For musician, activist, fashion enthusiast and Des Moines community leader Billy “B. Well” Weathers, the word “elegance” goes beyond describing expensive gowns or opulent parties.
“I think figuring out that I don’t need to do anything to impress anybody else outside of myself [is elegance],” he said, “and the more that I can connect with my art, my music, my merchandise, or my apparel, my artistry as a person, the more it’s going to connect with everyone else.”
Weathers has collaborated with four other creatives on an apparel line aimed at capturing his approach to art, called Elegance.
“We have scarves and hats, there’s a garden toolkit, there’s a bunch of things that are kind of branded towards where I’m currently at,” Weathers said. Elegance will also produce pet accessories, letterman jackets, work shirts, shirts featuring album art, gardening gloves, hats, candles and more.
Weathers created Elegance for those who don’t join a crowd but create their own — “that appreciate fashion,” but don’t need a Gucci or Louis Vuitton label to look fly.
“I got homies that can thrift shop and look better than people that are pulling up into $1,000 suits,” he said.
Inspiration is drawn from an independent artist from San Francisco, Larry June. What Weathers takes from June is his ability to use his platform to harmonize both his music and clothing line, Midnight Organic.
“Just watching his career trajectory, and just watching him stay independent and homegrown and not really have to leave his hometown to still make an impact” was inspired, Weathers said.
He noticed June was able to form two identities that are essentially the same person. That ability allows the artist to have multiple sustainable incomes that work together. “People can find Midnight Organic and have no idea that Larry June’s attached to it,” he said.
Weathers has other sources of inspiration as well. “I would say my biggest motivation outside of my mother has been Pac,” he said, referring to the late rapper 2 Pac.
“I think having a message and a voice is important.”
Elegance was created with Weathers’ right-hand man, videographer and photographer Tobias Tyler, and his good friends Rylie Smith, Taylor Rodgers and Austin Neal.
Smith is a graphic designer with a degree in fashion and design from Iowa State University. Rodgers is a college friend and current DJ and manager for B. Well. Neal is a part of the B. Well Foundation, an organization created to provide mentorship and education to youth, and overall team player on the Elegance partnership.
Weathers hopes that every door he opens up on his life journey makes him into a better man. He says he’s “somebody that’s flawed that understands that the world that I live in is imperfect.”
“But I’m motivated,” he added. “I’m motivated by change, I’m motivated by creativity and motivated by just growth in general. I like colors, I like art. And some of that, hopefully, can bring people together.”
Elegance debuts on Friday, Sept. 30 at Hob Nob inside of Hotel Fort Des Moines with a kickback to give early access to the Elegance gear that will be made public at his show at Wooly’s the next day, Saturday, Oct. 1.
The event starts at 8 p.m. to midnight and is free to attend.