The Next Generation of Watters
Sydney Watters Dunbar is the fresh face behind the revamped image of the longtime Dallas-based bridal line.
Picking out Sydney Watters Dunbar in a crowd proves to be a simple task. While a precursory Instagram search reveals her identity, the outfit she wears to a bakery on a Wednesday afternoon immediately gives away that she is no stranger to the world of fashion. Dunbar dons a Burberry blazer, light-wash jeans, and white Balenciaga sneakers that are clean but lived in—predictably an homage to time she spends on her feet working. If Dunbar’s résumé didn’t prove her authority in the fashion industry, her sense of style would have begun the conversation.
Dunbar, 24, is the style director for Watters, the revered Dallas-based bridal brand. Her mother, Vatana Watters, started the company in 1982, but after Dunbar graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2017 with a degree in psychology, working for the family business wasn’t automatic. After encouragement from her mom, Dunbar jumped on board with the company she spent her childhood admiring.
“I would always spend my time after school at the office seeing what everyone was doing,” Dunbar says.
She initially came on in a marketing capacity, but a year ago she moved to the design department. Since then, Dunbar has overseen a complete rebrand. She’s helped produce a new logo, packaging, and website, along with reconsidering what each of the company’s three lines—Watters, Wtoo, and Willowby—represents.
“It was time to do a little refresh,” Dunbar says. Not the only brain behind the rebrand, she collaborated with other departments to understand feedback from stores and consumers.
Although it’s rare for someone of Dunbar’s age to hold a position of such magnitude, her placement was intentional. “We have a lot of diversity in our team, but I have a young perspective on what girls are wanting,” Dunbar says. “My friends are getting married right now … so it helps to actually be marrying age.”
Dunbar also attended New York Bridal Fashion Week, where Watters’ three lines were presented in one show. The experience reminded her why Watters keeps its headquarters in Dallas. “We get a unique perspective on bridal,” she says. “Most people are in L.A. or New York, and when we do go there for work, it’s a vortex. You are sucked into that area, and it’s hard to see other points of view.”
With NYBW done and the rebrand nearly behind her, Dunbar is looking toward the future. One thing is for sure: She wants to remain on the cutting edge of wedding brands.
“We’re always thinking, ‘What’s next?’ In 10 years there are definitely going to be new things, and we might look back and say, ‘What were we all thinking?’ That’s the most fun of it,” Dunbar says. “We’re always going to [move] forward.