Central Saint Martins Design Grads Dan&Shan are an Unristricted Duo
Dan&Shan are an up and coming design duo based in London that specialize in modern menswear. Their roots in the U.K. fashion scene stem from their time at Central Saint Martins followed by a collection of prestigious work opportunities with the likes of Gareth Pugh and more. Through this, they’ve developed a style and brand to communicate ideas of what they wish to see today in fashion. Their passion is evident as I chat with them about their company, collections, and future.
Image from Dan&Shan SS16 Lookbook
How do you see menswear evolving in the London fashion scene today?
It is getting more youthful and diverse.
Image from Dan&Shan’s SS16 Street Style Lookbook
What brought you to menswear?
We want to create something that won’t be restricted by gender. Menswear seems to be a better starting point for us to bring across our message.
What were your experiences like at Central Saint Martins?
CSM allowed us to have the freedom of finding our individual voices as designers and be brave to experiment.
How has your experience working for MCQ, Pugh etc shaped the way you approach your own collections?
Do not set yourself any boundary. The most interesting things always come when they’re least expected. At this stage, we do not want to set to many rules for ourselves and wish to explore as much as possible. Just have fun with it.
As a developing design house, where would you like to see your upcoming collections heading?
We are open for options and of course, it will be lovely if we could have chances to showcase our work in London, Paris, Milan or New York menswear fashion week.
How has the idea of branding influenced your approach to designing?
Lifestyle, a bit more fantasy. We are strongly influenced by womenswear in the 90’s, with all the dramatic and theatrical designs and presentation by e.g. John Gallian, Alexander Mcqueen, Viktor and Rolf etc. We think men should have the option to experience fashion in that way as well.
What has been your biggest inspiration for your AW/FW 15 collection?
We want to create pieces that will last, almost both timeless and genderless. We looked into historical, futuristic costumes and the character played by Tilda Swinton in movie ‘Orlando’.
Image from Dan&Shan FW 15 Collection
What has been your biggest inspiration for your latest SS 16 collection?
We developed our SS 16 collection from our FW 15 collection, “Do not fade. Do not wither. Do not grow old.’ The idea of eternal life leads to the research of witchcraft, which we find the differences between the reality of it, like the trial in Salem and how witchcraft has been portrait in fairytales inspiring. At the end of the day, a lot of our personal emotions and daily life experiences have shaped the collection.
Are you planning to show internationally anytime soon?
We would like to take it slow at the moment. Of course, if a great chance comes by we won’t say no.
In terms of art direction, what is your process in developing ideas for your collections?
We always start off with an art piece, which could be a movie, a painting or a sculpture, and with all the further research and looking behind the story of the pieces, a character will somehow emerged in our minds and we will translate the characteristics through clothing.
If you could sum up DAN&SHAN in a sentence, what would it be? And is this the crux of your brand?
Respecting the past and embracing the future.
The UK is synonymous with some of the great style icons (Daphne Guinness, Isabella Blow, Anna Wintour etc.) so who do you consider to be the muse of your brand and whom do you consider to be your style icon?
David Bowie, Tilda Swinton and Grace Jones are definitely going to be on the list. Our latest favorites will be Jayden and Willow Smith. In general, we are attracted to people that are androgynous with a daring dress sense.
Lastly, what’s next for DAN&SHAN?
Enjoy working on our FW16 collection and looking forward to present our new collection.