Designer Interview

By: Fashwire
May 27, 2022 02:10 PM

When did you know you wanted to become a designer?

When I was little, I had an uncle who could draw anything that I asked him to. I used to watch him in awe. I kind of perceived it as a superpower and was determined to one day have that power for myself. It was from then that I knew I wanted a job doing something creative every day.


What is your earliest design memory for your brand?

I was initially hired as the Senior Design Director, but first week on the job I was tasked to design the showroom. This would entail working with a builder, designing and sketching plans to create a custom conference table, tower fixtures, rolling racks, hanging rack and wall treatments. I immediately had my title changed to Senior Creative Director.


Where do you find inspiration?

I do a ton of online research of vintage clothing, as well as brick and mortar shopping. In addition, I also keep an eye on runway, art exhibits, sports, politics, and pop culture to connect all the dots. Currently, I’m inspired by the work of American photographer William Eggleston.


“Being that Devil Dog is the nickname of the Marines, he felt it was the perfect name for a dungarees brand that makes tough, durable jeans.”


What is your favorite part about designing?

I love collaboration. It’s the part of the process that never gets old to me.


How would you describe your personal style?

I’m classic but not afraid of trend. I believe everyone should make their wow statement every so often.


What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?

Before Devil-Dog Dungarees, I spent 16 years at Macy’s leading design teams across half of the men’s and kids’ private brands. Prior to that, I started my career on the entrepreneurial side as a co-founder of an early New York streetwear brand, PNB Nation. Between those two experiences I’ve gained a well-balanced amount of start-up and corporate knowledge.


What is the meaning behind the name Devil-Dog Dungarees?

The Devil-Dog brand was first launched shortly after the second World War and the company’s founder, an Army veteran of WW1, wanted to honor those that serve. Being that Devil Dog is the nickname of the Marines, he felt it was the perfect name for a dungarees brand that makes tough, durable jeans.


What sets your brand apart from the rest?

From a business and infrastructure standpoint, the benefits that we offer our specialty store customers are unique. High margins, no minimums, 24 hours turn on processing orders, in-stock replenishment, and free marketing assets. From a design point of view, we cram a lot of details, features, and benefits into our products at a value.


What brand values are the most important to your brand?

Sustainability is something that is important to us. I am relieved that denim manufacturing has made big strides in recent year on improving its carbon footprint. Our mills recycle water, and a lot of the fabrics we choose are dyed in a process called liquid indigo, which cuts back on caustic soda and water usage. All of our pocket bags use Repreve fibers which are made from post-consumer plastic bottles. We also use recycled cotton and cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in some of our products. I should also mention that Devil-Dog Dungarees gives back to Wounded Warrior Project which is committed to helping injured veterans.  As a proud partner, the brand has donated $100k to date.


What do you envision for the future of your brand?

I have an idea, not fully fleshed out yet, of working on an adaptive clothing capsule. This struck me after visiting the Wounded Warrior Project office. It seems like a natural next step in our partnership and makes sense for Devil-Dog Dungarees.


Do you have a favorite piece that you have designed? 

My favorite piece is our chambray work shirt. It’s made from 100% BCI cotton and has a soft mercerized hand feel. I live in it.


“Devil-Dog Dungarees makes casual, comfortable menswear, that fits great, lasts long, and is designed with a perceived value in mind.”


What were some hurdles you had to overcome in your business?

Of course, the past two years have been a perfect storm, of global shutdowns, supply chain issues, container costs sky rocketing, backed up ports, inflation, to name a few. It’s been a lot but I think we’ve fared better than most.


What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?

Less is more. I feel a lot of people that I talk to who are trying to start a brand often begin with way too much complexity. Focus, edit, hone in on something that’s strong and sound. At least initially…you can always grow.


How important is social media to your brand?

It’s an important piece to driving traffic to our site and retailers. It’s something we are constantly tinkering with and improving on.


What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?

Devil-Dog Dungarees makes casual, comfortable menswear, that fits great, lasts long, and is designed with a perceived value in mind.


How would you define fashion?

Fashion, to me, is about feeling confident and good about yourself.