It’s been bloody ages since the last brand feature here at FatKidOnFire, way back at the start of October with our interview with Ireland’s OutCry Apparel. After our earlier MakeItGood x FKOF feature with Boot, we take a quiet step back from the bass and sit down with a small, DIY t-shirt brand from Belgium…
As with quite a lot of the recent brands we’ve featured here on FKOF, Belgium’s DAWN Clothing are quietly making a name for themselves. It’s not actually a them, it’s more of a he. 21 year old Matthew recently got in touch with FKOF and asked if we still featured streetwear/ independent brands here on the site. Which, of course, we do! The MakeItGood series seems to have hit stratospheric new levels over the past few months, but we started as a ‘fashion’ blog so that’s where our roots lie.
We had a look at DAWN, and although Matthew only has three designs, and were impressed with what we saw – and with his vision. We caught up with him to find out more…
Who and what is DAWN Clothing? DAWN is a new t-shirt brand from Belgium. The brand is inspired by hardcore-punk,hip-hop and counterculture in general. The main focus is producing designs with a message or story behind them and achieve some sort of recognition.
I’m Matthew, I’m 21 years old and am a business-management student and artist in heart and soul. And I run DAWN in its entirety!
You’re flying the flag for the one-man-brand; how have you found running a streetwear brand on your own? What lead you to starting out on your own? I started DAWN out of passion and pure ambition. I had to find a way to communicate my thoughts via art and make some money along with it!
At that time of starting (10 months ago), I was following The Hundreds blog almost daily, I got so intrigued by the way they run their company. And I was watching the HBO series ‘How to Make It in America‘. Those two factors combined gave me the idea to start working with t-shirts.
Who or what influences you in your work? My biggest influence are my most favorite artists or bands: Rise Against, Mike Shinoda, Shepard Fairey, Mac Miller, Macklemore, Comeback Kid, Shawn Barber, The King Blues… When I refer to a band, the most important thing for me are the lyrics of a song or the vibe I get when listening to it. Not just because they do something in one way and I’ll just copy that.
I connect with whatever they do or say and I take that connection or feeling and try to put it down on paper and visualize it.
You’ve got a few tee designs in the webstore at the moment; what are your plans for extending the product line? Right now I’m working on a sweater/ hoody that will be available somewhere in early December.
After that I’ll take a break from the designing and see how people react to DAWN as a whole. If all goes well, I want to release some new t-shirts in the spring, I already have some designs that I know will be loved by alot of people. I just need the money to print them. I would love to have my own snapback one day!
What does or will distinguish DAWN from the rest of the streetwear being dropped in Belgium these days? The biggest difference is that DAWN isn’t just about having cool graphics. I want it to have that spark that makes people think and gets discussions going.
I wanted to do what my favorite brands and bands do, make something beautiful that carries a message and maybe change the way people think or look at their surroundings. As Belgium goes, there isn’t much of a streetwear scene here. Everyone buys whatever is being pushed in stores. I want to make DAWN something that people will be proud of and know that this came from Belgium, and is not just another corporate sellout that fakes a lifestyle, just so you will like it and give them your hard-earned cash.
What’s your take on the independent clothing scene in the UK at the moment? How do we compare to the rest of the world – can UK brands compete on an international stage? Honestly I don’t know much about the UK clothing scene. I have been to London once a few years ago. And I know that Johnny Cupcakes opened a flagship store there recently. That’s it! I would love to spend more time in the UK and get to know some more brands. I know there are some great talents and good brands, I just haven’t found them yet.
Where do you see you and DAWN being in 5 years time? Hopefully it will still exist in 5 years. It just started out and I can tell you, it’s been crazy so far. I’m really excited about what the future will bring. If I let my dreams run wild, DAWN would be a internationally known brand. I would have my own shop somewhere in Belgium and have dealers in all the major cities around the globe.
Where can people expect to catch your product, is DAWN in any physical stores? Not yet, right now the only place where you can buy DAWN is on the website. I would love to sell to stores though! If you have one or know some people that run one, tell them about DAWN!
If you could say something to your fans, what would it be? Likewise to your haters? All I can say to both sides is THANK YOU! for all the support and motivation you have given me throughout my journey.
If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I just want to say that if you like or love what someone is doing, just tell them. It gives them so much positive energy, motivation and drive to push even harder!
Most of the people that I know, that like my t-shirts, never come up to me and just tell me. I find out weeks later that they liked something on my blog, or that they really connected with one of my designs!
Top 5 favourite albums?
- Jason Mraz – Mr.A-Z
- The Killers – Sam’s Town
- Common – Finding Forever
- Lupe Fiasco – Food and Liquor
- Rise Against – Siren Song of the Counterculture.
Shoutouts Shoutout to all my friends and family! FKOF for doing this interview, love the site [thanks for the kind words man]! And you for reading the whole thing through!
Although there’s a limited number of designs to see, we think what Matt’s trying to do is admirable. It takes a lot of guts to run with your dreams and start producing t-shirts! But 9.9 times out of 10 there will be people, somewhere in the world (if not closer to home!), who will enjoy what you do. DAWN’s success so far (and FatKidOnFire’s!) is down to people enjoying what Matt/ we do. Long may it continue!
If you have any thoughts on what Matt from DAWN Clothing has had to say, or want to recommend us a new brand you’ve discovered or just want a chat about something you’ve seen on FatKidOnFire, fire us a comment below or get in touch via email, Twitter, Facebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.