I recently sat down with Wesley from Exposur to tell him a bit more about our humble beginnings, where we are now, and where we're going next.
Tell us about DBDNS and your background.
I started the brand when I was 18 years old in a small town near Exeter, Devon. My experience before setting up the brand was limited so the first few years was very difficult. I had to learn everything the hard way through making mistakes and slowly over time I was able to discover what did and didn't work. I always knew the vibe I was going for, but it took me a while to really get this across in the designs, photography, and tone of voice on social media. 5 years later and the collections flow well from one to the next, the photography is looking great, and social media has improved significantly. We've also moved to South East London recently which makes connecting with other creatives so much, much easier.
What made you want to start DBDNS?
I had some great teachers at college who got me really in to graphic design/ photography. Printing my designs on to t-shirts and photographing them just felt like a natural progression from that. At first I wouldn't really have described DBDNS as a 'brand'. It was more of a small collection of t-shirts which grew in to other product categories and as time went on the brand aspect became more important. It showed that we aren't just about design, we're also about living a certain lifestyle as well.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I wouldn't really say there's a set place I go to for inspiration, but geometric patterns and fabrics from the far east are what I've always been drawn to. A few weeks ago I visited some streetwear shops in central London with my girlfriend and was like 'yeah... it's cool...', but most of the designs were pretty minimal and logo based and didn't really get me excited. It just felt a bit predictable. We were then walking along a street next to Hyde Park and stumbled upon an antique shop which was selling these amazing handmade rugs from the far east. The amount of work that went into making these intricate rugs was incredible. I found them far more inspiring and I was taking loads of photos. I also think it's good to be inspired by things outside of streetwear otherwise you just end up doing the same kind of thing that everyone else is doing and you don't bring anything new to the table.
What is your studio like and do you have an plans for the space?
We lucked out massively with our studio. It's a pretty big space and pretty affordable compared with other commercial spaces in South East London. There are lots of other creatives in the neighbouring studios on the same floor so it's a very inspiring place to be. Plans for the space- we've pretty much filled it up already so we don't have a huge amount of space left to work with. Generally I'd like to get some more artwork on the walls as it feels a little plain right now. Other then that it's pretty good as it is.
What does a typical week look like for you?
In a typical week I'm usually running around like a mad thing trying to get all the day to day jobs done whilst moving the brand forward at the same time. I try to find as much time as I can for designing and branding, but I'm finding that I have to delegate more and more as I seem to be so busy these days.
Whats your favourite item currently within the range?
I'm a bit obsessed with dragons at the moment so I'd have to say one of the dragon hoodies. We've got a lot more dragon designs set to be released over the next 6 months as well... You can never have enough dragons!
What three items can't you live without?
A smoothie maker, my iphone, and these silk dragon shorts which I had made by a tailor in Vietnam. They are just so cool.
What occupies your wardrobe outside of Dream But Do Not Sleep?
The number one brand that I keep going back to season after season is Grind London. Their cut & sew is always on point and the brand really resonates with me. I wear either their embroidered rose trousers or embroidered martini trousers pretty much every day!
What are your plans for DBDNS in 2017?
We're currently looking into getting an embroidery machine which is very exciting. We print everything to order in our studio, and felt it's the time to expand our product offering by getting some equipment which can finish garments which we can't print on with our current equipment. We're still looking for which one is the best for us, but when this goes through you can expect to see a lot of new product categories being introduced. We've also got some shoots and videos lined up which we're looking forward to.
What are you other interests?
I've been in to photography for a while which is something I'd like to pursue more in the future. I shoot most things on my olympus mju ii point & shoot and I'd like to do more of this for DBDNS.