Text and Imagery - Dom Read
Hey chaps, just checking in with a little update of times gone by of late. Letting you know what has been going on in the dreadful world of Dread Decks... I will start with a little apology, I've let you down, let me family down and let meself down! No, I joke, kinda.
The best intentions and all that don't always lead to the best results!!
I have been working hard, working my arse off and yet sometimes it feels a bit like there is nothing to show for it. This leads me to feel like I simply haven't been working hard enough and so I beat meself up. I pile more and more on to my plate, forgetting about the many plates that are already starting to slow on their spin.
As you can imagine the more plates that you are spinning the more that you are going to drop when things start to fall apart. I cracked, shattered from the piss poor attempt at catching up with myself before the fall.
Now you might say bloody hell Dom this is all a bit dramatic isn't it chuck!! And quite frankly yes it fucking is. I am not writing this stuff for sympathy but more simply to tell you about how I feel, explain why things are the way that they are and hopefully to inspire you to take better care of yourself than I do.
There have been many times over the life of Dread Decks where we have stop, started and I have said nothing. This time I thought maybe I would try and talk about things. I don't mean to be a downer as I am very positive about the future and hopeful for things to come. I also don't intentionally run myself and the company into the ground repeatedly I simply get excited about new projects and under estimate the time they will take, my personal and bodily capabilities and the difficulty of the projects I take on.
I also write this as an apology for the consistent mistakes and slow progress. And I write this as a promise that I am trying to get it right. I'm trying to make Dread Decks better and I'm trying to make the clothing industry better. It's just sometimes tougher than I am...
2021 has been filled with exciting projects, I have completed painting commissions, both canvases, jeans and skateboards, I have made bespoke tailored pieces for clients, I have developed new garments for the brand, made hats for the first time, ran many workshops including skateboard painting workshops and clay snail workshops, I have worked as a fashion technician at University and I have been working to complete various online courses that will in the end hopefully benefit Dread Decks.
All that said the things that are most prevalent in my head are all of the things that I had planned that I have failed to achieve. Perhaps it is just the time of year, I always get a bit melancholy towards the end of the year or perhaps it is just being ill. Whatever the reason, I know it isn't the end of the world in the grand scheme of things and it doesn't really matter.
When taking on all of these different projects I am not very good at dividing up my time. I get obsessed with individual projects and other parts of the business slip through the cracks. This is something I am working but it still happens sometimes. Taking on the extra jobs such as specific commissions or running art workshops is an amazing experience and great fun but because of being a one man band, most of the time, this ends up taking time away from other parts of the brand and everything grinds to a halt. I end up spreading myself too thin and wiping myself out which results in poor outcomes and again slows the process.
It has been such a brilliant year, I have loved so much of it. I have found more joy in my work than ever before, feeling like things are finally moving and making progress. Yet at the same time I am very aware of all things that haven't been done that I intended on doing and it is hard. I am so grateful, just exhausted.
Being so tired resulted in my immune system being down. I returned to Uni to do my technician job and got hit with freshers flu and then immediately after as I recovered I was hit with covid. I have been so lucky in that my symptoms have been fairly mild but I just cracked and slept and couldn't keep my shit together anymore. I had reached the point where I could barely think creatively and had no drive to produce art or clothing. I wanted to, I just couldn't pick and choose or focus on where to start. In getting ill it forced me to rest and I just shut down for days, this gave me sometime to reflect on the past few months.
I'm well on the road to recovery but I know I can't keep working like this forever. I'm going to try to prioritise my tasks better and build a healthier relationship with my work routine but if anyone has any suggestions, guidance or help to offer I am all ears! My arms are wide open!!
As always, love ya!
All the best
Text - Dom Read Images - Dom Read & Asha Wilson
So it is not every day that I get the opportunity to hand craft something special for someone, but when I do, I truly relish the occasion.
A couple months ago on a warm summer evening, sat in a beautiful historic pub courtyard, me and Asha got onto the topic of her graduation. She despaired that she had no idea of what she would like to wear.
I joked "Well you do know a tailor..."
