STYLE NOTES

Sydney and Devon Lee Carlson Wear Whatever Makes Them Feel Good

The sisters and Wildflower co-founders wax poetic about fashion as a means for fun.


Sydney and Devon Lee Carlson photographed by Lauren Leekley

“It was a complete accident,” Devon Lee Carlson says of how Wildflower—the phone case brand she launched with her sister Sydney that has become synonymous with Gen-Z culture and “It” girls everywhere—came to be. The tale begins where most good ones do: in line for the bathroom. When the sisters were in high school, their mother began making colorful phone cases to sell to their friends and classmates—but it took a chance encounter with their childhood idol, Miley Cyrus, at a restaurant in Los Angeles for the family to conceptualize just how far Wildflower could go.

“[Miley] was like, you need to hop on this right now,” Sydney recalls the pop star telling their parents after they asked for a picture and the musician spied the sparkling DIY phone cases. Shortly after the impromptu meet, Cyrus tweeted out a photo of the cases—causing a flood of inquiries from prospective buyers who wanted Wildflower cases for themselves. So the family worked through the night to build a website—and ultimately, the brand. “We had no inventory, and we had no idea what we were doing, but now we had orders,” Sydney says. “It felt like a sign from the universe,” Devon adds. “We could either take advantage of it or pass, so we just said: fuck it, let’s try.”

Below Devon, 27, and Sydney, 24, reflect on 10 years of Wildflower, seeing their designs on Euphoria’s second season, and the importance of wearing what you want to wear.

There have been 29 iterations of the iPhone since you started your brand, Wildflower. How have your phone case designs evolved over the past 10 years?

Sydney: Looking back at the first cases we made, you could see where we were finding inspiration during that time in our lives. Growing up and maturing, the cases really changed with us and our personal style. But we’ve always stayed true to what we loved at the time and what inspired us then. And that inspiration comes from everywhere, honestly.

Devon: We also try to make cases for everyone. No matter what your style is, we want there to be a case for you. Sydney and I have a lot of the same clothes, but we style them completely differently. So with Wildflower, if there’s a case that Sydney designs, I’ll maybe tweak the colors. It’s a really collaborative effort between Sydney, our mom, and I; we don’t do anything without each other. Usually we’ll come up with a concept and my mom will either tone it down, change the colors, or do something in a way that makes it more digestible.

Most recently your cases have been seen on Euphoria. But not just your cases. Devon, you designed a collection with Marc Jacobs, and your dress became Maddy’s birthday outfit in episode four. Can you tell me about the process of designing and how it came to be on screen?

Devon: The whole process working with Marc Jacobs still feels like a pinch-me moment. For a lot of the designs, I would make things and show my friends to get their opinions. When I was heavy in the design process and had the final mockups, Alexa [Demie] was someone I showed them to. She instantly was like “I need it. And I need it to be Maddy’s birthday dress.” She just immediately saw the vision. So she had a sample of the final dress, and before I had even put it on, it was being messengered over to set for her to wear.

You both have impeccable style, but it’s also quite different. Can you describe each other’s fashion sense in three words?

Devon: Sydney’s is fun, fierce—and I’m torn between saying hot or fabulous. I think it might be more hot than fabulous. Maybe glamorous? Yeah, a little glamorous.

Sydney: Glamorous yeah, that’s a good one. I agree with that. I would say Devon’s is easygoing, elevated, and you’re a little glamorous too, but in your own way.

Devon: I would also say I’m flirty!

Even though your styles are different, do you still borrow each other’s clothes?

Devon: I think the only screaming fights Sydney and I have ever gotten in are over clothes.

Sydney: Yeah, and then an hour later we’re like hey, what are you up to?

What was the last item each of you purchased?

Devon: I’ve been on a heavy eBay spiral.

Sydney: Devon loves to shop like that. I will never bid on anything ever—I can’t. I’m still trying to furnish my house so I bought two pink chairs for my room this morning, and I’m very excited!

What was the first major fashion purchase you made?

Devon: The first designer thing I ever owned was from my friend in middle school. She gave me a tiny pouch that you put in your purse to hold Chapstick. It was leopard print from Marc by Marc Jacobs. I held onto that thing for as long as I could until it literally fell apart.

Sydney: I remember my first designer bag was Saint Laurent. I wanted it so bad. Oh my god, I bawled my eyes out Christmas morning. I took it with me everywhere. I still have it. I’m saving it forever.

Devon: I remember that. I was so jealous.

Sydney: I really cried!

Devon: I was obsessed with Rebecca Minkoff in high school, too. That crossbody bag with the zippers? It did not leave my side.

Who is your style icon?

Devon: Oh, so many. Rihanna, Liv Tyler, RuPaul.

Sydney: I’ve been on Pinterest almost everyday. I made a board called “outfit inspo” where I save photos from old runway shows.

What is the best bit of fashion advice you've ever received?

Devon: If it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t own it. You should be able to pull out anything in your closet and put it on and feel good. I have this tight little ‘90s vintage Guess vest, and it makes me feel so good and hot and confident every time I put it on. If I ever don’t feel good, I put it on and I feel great. That’s how every piece should be in your closet.

What is one fashion trend that everyone loves that you can’t get behind?

Sydney: In the past Devon and I always were like, “What in the world are sneaker wedges?”

Devon: But even when it came to sneaker wedges, I love a challenge. Even if I hate something, I’ll try to make it cute. I won’t say no to anything. Unless someone’s doing something that feels not authentic to them or their individual style, I’m pretty much down for anything. I love when people experiment. No judgment here.

What is your favorite place to shop when you’re in New York?

Devon: I used to go to Opening Ceremony religiously in New York, and I miss it so much. I was always finding cool, new designers there and I really miss having a place like that to shop. Now when I’m there, I’ll stop into 10 ft Single by Stella Dallas and James Veloria.

Sydney: I just like going along for the ride. I’m not a big IRL shopper, I like online shopping. But I love going along with Devon because it’s something I know she loves to do.

Devon: It’s because she has a time limit on how much she can shop. She’ll just be texting me from across the store like “Can we go? Can we go?”

Sydney: Yeah, sometimes I have to be rescued.