Studio design duo Dash and Jo speak on textiles and conscious design with their brand, Dashiel Brahmann.
October 10, 2017
"We set our goals and perfect the fit and quality even if it’s less styles in a collection, so that we are proud of what we make and produce. We try to make things that we would want to wear and would want to keep forever as a wearer."
Favorite Song To Listen To While Working: Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast - Pink Floyd. An elegantly composed three part piece that aims to both marry and examine our daily routine through the expression of music.
Current Favorite Book: The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test - Tom Wolfe / Joan Didion - Slouching towards Bethlehem.
Favorite Place For Inspiration: The Ocean
Dashiel Brahmann is a new emerging brand hitting the mark for the quintessential laid back and simple aesthetic. Coupling good design with sustainable principles, the duo Dashiel and Jo, create timeless pieces that are incredibly well crafted and beautifully artistic. We met with Dashiel in their studio in Brooklyn and followed their story into a showroom in Soho where we met Jo, learned more about their journey with Dashiel Brahmann and what it's like to work with a partner, design with a purpose, and build a brand.
Maren: You focus a lot on natural, minimalist aesthetics; what draws you to this?
Dash: Nature or the natural world in all of its simplicity holds some of the most advanced examples of design. This simplistic and harmonious beauty found in nature is the driving force behind how we develop our garments.
Maren: Why did you choose fashion as your creative outlet?
Dash: Surf and skate clothing are really what got me into clothing. What got me into “fashion” is I remember walking into a Burberry store and having my first interaction with “well made clothing”, something I had no idea existed. I thought to myself, “Wow this is where I belong, this is what I want to do.”
I ended up getting a job working retail with Burberry and after taking a menswear course at FIT something clicked. I made my first shirt which came out really well and I thought to myself that I could actually be good at this.
Maren: Being so ingrained in surf culture, and spending time close to the sea – how did this affect your sense of style?
Dash: As many of us know, plastic or any petroleum based products are very much a part of our everyday lives. Most of this ends up in the ocean and scattered about our coastlines. This reality has for the most part pushed me away from any nylons polyesters or rayons. Although they do have their place such as in swimwear wetsuits or rainwear I feel that we should practice restraint. I mostly wear and use natural fibers only. I feel that they’re far more comfortable and like with linen they age beautifully. Most of the fits that I wear and make are rather relaxed but still provide the illusion of a slim elegant silhouette.
Maren: You mentioned you studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. What was the biggest lesson you learned during this time?
Dash: I learned how much hard work and dedication it takes to pursue a career in doing something that you love.
"Petroleum based products are very much a part of our everyday lives. Most of this ends up in the ocean and scattered about our coastlines. This reality has for the most part pushed me away from any nylons polyesters or rayons. Although they do have their place such as in swimwear wetsuits or rainwear, I feel that we should practice restraint. "
Maren: Your previous experience includes working with renowned brands like Burberry, Thom Browne, and Patrik Ervell. What was the collaborative experience like?
Dash: They were all certainly unique in their own way. I worked for Burberry for about 2 years prior and a little during my first semester at FIT. That experience gave me a really solid introduction into the history and fabrication of manufacturing well made clothing. Additionally I learned a lot about how the average consumer shops and what products tend to sell more than others.
During my time spent at Thom Browne I had the opportunity to really learn how the entire design to sales process worked.
I spent a lot of my time developing custom fabrications for both men’s and women’s.
Additionally I had the amazing opportunity to work closely with Master Tailor Rocco Ceccarelli in their tailoring factory and pick up on some of his very valuable personal knowledge.
Working with Patrik so far has really been a great experience. I'm in charge of the pattern making which is essentially the architectural blueprints for the factory. So far I've worked on the past two collections, along with the help of my co-workers, and we've been able to make really strong samples.
During this time we'd landed in Soho where we got to meet up with Jo and learn more about her and Dash as a team.
Maren: How did the partnership come about?
Dash: It came about rather naturally. It’s fortunate because we balance each other out in the work place. She lent valuable insight into many of the aspects that I needed help with and we decided to give it a go.
Maren: What is your design process like, from conception to product. Who handles more creative? Who handles more logistics? Is it a give and take?
Dash: The design process is from research to fabrics, fabrics to design and design to product. We pick a theme or something specific that we love to focus on, and look for textures and fabrics from there. We then design with the fabrics in mind, and go into details like closure, fastening, cuffs and things.
Jo: It’s really a give and take, we are both from a creative background so we work on the design/ development side together. When it comes to logistics, it’s new to both of us so we brainstorm and jump in to do everything together.
Maren: What has been the most rewarding instances of having that support within your business. It’s not a lone venture, it’s an extension of yourselves, so how has that made the process easier or more fun?
Dash: The most rewarding part for me has just been having the support of Jo when things get difficult. Additionally It's someone to bounce Ideas off of especially when you're not sure of something.
Jo: Having Dash is so rewarding since I joined a bit later, Dash had the basics done, but I sort of had a better idea of how to move forward with it, so I joined at the right time. We have different working styles that sort of help each other fill in the gaps. Having each other is rewarding because we never feel we're alone in business, and the idea of having to split the workload and pressure means so much.
Maren: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how have you overcome it? In regards to your personal careers and your new careers with the brand.
Jo: The biggest challenge that I have faced in my career was meeting deadlines. This problem itself wasn’t a problem, in fact I enjoyed pushing myself to get things done, it’s very satisfying. However, as a designer, I didn’t enjoy pushing everything so much that nothing was resolved in terms of fit and quality. With more than four seasons in a year, I sort of lost my purpose to create garments that I want to wear and keep. I love new designs and new ideas, but I really believe in making a good considerate product that I’m proud of. I overcame it by letting it go and pushing it forward, but I don’t know if that’s “resolving the problem” or letting it go. I guess my way of resolving was to create garments like that for my own brand with Dash, where we set our goals and perfect the fit and quality even if it’s less styles in a collection, so that we are proud of what we make and produce. We try to make things that we would want to wear and would want to keep forever as a wearer.
Maren: Is there a style or material you’re yet to experiment with that you would like to?
Dash + Jo: We'd really love to experiment more with embroidery and print. I have an idea of woodblock print that I would like to create from scratch to print on fabrics with- something naïve and natural, hand carved and hand printed on wovens.
Maren: What are some of your favourite pieces from your own wardrobe?
Dash: Black crinkle wool Lazy Pant that will be available exclusively at Pilgrim Japan this winter.
Jo: There are too many of my favorite pieces from my own wardrobe, (and Dash knows) I must say that my favorite pieces are some garments that I’ve made, because I pattern cut and make them to fit myself with the details I want and want to wear. I also have a few garments from my mom when she was in her 20s. Her look was A-line Cotton skirts and loose linen tops, it’s my favorite look.
Maren: What is next for you?
Dash + Jo: We just launched a full collection of SS18 for the first time- it’s very small but we are proud of it! Our next step will be to produce something even better for FW18 and develop new bodies. Every day we learn so much from our experiences and mistakes, so our goal is to work hard and create something that we are proud of.
Photography — Viktor Jelinek
Interview — Nickie Shobeiry and Nora Jelinek
Editor — Victoria Bagger