To my surprise Asha lit up, ecstatic at the idea and right then and there we began to plan out the potential suit to be. We discussed the shape and style, the purpose, the fabrics and of course the pockets! We booked in a few dates for fittings, the final delivery date and wham bam the tailor train was chugging!
The first step was meeting up to plan out what the suit was going to specifically look like. Then pick which fabrics to use and get Asha measured up. It was a fun process to go through, as it had been a little while since the last time I made something bespoke for a customer. Asha chatted away to her friend as she stood on a stool and I worked my way around her taking her measurements. I asked her about the different elements that she wanted to have included and I sketched up her custom suit as we chatted.
It was then time to do the pattern cutting. I spent a couple of days drafting up the pattern and making a mockup to fit to Asha. We then did another couple of fittings to ensure that we were both happy with how the toile was fitting.
Once we were both happy with the final fit, it was time for me to construct the final suit! Lining fabric and buttons arrived to Asha's delight and the outer fabric had been washed, preshrunk and was ready to go! Time to cut and sew!
Then after a few solid days and nights of cutting, stitching and pressing it was time for delivery! The construction process was an absolute delight, so fun to be working with such beautiful, natural linen. It felt good to be making a garment that was made with a purpose and would be worn forever. A formal suit when worn together, a comfortable casual jacket when worn separately and a pair of rowdy trousers when worn alone!! I was delighted to hand over this project and I think Asha was pretty pleased too!! Have a look at the photos and you tell me!
Please get in touch if you would like your own bespoke suit made!
Much Love Dom xxx
Text and Images - Dom Read Illustrations - Julia Triay and Dom Read
Where to even begin???
After all of the manic preparation Saturday the 22nd rolled around and it was time to set up! I finished work, headed home and collected together all of my boxes of stock and equipment. My brother met me and we piled everything over to Studio 20, we piled out and began the initial setup. It was wild and took some time. Matty, who doesn't normally do this type of thing, had a great time helping out! It was a god send to have his help. We rearranged the walls, hung some ropes to attach the prints to the wall, built some tables and hammered in some nails.
We got home late and then had some dinner, Julia arrived even later, after she had finished a shift at work. We chatted into the early hours of the morning while I tried to thread draw stings into my newly made curtain jogging bottoms. We got a couple of hours sleep.
Suddenly the rooster crowed, Sunday had arrived and it was time to go!! We piled into the van ready for a final bit of setting up. We rearranged things and got the till and tables set up ready for the doors to open! It was so very, very exciting!! I was so happy and grateful to be there with such an incredible team, I could not have done it with out them!!
We were gifted with the arrival of the very talented artist ED LE MAY as our first customer, his joyful energy and positivity set the tone for the day. All stress and worries fell away, we had done it, we were here and it was happening.
I was amazed by the steady stream of people coming and going throughout the day. They all seemed genuinely impressed by our work and excited to be there. It was such a positive and cheerful atmosphere, every single person who walked in the shop made my day!! I love to talk, so after all the months of lockdown it was quite spectacular to be rewarded with friends old and new to have a good natter with!
One of my proudest parts of the exhibition was the selfie wall that me and Julia created. Julia painted the most beautiful, loud, giant daffodil that we nailed to the wall. It was nearly as tall as me!! We encouraged people to take photos and pose in front of the selfie wall and to my delight many people did!
It was such a blessing to be doing something in person again. Sometimes the facelessness of instagram can get quite tiresome without you even realising. We become so reliant on it as a tool for marketing ourselves as artists but when you are making art in your art cave and only interacting with people online you forget the healing power of face to face communication. I got to see mine and Julia's work bring smiles to the faces of friends and strangers a like! It was such a good feeling that you don't quite get through a like on a photo!
I also got to do some live sewing in the studio which was great fun!
And to top off the whole event, there was live music and pizza in the park nearby so once we broke down the shop we headed over for a slice and a boogie!!!
Many thanks to anyone who made it down or supported us online we love you and we appreciate it so much!
Love ya, stay in touch, can't wait until the next one!!!
