Here we are, spiraling head first into another decade with the last one well and truly behind us. 2020 started at a rapid pace and then abruptly came to a grinding halt. Things have become weird, strange and unknown. People are in lockdown, quarantine and isolation and cities have become ghost towns. The world is in chaos but yet unusually quiet at the same time. It’s an odd time to be alive and something we will hopefully never experience again.
With so much going on and so much news and information to digest we needed to step away from the mayhem and reflect. After all, it was over 10 years ago when those four letters, that would change it all were only just being scribbled into a sketchbook for the very first time. Welcome to a decade of ‘D-V-N-T’.
As we approach the end of May we thought it would be fitting to take some time to stop, reflect and recap on everything we have achieved and accomplished over the past decade before another 10 years get away from us.
2008 - 2009:
What a whirlwind the last ten years have been. Doug and Alex started this brand with next to no money but endless determination and a grand vision for what ‘could be’ - admirable, but definitely not the ingredients for a smooth ride. Working from their bedrooms (shown above) before quickly needing a warehouse and more office space. They were young and learnt everything the hard way, either out of necessity or by learning through mistakes.
The brothers had some experience designing and producing t-shirts for local bands. Doug and Alex would sell the shirts at gigs and in return get some free beers from the bands rider. Great deal at the time, but they clearly hadn’t refined their negotiating or business skills.
As they produced shirts for more and more bands they developed their skills and realized two things.
1. They knew how to do this (and do it well).
2. People liked their designs.
This was the light-bulb moment when they realized they should start a clothing label. They wanted to put their ideas onto their own shirts - not other peoples. The word Deviant was thrown about, then later shortened to DVNT and instantly everyone was hooked.
Travelling up and down the East Coast of Australia the brothers visited stores and told their story. Sleeping in a van, checking out local gigs and learning about the clothing and fashion industry first hand. Approaching stores by day and researching competitors, fashion lingo and trading terms such as ‘Net 30’ and ‘Sale Or Return’ by night. It was a hard slog but they managed to pick up a handful of stores. Then they realized they also had the daunting task of learning how to manage them.
2010 - 2014:
The products sold well - even outselling some of the biggest brands in the market! Store-owners wanted more. The boys had to learn about restocking, invoicing, trends and just generally keeping up with demand whilst also growing a brand at the same time. Due to the positive response DVNT had in-stores, retailers were flexible and helpful. They allowed staggered shipments and gave the brand free-reign of window displays that previously would have been reserved for big brands. DVNT didn’t have a huge team of staff with various departments or large bank balances to keep things running smoothly, so these kind gestures were vital in helping the brand get established, and will forever be appreciated.
It was early days and the brand didn’t have a huge team of staff with various departments or huge bank balances to keep things running smoothly, so these kind gestures were vital in helping us establish ourselves and will forever be appreciated.
Clothing and music have always gone hand in hand. DVNT aligned well with music stores and has always being independent since day one. Both musicians and designers face similar struggles while trying to establish themselves in already crowded, saturated marketplaces. One of the first stores DVNT was stocked in was a record store in Brisbane called ‘Kill The Music’. They did collaborative events and parties with all the bands who frequented the store. What a great time to be alive.
The brothers fumbled their way through the next few years, basically at a pace of two steps forward and one back. Struggling to find reliable suppliers and still managing all the retail stores themselves. An entire collection was even designed which never saw the light of day due to supplier issues. Rather than release something half-assed, they canned the entire range, released nothing and set to work finding a new manufacturer. It was a case of stepping back to jump forward but Doug and Alex knew to create a successful brand they needed a supplier with strict quality control who they could trust and be proud to have producing their designs. Six months on they had found a new, far superior supplier and things began to take shape.
DVNT designed a Movember Charity Tee - The Mo Money T-Shirt (shown above). It was picked up by retail chains such as 'Culture Kings' and was one of their best sellers. They created a collaborative spin-off range with 'Off Ya Tree' stores Nationwide and added a 'Mo Honey' and 'Mo Sister' range. A total of over $16,000 was raised for the 'Movember Charity' - proving that sometimes taking a step-back is exactly what is required.
Not long after this DVNT also had its first celebrity sighting, Steve-O from MTV's Jackass was spotted wearing the 'Deluxe Zip Hood' in Sydney, Australia. Yeah dude, we were stoked! DVNT is all about challenging authority and embracing youth culture, so it is great when someone who encompasses that lifestyle goes out of their way to buy and wear products with those values in mind. Doug and Alex got in touch and hooked him up with another care package and he wore it for the rest of his tour! This exposure put the DVNT on the map and the brand began to build momentum.
Read Part 2 // 2015 - 2020 HERE