In Conversation With Dean and Dan of DSquared2

Celebrating the 25th anniversary and taking a look at the brand’s past, present and future.

Back in 1995, Canadian-born twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten have sent their first menswear collection under the DSquared2 label down the runway. Their creative path has been marked by a slew of theatrical and unique runway shows and iconic moments: creating a wardrobe for Madonna’s video in 2000, having Naomi Campbell and Karolina Kurkova walk the show for their first womenswear collection in 2003, designing a customized leather jacket for Beyoncé’s Superbowl 50 performance in 2016… The list goes on. 

The brand was born out of Dean and Dan’s creative vision, emerging as an eclectic mix of their Canadian roots, Italian tailoring and craftsmanship and all-out glamour. 25 years later, these ethe are still at the core of the lifestyle-focused company.

While the brothers like many other people around the world are spending time and celebrating DSquared’s 25th anniversary at home, VMAN talked to them about what they have been up to in quarantine, looked back at the years passed and mulled over what this time period might mean for the future of their brand and fashion industry as a whole.

To all the DSquared2 fans out there — read the full interview below, and watch out for the pre-fall product launch set to hit the market shortly.

Photograph by Inez and Vinoodh

VMAN How are you both holding up in these difficult times? Where are you quarantining/celebrating DSQUARED2’s 25th anniversary?

Dean: We are OK. Our loved ones, colleagues and ourselves are healthy, so that’s the main thing. We are looking to the future and getting used to the ‘new normal.’ We have never stopped working, even if we were at home, but of course, we had time to breathe and to re-think everything. It is our 25th anniversary year – a special one but of course something unexpected happened. This is an important milestone for us and for the brand and in this challenging time, we really want to continue to be positive, passionate more than ever and relevant. Our celebratory plans will be different but just as impactful!

V What have you been keeping yourselves busy with?

Dan: I have enjoyed fitness. Dean has been reading more and listening to music. We had such good “brothers brainstormings” and time to understand how to get the best from this period.

Our family and friends were far away but we still felt close to them thanks to technology. We have always been in touch with our supportive team and we have been continued to work through digital. It was something new for us but also differently stimulating.

V Your brand has now been in business for a quarter of a century, and you guys have a lifetime of experiences working together. What have you learned over this period of time?

Dan: Truly, I think it is that time goes by so fast! I remember when we started with our first ever collection and never even dreamt about the adventure that we have been on together and all of the incredible people and experiences that we have encountered along the way. Our bond as twins has always been our strength for our entire life and even in this period, being together was a fortune. Family has always been the most important thing. 

V Over time, DSQUARED2 has grown from a denim-focused into a global lifestyle brand. Could you walk us through how that happened, what did you have in mind when you were just launching the company?

Dean: We have always considered fashion and creativity the only things that made us feel good. Really good. We never imagined ourselves doing something else. We transformed our passion into reality. We wanted to create our brand and we worked a lot to do that.

Yes, denim is part of our DNA. The link to it came from our past. You know, our father didn’t want us to wear it when we were little because it made us look poor (we were poor) and we could not afford it anyway. So it was like an object of desire because we really loved it. That “forbidden fruit” then became our signature. Over time we have become mature and more aware. The brand has grown with us and needs have expanded. We like to think that today Dsquared2 is more of an experience and family that can leave you with different emotions. It is about fashion but also lifestyle that completely tells about us and our vision.

V DSQUARED2’s story is rich with iconic moments — from Naomi Campbell walking the runway for your first-ever womenswear collection in 2003 to featuring Rihanna in your shows. Do you guys have any key moments that are special or stand out to you in particular?

Dan: We love everyone that we have had the absolute pleasure of collaborating with. We love DIVAS! Madonna, Jennifer (Lopez), Naomi (Campbell), and Beyonce (Knowles) are just a few of the ladies we have had the privilege to dress and work closely with. Each experience has been unique but we love the passion and individuality that each person we dress brings to the forefront.

V Do you have a favorite collection or show? Or a product or products that you consider your personal favorites?

Dean: Well, there are several shows from the past that we loved like the first women’s show with Naomi racing towards a private jet or our last FW20 show that we presented in Milan in January was especially poignant, especially when Sister Sledge came out to perform. It was a moment that was very emotional to us. But basically, I have to say that we loved all the shows and collections because they are part of our life, tell about a particular moment, inspiration. They are just us.

V Looking back, were there any moments happening along the way that you didn’t expect to come up?

Dan: Of course! There were days that we couldn’t make ends meet and were emerging struggling designers. We never take anything for granted and are truly thankful for each and every day and for what we have accomplished so far. You know what, we are positive and funny people but we are very committed to our work and we always try to stay down to earth.

V Is there anything you would have done differently, given the knowledge and experience you have now?

Dan: I’m not sure, we are true believers that everything happens for a reason. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Do we have a few regrets? Of course, but that has led us to where we are today, so we wouldn’t change anything.

V What do you guys have in mind for the launch of your Spring/Summer 2021 collection?

Dean: This is unfortunately too early to say. We will be following closely the guidelines set by the Italian government and WHO as to and what fashion weeks can look like. We do not know exactly how fashion shows will be but, of course, we know that this period has changed our mindset and the way we look at everything. We can just be creative and focused more than ever, look at our brand identity, and try to figure out how to communicate everything in the best way.

V And looking further into the future, what do guys have in store for all the DSQUARED2 fans around the world?

Dan: Definitely, more fashion fabulosity and good times to come for all!!

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