Text - Dom Read Photography - Andrew Gooding
So at the moment we are going through a bit of a transitional process. For a long time I have had many plans of where I want Dread Decks to be and what I want it to become. Many ideas are great but sometimes they have slowed the process because I haven't been able to decide what to focus on first.
I have always aimed to combine my interests in casual clothing and more formal tailoring to create beautiful, well made garments that are made to last. Hesitation and not knowing where to start has slowed the process but enough is enough. I have gone back to basics and I am pattern drafting a selection of new garments ready for summer 2021. I bought some beautiful natural fabrics that have helped get the creative juices flowing again and have helped spur me on to get my patterns made up! There is still a long way to go but I am very excited about the new products that are on their way.
In other exciting news I have been working with the incredibly talented Julia Triay to put together a new collection and exhibition called Primavera. We have created a selection of Spring inspired lino prints for our exhibition at Studio 20 in Norwich. We are also creating a limited collection of handmade garments and handprinted t shirts. I am so very excited!!
Sunday 23/05/21 and Monday 24/05/21. Studio 20 Norwich. Save the date!
Text and Illustration - Dom Read Photography - Flora Judy
So time flies when you are having fun and it flies when you are not. It saddens me that it has been so long since I updated you beautiful people on the progress of all things Dread Decks. I promised myself in 2021 I would be kinder, fairer and more patient with myself as this is somewhere I have failed tremendously in years gone by. Therefore I won't dwell on the matter for too long, I will simply say, sorry chaps, I have missed you.
So 2020 was whirlwind of emotional turmoil, there have been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and everything in between. It has been an exhausting year of uncertainty and turbulent times.
The past year has been filled with change, growth and developments for both myself and the brand. We have moved house multiple times, shut the original Dread Decks studio, made art, destroyed art, made music, made memories, lost loved ones, buried friends, dwelled in self pity, sat in silence, beat records, built new relationships, released a new collection, started an art club, created custom clothing, painted bespoke artwork and rekindled a lost determination and drive.
There have been a huge number of obstacles and times that we have fallen short of what was needed or expected. With every trial and test we have learnt, grown and adapted and then said thank you for the trip.
I can't tell you what the future or what it might hold for you. But I can tell you that at Dread Decks we have not given up on hope that things can and will improve. We have lots of incredible and exciting new projects planned for the days and months ahead. We are over the moon and can't wait to share them with you.
Over the next few weeks I'll be going more in depth into our recent projects and the thought process behind them, as well as letting you know what we have in store for the future.
As always keep up with us on instagram @dreaddecks
Stay tuned, stay hopeful and keep swimming.
Thank you for reading.
Text and Images - Dom Read
So the walls are caving in, you are drowning in inadequacies, the regrets keep piling up and no matter how fast you run you can't escape the rolling wave of mistakes that is breaking and crashing behind you...
You tell yourself don't look back and just keep pushing forwards. Things will get better or they won't but you can't change what is done and dusted you can only hope for the best! The thing is though which way is forward?? Many different routes lie in front of you and none of them are wrong but at the same time none of them are right. It is up to you but then again that is the problem isn't it. The choices, so many fucking choices and you have a history of choosing the wrong one. Fuck...
But then again perhaps looking back isn't so bad after all...?
When things get out of hand, going back to what you know from when you started is possibly the safest option. Maybe you will remind yourself of which direction North is. Maybe you will just kill the time until you feel a little calmer.. Or maybe you will just have a trip down memory lane and fall in love with something you can't remember why you fell out love with.
That is what happened with me and my linoleum recently. Why did I stop? Probably because I am a coward or whiny little bitch or maybe cos I was simply preoccupied by something else at that was filling my time. The why, the when and the how, don't really matter two shits and neither does the time in between.
What does matter is the process!!!
Tools in hand, focus on the craft....
Text and Illustration - Dom Read Photography - Flora Platt
DREADFASHIONDEADFASHION - DREAMS COME TRUE!
