Welcome to the first edition of the 10@10 in 2017 and a Happy New Year to you all!
It’s a Monday so, as per usual, today we will be focusing on a brand. I’ve had this 10@10 in the bank for a few months now and wanted to save it for the first feature of 2017. I haven’t done many features that focus on brands or folks from the UK and I need to ensure I get more out there throughout 2017 so, I suppose, I’m starting as I mean to go on. Today we talk to Kelly Dawson of @dawsondenim. A small selvedge denim production company based in Brighton, England.
Kelly and her partner, in both business and life (Scott Ogden), work hard 6-to-7 days per week, putting in up to 10 hours per day in order to ensure the flame behind @dawsondenim stays lit. With a very traditional catalogue heavily centred around Japanese heritage; Dawson Denim speaks to a market that not only appreciates badass denim and fades you can stare at for weeks on end but also a more reserved customer that really loves the history of garment construction and stories that back up the purpose of an individual garment. Cool stuff guys!
Doing what they love each day ensures Kelly and Scott pour their hearts into the business, a fact that is REALLY evident in the products they create.
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Kelly Dawson and Scott Ogden
COMPANY: Dawson Denim
LOCATION: Brighton, East Sussex
SIZE OF TEAM: 2 and a half (we have Damien a couple of days a week)
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: Japanese Selvedge Workwear designed and made by us, the traditional way in our workshop using traditional tools and techniques.
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Dawson Denim start out?
Kelly had a 15 year career specialising in Denim, from design, product management, laundry and fabric development. She had reached a career ceiling and really needed to move onto a new challenge, Scott was working with vintage furniture at the time and wanted to get back into clothing. We discussed our options and we knew that mass manufacture wasn’t going to be right for us instead we wanted to bring some production back to the UK, if we were going to do this it was going to be hard; we would need to do it ourselves. So with the money we had saved we bought 3 specialist vintage industrial sewing machines, some trims and asked our mill in Okayama for some selvedge denim. The first patterns were cut by us in house and the first samples were on show at Best of Britannia within a week of finishing them.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of you look like? What’s your daily work routine?
Catch up on the social media over breakfast and email replies. Short walk to our workshop. Morning routine catching up with the other guys in the units and straight down to work. Scott will start cutting, pressing and sewing the aprons, Kelly on the jeans and jackets. Lunchtime outside in the summer possible quick trip to the beach for a lunchtime swim, here’s when we’ll start talking plans if we are in development of something new or an event or trade show and that next trip to Japan. we work around 8 to10 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week, it’s hard graft. Work stops in theory at 7 or 8 pm but we’re usually emailing and replying to calls until 9pm when we get home.
3. What are your top 3 bestselling items? Why do you think this is?
1). The Mercantile apron, this has been in the range since the beginning and is a firm favourite for trades especially customers buying in bulk.
2). The Regular fit jeans, our DD001 fabric is a firm 14.25 oz and compact weave. A classic cut.
3). The sack jacket in our 2×1 Neppy denim from Nihon Menpu.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
The Sack Jacket in our wabash, the fabric is really rare it was woven and printed specially for us in Okayama it’s a perfect reproduction of a 1900’s fabric and the fades are ace. Its’ a 10 oz indigo x indigo twill.
5. What are your thoughts on the rise of Instagram fashion and the chaps that post their clothing on there to help spread the word of their fave brands?
Well it’s ace, we get to see our customers and friends share how they wear their own Dawson, Svante for example in Sweden AKA “The Urban Hippie” bought one of our aprons for polishing his shoes after discovering that in Japan, Sundays are traditionally designated for shoe care. It’s great to see how you guys wear our stuff in your own style, how you put an outfit together what brands you combine. For example, our Japanese Instagram followers wear our clothes in a very different way, preferring our wide leg jeans.
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
A picture speaks a thousand words and it also transcends language barriers. A huge part of our customer base is in Japan so this is a vital communication tool. Also to be included in a photo by a dedicated Instagrammer with thousands of followers helps us reach more people and tell our story.
7. Is there any feeds on IG that you particularly like to check-in on regular. What brands are you fond of on there? What menswear feeds to you like to peruse?
Well we always check in on those we work with, Timothy Everest, Rivet and Hide and Loftman Kyoto etc. But it’s great to catch up regularly with our friends in the business like Trickers or Knickerbocker Mfg Co.
8. A quick one about you. Other than the business, what passions do you have in life? What flicks your switch and helps you relax?
Vintage motoring and music. We just got back from exhibiting one of our Scooters at Goodwood Revival. We both collect 45’s.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
Working for ourselves and having the freedom to do what we love.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
What would they be? And Why?
My wabash sack jacket, wide leg jeans, sun surf Hawaiian shirt and PF Flyers. Dark Star Brewery’s American Pale Ale with a Small Batch Coffee in the morning.
Thank you Kelly. It’s been so good getting to know Dawson Denim (you) and I love the fact that we are only a few hundred miles apart…hopefully one day we can meet for a beer in person. There is no doubt you’re an artist and a credit to the Raw Denim dimension! It’s great to see your product on the feeds of so many guys (+ gals) and I have no doubt that will only increase as we get stuck into 2017.
So Thursday. Thursday sees us speak to Jeremy aka @lahmansbeard, a top dude with a kick-ass image. Jeremy’s 10@10 really struck a cord when I first received his reply, it’s a great read. If you haven’t already, swing by his feed so you know what the mood will be like on Thursday and, obviously, tune in as always anytime from 10pm.
Finally, yes we have kicked off @threads.and.fades.2017; 5 guys, 4 countries, 5 pairs of @shockoe_atelier denim & 1 year-long story. These jeans have become the second skin to 5 guys who will sport them throughout 2017 and we will be documenting the progress of their fade/wears/tears right here on the website. We will start with a quick, easy intro to the project and the guys involved this Saturday at 10am GMT and then trade stories and pics on the last Saturday of every month throughout 2017. You can follow parts of the story daily and link up with the guys involved @threads.and.fades.2017.
Have a cracking week people, I hope you all hit the ground running in 2017! Thanks for all your support throughout 2016 and make sure you SUBSCRIBE below, then you could be in line to win some free stuff via a giveaway! 😉
See ya soon peeps.