Modern Craftsmen – Daen Brown
From Stab issue 60: Words by Derek Rielly, photos by Michael Crawley. There’s a real nice feel out there among the cats and the hounds, those smart young things who ain’t into the whole want-it-now narcissism that passes as popular culture. For the sharp and the thoughtful, life means making something (clothes, furniture, photos, anything, just… […]
From Stab issue 60: Words by Derek Rielly, photos by Michael Crawley.
There’s a real nice feel out there among the cats and the hounds, those smart young things who ain’t into the whole want-it-now narcissism that passes as popular culture.
For the sharp and the thoughtful, life means making something (clothes, furniture, photos, anything, just… something) and making it good, making it last and making it beautiful. And, that don’t mean manipulating shares, creating nasty reality TV or selling off-the-plan slums.
Daen Brown, 33, now Gold Coast but Japan and Sydney prior, has driven his whole career on this compass bearing. You like Insight’s game? Daen’s been turning the country onto that hip fashion house for years.
His newest project is Atlas Lifestyle Co, a collection of premium, classic-styled leather and canvas products with an old-school feel. Daen created the brand with his pal Mitch Roberts. Two friends with a passion to “create products that have a classic aesthetic yet cater to our modern day-to-day lives. From key chains and wallets to iPad cases, cushion covers and vintage-styled duffle bags,” says Daen. Yeah, it’s cute. Better than cute. The sorta gear that improves over time. “We pay homage to the sophistication of leather and its unrivalled ability to get better with age. We’re not a seasonal label that follows fast seasonal trends,” says Daen.
You gotta ask. How important is craftsmanship? Like, does it matter? “There’s just a higher level of beauty, quality and soul that items of true craftsmanship exude,” says Daen. “Maybe it’s true that a little heart and soul goes into those pieces made by hand or maybe it’s just really freakin’ good skills and attention to detail which the subconscious picks up on before the brain acknowledges it? Either way, these are the products that are made to last, defy fashion trends, create a legacy or even an heirloom.”
And, the other mill-dollar question. What are your feelings towards mass-production and the loss of quality to meet a price point? “Okay, I’m not anti mass-production if it truly caters to market demand and businesses have some kind of conscience in the production process,” says Daen. “I am, however, anti-over supplying the market. I’ve sure been lucky to have had a lifestyle and career that has allowed me to be a part of both the surf and fashion industries and it’s been disheartening over the years to see brand’s greed force so much blind forecasting resulting in excessive stock levels, bizarre discount and clearance strategies and a lower perception of brand’s credibility and value. Maybe, it’s just part of the cycle but I’d love to see all industry start to move back towards a realistic level of supply and demand. Surely, it would have to mean good things for our retailers, consumers and ultimately the planet!”
So true! The uncomfortable, comfortable, brilliant truth! If you stick it out, if you make it good, the people will come, hearts open. In other words, make it once and make it well.
Says Daen: “After years of poor quality product in the market there is a loyalty and shift to brands who offer quality and individuality. There’s definite truth in the saying ‘buy cheap, pay twice’.
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