Anyone who knows the Dread Decks studios well will know know the fire exist, which doubles as a smoking area. This spot is a little bit of a haven for our feathered friends. The enclosed area with a mesh ceiling is the perfect nesting ground for persistent pigeons seeking to hide from their predators. They build their homes safe in the knowledge that the gaps in the fences are too small for ferocious foxes, bigger birds or fearsome fiends.
So anyway, we had grown accustomed to our pigeon neighbours. We watched as they made their nests and laid their eggs. We watched as they grew and flew and came back year on year.
What we didn't realise was that they were watching us too...
We we didn't realise they were listening and learning. We didn't realise they were growing and gaining thoughts. We didn't notice as they developed limbs and lips. We never noticed the tongues that talked and eyes that observed.
That was all until, one fateful day, when there was a tap, tap, tapping at our studio door. Who could that be we wondered. The last thing we expected was our feathered friends looking to make an appointment. They laughed and leered as we looked into their eyes. It took us aback, it was like some nightmare, that we never new we feared.
"Two tailored suits they cheered!!!"
To our surprise they were more than polite, they were a delight. It was more than pleasant to meet them, they were most interested in where our ideas stem. They had a lot of opinions and a lot to say! They pulled up chairs amidst our stares. They offered their insights on our current plights.
"The world it's in a terrible state and you mate, you've put too much on you plate. These tasks you undertake, oh for heavens sake! So filled fears, it is no wonder you drown yourself in beers. Dry those tears, talk to your peers and get some help my dears."
Freshly adorned our new friends gently warned "We will leave you with this and then we must go! Us Pigeons stick together you know... Take a trick from our book and know where to look. And most of all remember the sweetest of fruit is that which is tasted and when there is a pigeon involved THERE IS NOT A SINGLE SCRAP WASTED!!!"
And with that they picked up their last chips, they shook their hips, gathered their things, spread their wings, and took off into the set sun... Ever since we have wondered whether we will ever see them again as it seems this story has only just begun.
Text and Imagery - Dom Read
So strange times are a foot and it seems like the world has gone a little bit mad!! It is frustrating for us as a brand as we finally felt like we were getting somewhere and now we feel a little lost. But more importantly and even more gravely it is devastating that something like this can happen and is happening and we as a World seem so ill equipped to handle the situation.
Not to worry and no bother, things will get better. It is just the dealing with the time in between that is the difficult part. There are things you cannot plan for; natural disasters, pandemics and panic. What you can do though is try and make the best of a shitty situation!
The Corona Virus has shaken society and left us all wondering how things are going to unfold in the coming months. As it spread across the world it was easy to be brash and arrogant.
"Ohhh that isn't going to effect us..."
A mere few weeks later and Britain along with many other countries world wide are in lockdown. To make matters worse there are no sure estimations of when things are going to return to normality! The whole situation throws a lot of things into question - the way in which we interact with one another, the lifespan of businesses, the leadership of governments and the division of resources across society to name but a few.
When we come out the other side which we most definitely will, there needs to be changes to the institutions that make our choices.
We don't have the answers but we know that more intelligent people out there that definitely do!
Despite all of the doom and gloom we feel there are many silver linings to these dark, dark clouds:
Firstly no matter how underfunded and understaffed they are THANK FUCK FOR THE NHS AND EVERYTHING THEY DO! The women and men on the front lines, day in day out, helping us and guiding us through. These incredible people wade through the piss and shit to try and keep us healthy. They are the real heroes and leaders and we are immensely lucky to have them!!!
There has been a monumentally positive response from communities banding together for the greater good! We have seen people offering help and support to the vulnerable like never before. There has also been a massive surge in the creative communities working in collaboration to try and ensure everyone keeps their head above water. It warms our hearts to see and we are sure that the community spirit is what will get us through!
And finally though lock down is drastic and shocking and could be devastating for businesses world wide it is also an opportunity. Being isolated to our homes gives us the chance to reflect and take a minute for ourselves that our otherwise normal, busy lives don't allow. It is a moment to breathe and evaluate what is important to us. We can reach out to that friend or family member we have fallen out of contact with. We can read, write, watch a series and relax. Or we can take it as a chance to grow and develop, plan that idea that you have been thinking about, learn to juggle, learn to sing, to draw, to dance or perhaps fall back in love with something you have neglected...
