The ease with which designer Dashiel Brahmann talks about his eponymous menswear line reflects his own brand of cool. Rather than immediately boasting about his experience at Thom Browne, he leads by describing his humble upbringing in Longport, New Jersey, a small seaside town just south of Atlantic City.
“The ocean is a big part of my life,” says the designer, who is now based in New York City. His parents were creatives—his dad, an architect and interior designer, his mom, an art teacher. “Surfing, skateboarding and music is where my inspiration came from at a young age—being an artist or creating clothing is just kind of how it manifested, I guess,” he suggests. Later attending The Fashion Institute of Technology, where he studied menswear, he eventually had the opportunity to assist Browne. He went on to work at Patrik Ervell and the Brooklyn store Pilgrim Surf + Supply, where his first designs sold out in one month.
Through it all, his greatest source of inspiration has remained with his upbringing in Longport, surrounded by artists, designers and surfers. When asked to summarize the ethos of his brand, Brahmann settles on the word “freedom”.
“The brand started with a desire to make washed linen clothing that was easy to take care of and took on the personality of its user over time. Since then it’s become something much more honest,” he muses. Using embroidery, vintage fabrics and patchwork, his collection has a straightforward, slightly nostalgic appeal. Signature styles include camp-collared shirts made from vintage textiles like 1960s cotton lace tablecloths and 1940s West African linen. The designer is particularly fond of voiles from the ’20s through the ’70s. “They have this really beautiful stained-glass quality when in the light,” says Brahmann, adding that they’re great for summer because of their light weight.
“I love using the reverse side of hand stitched quilt toppers or any embroidered tablecloths,” he adds. “It’s so beautiful to celebrate hand craftsmanship and imperfection. One can only imagine how long each of those pieces took to sew.” His graphic printed towel jackets, made with 1970s terrycloth towels, have also proven to be a bestseller. Each one requires four matching towels, which the designer notes is quite difficult to come by. Elsewhere, his tailoring prowess is on display in minimalist separates in super 100s wool, simply accented with hand-stitched details, and louche, ’70s-inflected suiting.
Brahmann is a designer by trade, but undoubtedly an artist by nature. Much of his brand is made-to-order. “I used to do wholesale and, since Covid, I’ve changed the business model. I feel free to be creative,” he says. “Not having to commit to huge minimums or other manufacturing limitations takes a lot of the stress off of the entire process.”
While he’s weary of the word “sustainable” being overused in the fashion industry, observing that nothing can be 100 percent sustainable, eco-friendly practices are of clear importance to him. By using only vintage and deadstock materials for pieces that are made-to-order, he eliminates excess waste from his production process. Likewise, all packaging is made from 100 percent post-consumer materials.
It’s nearly impossible for brands to remain under the radar in our age of social media, so it’s surprising Brahmann has endured as something of an insider secret since launching his brand in 2017. “I’ve always had a hard time with self-promotion,” the designer admits. “What I really want to focus on is getting my customer something truly special—made with love and made the right way.”
Marketing may not be in his DNA, but Brahmann’s brand is growing at a steady pace. When the world opens back up, he plans on hosting international pop-ups. Over the past year, he’s also been developing a secondary brand that uses 100 percent natural materials and will donate 10 percent of all profits to clean energy organizations. “It’s all ready and packaged to go,” he says, “I’m just looking for investment. If there’s anyone out there: hit me up!” Ultimately, though, he’s not in it to get rich. “I’m just looking to enjoy life, strike a good balance and surf more.”