It's a typical day in Singapore: 32 degrees, slightly overcast, and 90 per cent humidity. In short: It's another you-beaut balmy day in the Lion City with a slight chance of rain, but a guaranteed case of perspiration. But true to their sartorial inclinations, Dan and Dean Caten have rocked up to lunch — held at the Salt Grill & Sky Bar by Luke Mangan; a precipitous 55 floors above Orchard Road — decked out in bespoke three-piecers, literally cleaving to their lithe frames.
"You're not feeling warm in your suit?" I ask, rather impressed.
"Oh, you don't feel it in here. The air-conditioning is always so cold in Singapore," says Dan with a smile.
"Totally. It's practically Arctic," I concede.
"And you know what I say: Live fast, and die fabulous!" chimes Dean, beaming.
Need I say more?
In town to present their spring/summer 2017 collection (a lightning stopover before heading to Seoul), the dynamic duo answer ten questions about fashion in the age of social media, the importance of positivity in design, and those high-platform sequined boots for guys. Yes, guys.
What does fashion mean to you?
Basically, fashion is about creativity and personal style. There are no fixed rules, nor specific seasons to wear specific clothes or trends. Fashion is different and out of the box — sometimes it's eccentric; other times it's simple. We always dare to push the boundaries with our designs, and you see this with the leg-of-mutton sleeves in our spring 2017 show.
And the thinking behind those sequined high‐platforms for men in your SS17 collection?
The SS17 men's collection is about being strong and impactful. Glitz meets rebel. It's also London street and style. David Bowie was the key inspiration behind this glam rock collection; especially those glitter boots that we just adore!
In your 20 years in the industry, what has been your biggest mistake or regret?
No regrets or mistakes. We are proud of all that we have done over the years. Everything has always come from a passion for this job, our personal ideas, and personality. We always try to learn and innovate, but still, staying true to our roots.
What are your thoughts about the see-now-buy-now shift that has marked the SS17 season?
We have decided to go to a co-ed show this January 2017, but not to adopt the see-now-buy-now model.
"the important thing is to have a positive mood and atmosphere. Everything around us has to be in line with our spirit."
Keywords to describe your customer?
Rock, different, glam, curious.
What do you want people to feel when they wear DSquared2?
We want people to feel confident and stylish; unexpected and out of the box.
How has the rise of digital and social media affected the way you design, or present a runway collection? Is it now, more than ever, important to focus greater resources on how you market a brand or collection?
Digital and social media has made everything faster and more engaging. We have not changed the way we design, but sometimes what we see from digital platforms or from our followers could be a source of inspiration, and inform us with a different or new point of view. Generally, we feel that the social world has positively changed the fashion system and its dynamics.
Looking back, is there any thing you wish you had designed or introduced to market first?
Honestly, nothing. We have introduced our fashion vision and that's the most important thing for us.
How do you stay relevant when designing your collections?
Before, and also during our design process, the important thing is to have a positive mood and atmosphere. Everything around us has to be in line with our spirit. We try to have fun and encourage our team to be relaxed. We believe that positivity and joy are always relevant.
If you could change how people dress in Singapore, what would you do?
We don't want to change how people in Singapore dress! People have their culture, traditions and personal style. We can present our fashion vision through our collections, but it's then up to our customers to decide how to mix-and-match the items we created.
Check back every Monday for another @MusingMutley column from Norman Tan, Editor-in-Chief of Buro 24/7 Singapore. For more columns from @MusingMutley, click here.
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