These dreadful times are what we make of it, together, alone, we will make it through.
As for Dread Decks...
The recent momentum that we have gathered will not be lost. Though our plans inevitably will have to change, develop and grow, for us it is business as usual. The goal hasn't changed. We will bring you care, support and an alternate opinion for you to consider.
In the coming weeks we have a veritable feast for your eye balls and ear holes!!
We have more photoshoots both old and new, blog posts, big ideas and even bigger dreams. There will be videos, recommendations, thoughts and ideas. New stock, new clothes and new approaches are all coming your way!!!
Your feedback is more than welcome and so important to us. If anyone has any ideas or projects that they want to run by us then of course fire away! Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
As always keep swimming and keep smiling but more than that, keep calm and carry on my friends.
And stay as safe as you can.
Thanks for reading.
Backstage at Somerset House... The Event, The People, The Nerves... The aftermath...
Thoughts and Musings...
Text - Dom Read Photography - Gloria Ogunyinka
It is hard to believe that it is just over a week since I took Dread Decks and the team for London to the NAMESldn event, PINES. This was at Somerset House in London as part of London Fashion Week. The event was a showcase of up and coming fashion designers and brands who focus on sustainability.
Since the event I have been following up with the people we met, continuing work on bespoke clothing commissions and really trying to develop more healthy, balanced working routines (This is something that I have needed to develop for a long time and has, I think, been something that has held me back in the past). It is hard to know what the best next steps are but things have continued moving forwards which I suppose is all one can hope for.
Okay, so rewind a few days...
I'm in London. I've had the prep meeting with the wonderful people from NAMESldn, the models are briefed, booked and on their way. There is no more waiting to be had, the event is tomorrow Saturday the 15th of February!
The alarm beeps, I roll out of bed and I'm sat on the toilet contemplating the day ahead. My phone rings, the models are at the train station in Norwich, all together and on time. The only problem is the train I told them to get isn't direct!! I explain they have to change at Cambridge. Chet says that is all good and they continue on their journey. First disaster averted, I think to myself, time for a strong coffee.
After getting ready with Gloria it is time to head to Somerset house and take the clothes with us. Any nerves have quietened, there is no turning back now, it's all in motion. If issues arise they will be dealt with as and when, but for now I am incredibly excited! We arrive at the side entrance to Somerset House, me dragging my collection along in a massive suitcase. So many questions danced around my head, what will it be like? Who will come? Will the day go fast or slow? Will the models train breakdown? Will Somerset House blow down? Will I say something stupid or know what I'm talking about? Will it work? Will I handle myself? etc? etc? ETC???
FINGERS CROSSED, FUCK IT AND HOPE FOR THE BEST!!!
Me and Gloria headed in, we showed our designer lanyards and were directed by Museum staff to where we needed to go. Richard, Rebecca and Oksanna, from the NAMES team, greeted us, introduced us to the backstage team and showed us were to put out the clothing. It was all feeling very professional and very real. I was glad that I was there nice and early so that I could work out my surroundings and get accustomed to the people I would be working with. It also allowed for a couple of nervous trips too the loo which is an absolute necessity!
The models have arrived. I run over to them in the centre courtyard of Somerset House. I am just telling them to grab a coffee as we don't quite need them just yet when I get a call from Gloria - Richard wants the models getting their makeup done now. It is go time!
I take Chet, JJ and Laura to where they need to go and explain to the makeup artists what the look is going to be. The artists begin by moisturising and smoothing their faces and then apply the first layer highlighting their features before applying the blue and white details on top. This is all quite an experience as I have never worked with so many make up artists at the same time, who are all asking me to check their looks, it is great fun! The boys hadn't had their makeup done in this way before so it was an experience for them too! They were looking amazing straight away and I was getting really excited to see them in the clothes.
Once all of their makeup was done and Laura had her hair pinned up we were pretty much sorted, just a waiting game. We took the opportunity to get a few photos taken.
