I feel their message should also be do it right or not at all because everything I saw on the hanger and shelf was of the upmost quality.
Over time Persévérers style and message caught on and soon was seen worn by some of the hottest celebrities on both coasts.
All the pieces are designed for impact but tempered with a midwestern sensibility. Everything in the PRSVR line is made of rich materials, buttery leathers, heavy cottons, in bold colors and patterns. Even the tiniest details are seen to, flamingo pink silk linings that look and feel decadent, polished gold zipper pulls that elevate from utilitarian to elegant (something you wouldn’t normally say about zippers) It is a luxury line that looks and feels good in every detail.
Its eye-catching designs stand out without going avant-garde or too couture. Wearing PRSVR will definitely set you apart but without looking out of place. PRSVR is also at a price point far lower that its competitive brands. Granted it is a luxury brand so there is a premium but one that’s not out of reach.
…And now a few words with Margaret Williamson:
PRSVR started in Detroit. With New York being the default destination for most designers, what made you choose Chicago?
Both Brandon and I are from the Midwest, so Chicago feels like home for us. Of course it has posed some challenges for us, but we are committed to staying true to our roots. Our plan is to always have a flagship store in Chicago, even as we expand across the world.
The new flagship store on the 5th floor of 900 North Michigan Shops opens October 15th, how will it differ from the “Hours” storefront in Pilsen, and the “appointment only” Atelier?
The Atelier was our very first retail endeavor. We actually lived in the back. It was a perfect beginning for us, and proved that the brand was ready for its own space.
Hours by PRSVR is a concept store that is tagged as an Elevated Lifestyle Boutique. The space will house everything from clothing and footwear, to books, music, and toys…literally everything that fits an Elevated Lifestyle for men, women, and children.
The PRSVR Flagship store at 900N will showcase the brand in a way that communicates the Elevated aspect of the designs. Our goal is to create pieces that are stylish, yet functional…pieces that fit seamlessly into the busy lives of those who live and work in the city. It only makes sense that our store resides on the busiest shopping street in Chicago!
How was it like the first time you saw someone wearing your label ?
It’s always a thrilling experience to see someone in our pieces. It is such a sense of validation to know that someone else identified with your vision enough to spend his or her money on it. The first time it happened, there were definitely tears of joy!
Does your collection revolve around a central theme or do you design each piece unique unto itself ?
We create 4 major collections each year. Our unique identification system for the seasons is one that describes the essence more than the weather.
Winter is Hibernation: these collections always tend to be centered around darker colors and heavier fabrics for us. It’s a time of year where you want to be inside, and be well insulated when you’re outside. We use a lot of padded silhouettes, fur lining, and English wool.
Spring is Transformation: this collection is all about versatility and function. You’ll see a lot of multi-use items like removable sleeves and reversible prints. It’s a time for lighter fabrics and brighter colors.
Summer is Vacation: this is a fun collection for us. It’s full of quirky pieces that allow you to “blend out.” We’ve done our Neon Lux pieces in bright pink and lime green, our Tyson boxing shorts in quilted purple leather, our Faux Real boatneck top, to name a few.
Fall is Destination: this is always our standout season. It’s a time of year that still corresponds to new clothes and “back to school” shopping in our heads. The pieces are always meant to be transitional and easily layered.
Are there any designers who inspire you ?
Of course! There are so many talented designers these days, but I must say that our greatest inspiration come from the greats of our adolescence. Ralph Lauren and the way he has structured his brands is extremely inspiring. Our vision is to one day have several different brands under the Persévérer house.
Philanthropy is a part of your brands identity. You are active supporters of Breast Cancer Awareness Month; having partnered with Bright Pink by donating a portion of proceeds from the sale of the Camouflage Flamingo Pink Luxury Work Boot to fund Breast Cancer Research. How did this come about and are there other causes that are close to you ?
Giving back is a key pillar of our brand and our lives. We are constantly looking for opportunities to sow seeds in areas where help is needed. As far as our October initiative, it is something that started the year we launched with the “Real Flamingos Wear Pink” campaign. Our brand mascot is the flamingo, which is why the lining of our pieces carry the signature pink color. It was only natural that we carry that color onto the exterior of one special piece each year. To be able to do that, bring awareness to Breast Cancer, and partner with organizations like Bright Pink, Men Against Breast Cancer, and the Lynn Sage Foundation is something we are honored to do. My mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer when I was 15, and I didn’t know how to support her through that process. We like to partner with organizations that focus on all of those affected by this disease…the patient, the family, and their friends.
Leaving corporate life to pursue your dreams requires courage, skill, and of course perseverance. Do you have any advice to give to anyone just starting out?
Don’t do it! Ha! But, honestly, we say that only as a test. Becoming an entrepreneur is not a glamorous job. It entails working literally around the clock, sacrifice, and faith. And, it has a lot to do with timing. Make sure you have the support system in place to help you execute your vision. And then, just persevere because the pay off is well worth it!!
Celebrities from New York to LA have been seen wearing your line (via Instagram and other social media outlets) Where would you like to see your line next (Europe, Asia, etc.)? Any future plans?
We are very excited about our new flagship store here in Chicago. Once that is up and running, we will most likely open additional locations. The plan right now is to have one additional domestic store, and then move into other countries. We have been fortunate enough to have clients from all over the world via our online store. It would be great to bring PRSVR to their neighborhoods.
The new store soft launched October 15th with its official opening November 1st at the 900 Michigan Avenue Shops. They are located on the fifth floor by the entrance of Bloomingdales. You can also visit their store “Hours” at 18th and Halsted in the Pilsen neighborhood or check them out online at PRSVR and HOURS.
For original story: http://vodamagazine.net/2014/10/20/perseverer/