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!
So it’s been a funny old time... I anticipated the freedom and focus that I would get after finishing my internship! Head down, work hard, get things going again. This has been the case but my efforts have been directed in ways that I wasn’t expecting.
I’ve been working on commissions and custom orders which is very exciting. I’ve also been preparing my most recent collection for London fashion week. I’ve finally done a photoshoot of Set Sail my graduate collection. I’ve planned more than ever, I’ve thought about the brand in a different way and I’ve found my confidence again. It feels incredible to have been asked to show my work off in London as a part of fashion week. Such an honor.
As I said though, this is not what I had expected or planned. I thought I would graduate and it would be onto the next collection! New films, new events and new art. I thought it would be skateboarding for breakfast, tailoring for lunch and DJing for dinner. It’s more like a mad scramble to make what I can with the resources I have already made and with the time I have available to me.
Despite wanting to do so much and not seeing those things happen for the first time in as long as I can remember I don’t feel incredibly stressed, worried, fearful or filled with regret. I’ve been reading a lot trying to reframe my approach to my work, the company and my life. For too long everything has been panic stations and doomsday diversions. Too much self doubt and poor perspective hasn’t just slowed the process, it’s made it painful.
I’m always preaching keep swimming, keep smiling and keep believing and yet I’m never living it myself. I hide away from my self inflicted reality rather than facing the facts and fighting my fears.
Opportunities come and go like buses. With a little bit of patience and a lot less ruminating you notice the ones that arrive more than the ones that don’t...
Plans happen when they happen and huffing and puffing about it in between only leaves you short of breath!!!
Go with the flow and grow with the flow.
Thanks for being patient.
So it’s been a little while of very little movement. Sporadic flashes that fluttered by.
Things lost the pace they initially began with and quietened off. Communications have been intermittent and lacking the original zealous that they were once rammed full of.
Dread Decks is a one man band with the support of many incredible people. Over the coming few months I shall go into more detail of why things paused, I’ll touch on many things from mental health to business, relationships to sunken ships, future planning to focussing. The top and bottom of it was in order to grow further we had to further, ourselves first.
In the coming few weeks we have lots of really exciting things on their way for you!!! We shall be releasing never seen before photoshoots both old and new! In celebration of where we have got to, we will be taking a look back over the years that got us here! There will be new art, blog posts, an email newsletter and some new videos on their way. We have two brand new Dread Tailoring commissions that we can’t wait to reveal! And finally we have a big event coming up in London that we shall be revealing more about very soon!!
It’s going to be a mad couple of weeks and we are so glad you came along for the ride!! Thanks for reading, keep swimming and keep smiling!!
Love Dom x
Backstage at On|Off London... Lee Lapthorne... Fashion...
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.