Richard then collared us and showed us to our spot. We were right in the entrance to one of the rooms and right by the bar which was an ideal place to get a high footfall. I had to work out the lighting for the spot, where the models would be stood and where to position the sofa. I was a little overwhelmed by this but with a discussion with the lighting specialists, the team and trusting self intuition we got the space popping. We had two smaller lights one blue one purple that really perked up our area. I loved the fact we were placed next to the fire place allowing the models to pose next to it as well as on the sofa and in the space surrounding it.
Time to get the models dressed and get front of house, people were already starting to queue up outside. They were all looking in the windows, I managed to pick out my Mum and Dad from the crowd and gave them a wave! Mum showed off the one off jacket I had made for her, she was looking pleased as punch with what she was wearing. Backstage, the models all knew what they were wearing and me and Gloria helped them into their outfits. The looks came together in a matter of minutes. I swapped my tee for the ship shirt and we were ready to go. We took our places and waited for the fashionable hordes to fall upon us.
The anticipation was electric! Whatever happened was a bonus, I was happy and content. The models arrived fine, Mum and Dad arrived fine, we were at Somerset House, the set looked beautiful, my models looked even better, the plan had worked and we had made it. We got some product placement shots for the NAMESldn team which was very fun. We then waited for everyone to come in and out. I didn't quite know what to expect and was amazed by the amount of people who came through.
People stopped and chatted and asked questions about the collection. People also were taking photos of the models and asking to pose for photos with the collection. It was an unbelievable feeling, the general public were interested in Dread Decks clothing. I dished out business cards and stickers to anyone who stood nearby, striking up conversations and asking how people were finding the event!
And then it was all over. I was so grateful to be there and that people wanted to be involved too. This was a taste of the future and has helped me believe in my brand like never before. People want to see what I make and want to wear what I make.
Set Sail - A Coward's Tale, my graduate collection, kicked the shit out of me and ground me down. I was disappointed with my efforts when I first finished the collection and took it to Graduate Fashion Week. I had been pulled in so many different directions and taken so much advice and criticism that I no longer knew the difference between the warp and weft of my collection. Since then, after a lot of self reflection, I reframed it in my head. It was the best I could do at that point of my life in the situation I was in.
Getting invited to show with NAMESldn and then executing the event reframed my collection again. People adored the collection, something I was initially ashamed of!! I was proud to see this and felt the warmth of new fires igniting.
Just you wait until you see what is next.
Special thanks to everyone who read about the event or engaged with us on the day.
Thank you to Richard and the team at NAMES LDN and everyone you got involved - @itschrisyates @hairbybrendan using @unite_hair @michelle.strain for @aofmakeup using @dermalogica
Thank you to Dread Decks Team Manager Gloria Ogunyinka and Models Chet Hutton, JJ and Laura Jellings.
Thank you Mum for the handknitted hats and Dad for always being there.
Keep Swimming, Keep Smiling and Keep Believing.
Thanks for reading.
Text - Dom Read Photography - Flora Platt
I have been looking forward to getting a proper photoshoot done of my graduate collection! I had beautiful photos of the process of making the clothes and from Graduate Fashion Week but I never got round to arranging a stylised shoot to show off my garments.
Having reconnected with Flora at a networking event we hit it off straight away bouncing off each other’s energy!
I had been a little nervous about getting a shoot sorted, I felt like because it had been such a long time it needed to be something spectacular. I put a lot of pressure on it being good and this was stopping the ideas from flowing.
I realised I was over complicating what didn’t need to be complicated! It’s easy not to notice the beauty in the things you see every day. I spend so much of my time in my studio I wasn’t seeing what was before my eyes!!
We booked the shoot and the day got closer and closer. My brother came to visit and I drummed up the troops and it was go time!!
What I’m trying to say with this little blurb is don’t overthink to the point of analysis, paralysis! The ideas come from the doing, so book the shoot and work it out as you go along.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the wood when you are lost in the trees!
Cheers for reading!
A Cup Of Tea With D.Read..
I decided to write this blog to offer more insight into the values and ideals of the Dread Decks. Also to offer some behind the scenes info into the inner workings of Dread Decks.