On Style with Davita Galloway

Davita Galloway, owner of Dupp & Swat, in Dolce Vita heels and a dress by Blake Riley & Co.
Davita Galloway, owner of Dupp & Swat, in Dolce Vita heels and a dress by Blake Riley & Co.

Davita Galloway, 35, opened Dupp & Swat in NoDa with her brother Dion three years ago. He’s Dupp, she’s Swat – both nicknames bestowed by their father. The studio is an artistic hodgepodge: It’s a space for consigners to sell their wares, and an art gallery that rotates artists every three months. It’s a salon with a hairstylist and esthetician. It’s a play box used for workshops, photo and video shoots, networking and launch parties. Galloway is a wardrobe designer and costumer. A Winston-Salem native, she earned a B.S. in health fitness and an M.S. in public health from UNC Charlotte.

Q. Did your parents affect your style?

A. They are so black and white, and I’ve always been the rebel child because I live in color.

Q. What does style mean to you?

A. It’s a reflection of personality. It is definitely a personal experience. It can be loud and boisterous and it can be soft and subtle, but it makes a point.

Q. Are people surprised by your style choices?

A. I will wear anything and everything. People are surprised when I’m in solids or when I match.

Q. What’s a fashion mistake many make?

A. When things are ill fitting. But I’m all about doing you, so wear what you want.

Q. How does your sense of style help you professionally?

A. It draws people in and it definitely helps with costuming. But you have to draw the line, because you have to consider their personal style when you are designing for them. As far as the studio, they know they will find things they might not find elsewhere.

Q. How do you put together an outfit?

A. I do check the weather. Then I literally grab. I prefer dresses, and that’s it.

Q. What dress designers do you like?

A. Blake Riley and Co. I just love the pieces at Anthropologie, love the pieces at Urban Outfitters. I love the eccentricity of McQueen. I love Alexander Wang, Tracy Reese, Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs. I’m obsessed with all dresses. Long sleeve, short sleeve, backless, halters, give me dresses!

Q. Tell me about your shoes.

A. I prefer flats so I can shake and bake as I need to. I love platforms and a stacked heel. I shop everywhere: Forever 21, Shoe Trend of Charlotte, department stores, T.J. Maxx. That goes for clothes, too. I do try to support local boutiques.

Q. Do you favor certain colors?

A. As an artist I love all colors, but I find myself drawn to brighter hues: pinks, purples, blues, greens, yellows. Red, we’ve have a lifelong battle.

Q. Tell me two staples in your wardrobe.

A. A cape or cardigan, and leggings. If I’m not in a dress I’m in leggings.

Q. How about jeans?

A. I don’t wear jeans. They are too constricting. I need to move and breathe and be free.

Q. Tell me about your tattoos.

A. I got my first when I was 16. My father signed for me. It was the token rose, on my right ankle. From there, it has been an obsession. Some are sentimental, some are for fun. My grandmother passed so I have her phone number on me. Dupp & Swat is on me. Once I got one on my hand I knew I was taking a certain risk, and it would lead to me pursuing my passion relentlessly. It was all above living life, how I see it.

Q. What does your hair say about you?

A. Carefree, easy-going. I’ve had long hair, short hair, all colors. I’ve had locks, a big bush. I definitely have some photos I wish would mysteriously disappear. Now it is short and carefree, but the blonde gives me a certain edge.

Q. Who does your nails?

A. TaLaya B is my nail artist. She is incredibly talented. She’s an artist; she will hand paint her designs on your nails.

Q. Do you carry a purse?

A. I have a small, medium and a large that I’m carrying all the time. I’ve got my all-in-one everything Terrida that I got in New York. The other two I grabbed from Forever 21.

Q. What unusual items are in the big one?

A. I have scissors, a stapler, tape and an unfinished necklace that I’m working on.

Q. Do you have any particular fashion quirks?

A. If I am wearing heels I will wear them with socks.

Q. What’s your best bargain?

A. I was at Mega Thrift in Winston-Salem and I purchased three St. John dresses for $5 each. I got a purple one, a white one and a black one, and I got a St. John formal coat for $12. I got it appraised at $1,700.

Q. Biggest splurge?

A. When I worked at Anthropologie in New York, the discount was wonderful and I was surrounded by all this wonderfulness. I absolutely love Anthropologie; the smells, the displays.

Q. Who is your muse?

A. My grandmother. Everything about her, her style, her personality, her character, how much she loved life. She was always stylish, always on.

Q. If you could own any car it would be…

A. An old school 1967 drop top Chevy or Cadillac. Black and shiny with a white top, and a real clean black interior.

Q. What advice can you give to women?

A. Push forward. If there’s something that you want to do and God placed it in your heart to do, do it. There will be frustrations, but that’s all part of the process.