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Dell Scott: Runway Ready

Dell Scott

Dell Scott designs glamorous fashions that have graced runways in New York, Paris, and Dubai. But her most important design is the plan for her life, an intricate tapestry that weaves her international formal wear and accessories brand with writing motivational books, working in her family’s accounting business, and her role as a wife and mother.

“Nothing about my journey has been cookie-cutter,” she says.

Scott fell in love with fashion as a young girl, devoting hours to styling outfits for paper dolls. “Every week, my mom took me to the store to see the latest Barbie fashions that were out,” she recalls.

After high school, her parents urged her to go to college. Scott opted to take a gap year as a junior accountant in her father’s firm in New Castle. One year turned into a decade. When she enrolled at Wilmington University, she was 28, married, and had a toddler.

“When I did go back to school, I was laser-focused, dean’s list every semester,” she says.

Scott was a full-time student in the College of Business while continuing to work full-time in accounting. She took core courses in face-to-face classes and electives in an online setting. Instructors allowed her to adjust her schedule at tax time, Scott’s busiest season at work. “That flexibility made it possible for me to be there for my family, keep working, and finish my degree,” she says.

During her senior year, Scott became pregnant with her second child, born a few months before her final exams. He’s now 19.

“The faculty gave me their full support, allowing me to reschedule my finals so I could graduate on time,” she says. “Going to a school where the instructors and administration truly understand what is happening in the lives of their students made all the difference.”

Angela Blue, a fashion brand consultant and designer chair for Philadelphia Fashion Week, says Scott’s business acumen gives her an advantage in a competitive field.  

“Most designers are creative but aren’t business savvy, which makes their journey so much harder. It’s great to be creative, but you also have to understand the bottom line,” she says.

Blue says Scott is a role model for young entrepreneurs. She’s a strong, confident designer who knows what she wants to achieve for her business yet remains open to seeking and taking advice.

“She is well packaged, creating a full brand with a team that is flawless,” Blue says. “Dell has grown so much, achieving international recognition in only a few years, and each collection only gets more beautiful.”

Scott’s garments are known for precise construction, fluid lines, and impeccable embellishment. Her look is feminine and sophisticated, characterized by metallics, mesh, and pearls, and includes show stoppers such as full-length evening gowns, two-piece sets, and structured mini dresses. She’s built a network of local seamstresses and manufacturers in Dubai to produce her work.

“The quality of her work is fierce and fabulous, with a consistent level of excellence.”

Martha Morgan

Martha Morgan, owner of the iconic Morgan’s boutique in Wilmington, recognized Scott’s talent on the runway of First State Fashion Week in 2017. She offers Scott’s Diva Couture line of accessories and made-to-order garments in her store. She says the designer’s maturity and commitment to her craft shine through in her collections.

“The quality of her work is fierce and fabulous, with a consistent level of excellence,” Morgan says. “From a spiritual standpoint, Dell thinks of her work as a blessing to others. That’s important in the fashion world, where so many people are consumed with self-promotion.”

Through her writing, Scott encourages women to embrace their dreams. Her latest book, “She Designed A Life She Loved,” was released in November 2023. “It’s about movement. If you take one step, God will jump you five steps,” she says.

She showed her first collection at New York Fashion Week in 2018, and presented in Los Angeles in 2019. Her career took a downturn in the pandemic, when formalwear went into mothballs as events were canceled. 

“In 2020, COVID came, and I was dead in the water. By 2021, I didn’t know if I even wanted to do fashion anymore. I could not get motivated,” she recalls.

The opportunity to develop a global presence reignited her fire. In 2023, Scott presented in Dubai and Paris. Her Emerge Collection debuted at New York Fashion Week earlier that year. Debbie Dickinson, a supermodel in the 1970s, led the show in a black satin petal gown with pearl trim and a plunging neckline.

Debbie Dickinson led Scott’s New York Fashion Week show in a black satin petal gown with pearl trim.

Scott had admired Dickinson since her youth, when she spent hours paging through fashion magazines picturing Dickinson, Carol ALt, Beverly Johnson, Cheryl Tiegs, and other luminaries of the runway. Scott invited Dickinson to lead her show after hearing that the model is pursuing an acting career and looking for opportunities to enhance her profile. 

“Never negate the power of networking. You never know who will become an integral part of your journey. You could be sitting next to someone who has the key to unlock the door that you need opened,” she says.

The designer is also savvy about promoting her brand, establishing a Dell Scott Club on Facebook whose followers receive daily updates and notifications, says Sarah Rodowicz, acting regional director for Fashion Group International (FGI) Philadelphia. Scott is an FGI board member.

Recently, Rodowicz, Scott, other FGI members, and their families met at Winterthur Museum to see an exhibit on Ann Lowe, the sublimely gifted yet often unsung African-American designer whose works include Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress and the elaborately embellished gown Olivia de Havilland wore to accept her first Academy Award. Many attendees were struck that Lowe’s business struggled financially despite her talent and hard work. 

Rodowicz says Scott sets an example for other designers in successfully balancing art and business.

“Dell is great at running a financially sound enterprise while nurturing her creativity,” she says. “She takes care of herself yet prioritizes kindness to others.”

— Eileen Smith Dallabrida

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