Dallas is home to countless creatives across all mediums, but one designer is making strides and building a name for herself in the fashion industry in Dallas and beyond through her brand, Haute Societe. London Burton is more than just an up-and-coming fashion designer — she is a sister soldier.
As I arrived at Kauwuane Burton Studios where Butron and her husband both create , I was stunned at every detail of the building. The moment London opened the door to the threshold I found myself entranced in the midst of art. To say Burton is beautiful is an understatement; As she led me inside, I could hear Wu-Tang Clan playing accompanied by the photographic work of her husband and business partner Kauwuane. London's office was filled with blooming origami flowers. The decor has a Billie Holiday, Lena Horne feel; there’s a large work desk but also a Singer sewing machine on a small table on the adjacent wall, surrounded by bible scriptures. As I began to speak with Burton, I realized just how important God, family, army life and Wu-Tang were in her life.
Burton was born in Newport, Arkansas, and at the age of four moved to Texas. Burton fell in love with fashion at a very young age despite being a tomboy. At age 11, she began to draw stick figures with U-shaped blank faces and drew clothing she imagined her models would wear. "My mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all strong black women, I remember watching my grandmother get up 4 or 5 in the morning to cook breakfast and get the day started for us all, I did not learn until recently that both my grandmother and her mother were seamstress and made clothing themselves."
Although Burton had a passion for fashion as a young woman, the designing stopped when she picked up enlistment papers for the United States Army at age 17. It wasn’t a hard choice for Burton to join, having grown up with a step-father in the Army special forces and on and near military bases most of her life. Home for Burton became the area near Dies Air Force base in Abilene, Texas."Getting my mother to sign those papers, this gave me permission to join under the age of 18 truly an act of God." London chuckled. "The reason I joined so quickly was because growing up in Abilene I saw so many young women, teenagers my age pregnant before graduation. I didn't see enough Black women yielding to anything I aspired to become; the doctors, lawyers, business women just weren't there, so I saw joining the army was a way to escape."
Fashion wasn’t a major focus for London during her years in the U.S. Army; however, after finishing her years of service in 2004, she continued to stay busy with other artistic projects in the music industry as a creative director, songwriter and producer. Shortly after meeting her husband, photographer Kauwuane Burton, at a video promotion shoot, they began to work together on various projects and the rest is history. As a married couple they work together to produce, create and operate three businesses in the Dallas area.
"I am very proud of my husband and I, as a young African American couple we own three thriving businesses, and less than a year after we opened this brand new studio, (Kauwuane Burton Studios) launched my fashion line Haute Societe November of 2017."
Haute Societe which means "High Society" in French is a high fashion company that produces clothing geared towards the working woman,made from the best materials. Along with quality wares, every client receives a personalized package, wrapped and decorated in lovely hand pick papers and shipping containers. Haute Societe clothing is for any woman who dares to break the class ceiling.
Burton has already released three collections since November of 2017; every piece is authentic and limited edition. The latest collection, "In the Trenches," celebrates military uniform. The colors are rich, vibrant, and nostalgic of war eras past. Supermodel and executive producer of "America's Next Top Model," Tyra Banks recently wore the Red Dawn pantsuit from the "In the Trenches" collection at an event in Dallas. Burton has designed for and collaborated with many celebrities since her brand launched and continues to gain momentum in the fashion world.
So now you might be wondering when does the Wu-Tang clan music come in, "Triumph" was a single released by Wu-Tang Clan, from their 1997 album Wu-Tang Forever. During this time period London was in South Korea, and the song became motivation for her life thereafter.
"When I did a fashion show here at our studio for my "In the Trenches" collection I played this song,” she explained. “Triumph means so much to me it is in a sense a soundtrack to the trials and tribulations of following my goals, to create this line. Throughout it all, I never gave up, I kept God at the center of my business plans, I did not make any decisions without prayer and guidance from God and my family."
As Burton continues to shine and grow in her career, she encourages other to do the same and to stay true to their own vision along the way.
"My advice for future fashion designers, future business, future artists, is never give up," she exclaimed. “Allow yourself time to be human. Do not create goals in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses — they don't exist. Do you; stick to what you love. Do not make the mistake of trying to change your business to do what you see others are successful with. Follow your heart and work hard. Pace yourself because more than likely you will not become an overnight sensation. Start small and study the market you plan to invest not just your money but your life with."
Haute Societe by London Burton currently has garments available from her "In the Trenches" collection. For more information check out her website at wearhs.com or her lnstagram thelondonxperience_ for more updates.
Donny is an aspiring political scientist that writes with zest and a love for life and all things creative. A Texas transplant by way of Kansas, she writes content with Midwestern flavor and a southern twist. She loves to learn, loves her kids, loves tacos, and all things spiked with a good top shelf spirit.