Interview | Fashion brand Deadwood

Deadwood, the Swedish slow fashion brand, celebrates five years of 100% recycled leather jackets! During these five years Deadwood has amazed the north and grown from a relatively unknown brand to an ideology with must-have pieces full of history. Quite easily done by reinventing how we think about fashion with gently refreshing iconic pieces – their cornerstone being the biker jacket.

 

We caught up with the founders Carl and Felix in an interview about Deadwood’s journey so far and about future aspects.

 

Carl and Felix, tell us how the idea for Deadwood started? What did you do before Deadwood?
We actually met as colleagues working in a clothing store in Stockholm. This was back in 2008 and we became friends right away. Carl was a full timer while I was in university studying sustainability and working in the store on weekends. While folding jeans in the denim section in the back I remember Carl and I talking about starting something of our own. We didn’t quite know if it was going to be a bar, a band or a shop. It turned out it was going to be the latter. The two of us stumbled upon a store space in the south parts of the city and opened our own boutique with a a bunch of our favourite brands mixed up with the best vintage clothing we could find. After a few years we evolved into creating vintage crossovers, mainly leather goods. That’s where the brand Deadwood was born!
 
Tell us a bit more about your company over the years and how the concept & ideology has evolved?

Although we’re constantly evolving as craftsmen, business leaders and human beings  our core idea has remained the same – to create a lifestyle brand that makes the world a little bit better and at the same time tickles the rebel soul. The sense of anti establishment and counter culture runs deep in our veins. For many years our main goal was to create the perfect leather jacket. I feel we’re close now. What the next product segment to disrupt and perfect will be I don’t know, we have tons off stuff on our drawing board. All I can tell you it won’t be boring.

Which issues have been the most challenging over the years, and which have been thrilling highlights?
Starting up a business is always a challenge, especially if your trying to do it right – and by right I mean in a more ethical and sustainable way. When you’re handling design, production, marketing and sales all at the same time there are a ton of moving parts. So basically there is always something not going your way. But then it’s important to try and see all the stuff going right. And not forgetting to celebrating your successes. I remember when we got our first wholesale order. It was for 300 hundred jackets and we had no idea how to pull it off. But we did and it marked the beginning of a thrilling journey. Another time was when Iggy Pop hit us up wanting to get a jacket for himself. I mean, one of our biggest heroes! That was pretty cool. Or standing outside our very own Deadwood window display at Selfriges on Oxford Street. Definitely an arm pinching moment.

“Sustainability is pretty easy, if something is not sustainable it cannot last. It’s literally what the word means. Do we want our species and the world as we know it to last? I think we all know the answer to that. Let’s act accordingly.”

Share your thoughts on globalization, environment and the fashion industry with us.
Globalization is a good thing. It’s inevitable if we want to make it in the long run. The more we move towards one shared language, one shared market and one shared set of values the less chance we’ll blow ourselves up or damage our environment beyond repair. But with change comes friction, although I think that is just a phase and a sign that we’ll soon settle in a more harmonious state. When people ask me where Deadwood is producing I am just as proud to say Thailand and Cambodia as I am telling them about our production in Italy or the US (we have production in all of those countries). We’re delivering to a global market so I don’t see a problem supporting a global ecosystem of manufacturing. As long as you do it in a responsible way, providing fair conditions and living wages I see no reason not supporting developing countries.

That being said the clothing industry does have inherent problems. First of all the ever faster changing fashion fads make garment obsolete almost instantly as they arrive on the retail shelves. That means more new ”in” garments having to be produced, consuming energy and water, and at the same time insane amounts of waste are going to landfill causing groundwater contamination or to incineration causing toxic air pollution.

Using waste materials we bypass much of the darker sides of fashion.

 

Let’s talk about transparency and conscious consuming…
All aspects of life are becoming more transparent thanks to information technology. That’s a good thing, it’s democratizing. This goes for politics and institutions as well as corporations and small businesses. At Deadwood we have always been open about how we do things, but as we speak we are actually working on some concrete ways to make our production process even more transparent. What many companies don’t appreciate is that being transparent is not just a boring CSR obligation, it’s a new way of engaging with your customers and adding value.

I’m of the opinion everything we do should be a conscious act. Compulsive shopping has negative effects that extend far beyond ourselves, just like compulsive drinking or eating. We need to be mindful of what we are consuming and how much. Buy well and buy less, cliché because it’s true.

Deadwood hit the 5 year mark, how did you celebrate?
We threw a huge party with friends, fans and two of our favourite bands on stage, INVSN and Les Big Byrd! That night was a milestone and it felt sort of like the closing of one chapter and the beginning of something new, something big.

Our goal is that 10 years from now Deadwood will be not just a fashion company but a movement – an inspiring world full of social criticism, punk mentality and good vibes – known all over the world!

Get your own custom-made leather piece at Deadwoods onlinestore.

 

Images courtesy of Deadwood.