There is something innately special about being able to create with others, and to experience a single idea come together through the different vibrations that make us up as individuals is a truly beautiful thing. It is on this pillar of co-creation that a rising giant in the clothing apparel industry stands upon. A few weeks ago Damascus invited us out to their warehouse in sunny San Diego to give us an inside glimpse into their world to see what they were all about.
We’re here in your warehouse that doubles as a printing shop and creative studio. Although the designs for your company physically come out of this space, what are some other places that inspire your art and concepts?
“Create with us” A mantra that’s constantly refreshed and spoken around our space means exactly that. You’re a creator? Great, let’s combine our passions and make something special that others can enjoy and connect with. Technology has made our world a much more relatable space, we can reach across the globe and intimately create with others. Being open and available to work and collaborate with artists of all mediums and genres not only adds to our growth and flexibility, but also fuels inspiration and stimulates creativity.
Damascus is a city in Syria which you chose to name your company after. Is there anything specific about this city that you are trying to associate with?
Damascus is the longest occupied still standing city on Earth. At one point it was a mega trading hub. The planets most valuable pieces went through this geographical spot and acted almost as a connecting piece for the rest of the world. It’s a powerful name with a strong background. Damascus Apparel is forming into a hub or connecting piece for many like-minded creators around the world. Online and in person. This is why we infuse the message “We are all connected.” throughout our ecosystem.
Your art reveals a balance between sacred symbols of the ancient world and geometric shapes that we interpret as technology. Where does the connection between the past and the future influence your goals as a clothing company.
When a human being first approaches or faces another human being, the first thing they scan is the eyes. Second is the appearance or shape of the body. ( You might see us black out the eyes in a lot of our media, driving the focus towards the body )
The way colors and symbols interact with the body speak volumes and if done properly compliment the way the body looks and even brings people to connect.
Most of the symbols we incorporate into our work typically sit within the theme unique to the piece and current time, but since sacred geometry is timeless and infinite, it’s easy to infuse throughout our work and interact with the past and future. By using these bold symbols that some understand, but most don’t notice or analyze, people are drawn to one another by either curiosity or comfort, and then they connect.
Damascus’s support in the EDM community is undeniably apparent by the amount of fans and artists who can be found rocking your apparel at clubs and music festivals. How do you want people to feel while wearing your gear and what type of connection makes your clothing different than others?
People are very similar yet amazingly different. Person A can wear a shirt that says: “420 squad” while person B can wear a shirt that clearly says: “Fuck bitches get money” and Person C can wear our limitation piece. Now, anyone would immediately take a look at Person A and B to understand that Person A enjoys smoking pot and Person B likes to have sex while having a job that pays them enough to survive comfortably.
The thing about person C, is that he or she might also desire those things, but understands the sophistication and undeniable perfection and balance of our reality…which makes it hard to broadcast such simplistic and surface level messages to connect with or attract others. People should feel they are representing a more disciplined and sought after understanding of themselves, the world, their goals and why they do things. When wearing Damascus Apparel the goal is to bring these like-minded individuals together.
What are some recent milestones that have particularly challenged your team?
Damascus was formed in 2009, then, the problem was learning how to interact internally with synergy and how to express ourselves in a way where we could produce products that are desirable…Now the challenge is collaborating with people all over the world. Retailers, Labels, Event production teams, management / agencies and other brands.
Everyone has their own way of doing things and unless the vision is crystal clear on both ends, the end goal can be difficult to achieve.
We are small yet flexible, but working with larger brands that demand wide volumes of content has been challenging for us to provide. Although, since we have invited others to “create with us”, people around the world are contributing content and showing love in ways we couldn’t have imagined. This also creates a very unique bond among The People of Silk and Steel.
Although your company has successfully reached a wide audience, you guys still hold a strong presence in the San Diego community. What is the importance of building this type of local influence?
When you’re taking off or landing on an airplane, looking down on the city it is a hive, a city is a hive, with distinct form holding its own energy mixed with its own kind of people, nature and weather.
The universal timing and geographical location provides a sui-generis or unique energy that no other place has…It’s possible for this energy, this culture, these people, this message, to travel or move through the world like blood moves through your veins.
Damascus’ founders and soul was born in San Diego and is now strong enough to flow with people around the world. The importance of a strong local influence and foundation – for a brand – is as important as having a heart pump in your body. It’s the soil where you bury your roots to grow a large tree to bear fruit for the rest of the world to eat. We’re still a very small fish in a vast and always shifting ocean….but when we are a school of fish, we can navigate the ocean perspicaciously. San Diego, CA is where we have grown our roots and have vigorously built local influence, partnerships and experiences.
Do you have any surprises in store for the rest of the year?
Absolutely – More than ever. Collabs, Festival Takeovers and new experimental pieces are all launching before the end of this year.
You guys and your brand are truly inspiring. What would you say to the readers out there that are just beginning to chase their dreams?
Assuming that you determined this is the dream that aligns with the type of mind you have and also suits your natural skillset….2 things we can say to start:
1) Practice Stoicism, the endurance of hardship without complaint.
Go buy 3 books and read them straight through without being distracted: “The obstacle is the way”, “The war of art”, and “Personal Development for Smart People”.
2) Understand that there is no guarantee for any amount of time, effort or energy that you spend or commit to a goal or dream. If it takes 2 years or 20 years this is the path you have set on and if you are truly passionate and willing to sacrifice everything to have it, time is not the obstacle. It is simply yourself.
Photography credit to San Diego based creator: TIGER DIV