Stockholm, Sweden -- Proving punk is very much alive in modern day Stockholm, Deadwood co-founders Carl Ollson and Felix von Bahder are immaculately armed in the rebellion against the traditional fashion industry. Their armor consists of badass leather jackets strong enough to hold their own and accessories, I dare say they are fully equipped? Deadwood is counter-culture and anti-establishment while mastering the art of dope ethical fashion by only using recycled leather and adding new products to their line bi-annually. Deadwood ensures that each garment is a reworked iconic style from a time gone by. Should you Deadwood? I would.
If you're unfamiliar with Deadwood's vibe, check out their latest campaign video below:
I had the good fortune of being able to interview Deadwood founder, Carl Ollson. Ollson and his partner, von Bahder launched Deadwood in 2012 and at the time had no intention of being ethical fashion warriors, they just wanted to do something different. Read about the difference Deadwood is making in my interview below:
Carl Ollson + Felix von Bahder
Kelly Madera: Deadwood has an edgy look that is empirically on trend without trying to be. How do you achieve that?
Carl Ollson: We put a lot of focus on not being a trend driven brand. We constantly look to the past when creating our collections. Looking at old music magazines, videos of our favorite artists etc. Music is also a huge inspiration!
KM: Who do you see as Deadwood’s competition in the retail market?
CO: Difficult to say. Perhaps BLK DNM? However they're not competitive in terms of price or sustainability, just their aesthetic that's similar. A large portion of our customers are vegans and/or really into sustainable fashion and would never buy a newly produced leather jacket. While at the same time we have sustainability unaware customers that want a good looking jacket that doesn’t fucking ruin them financially.
KM: The ethical fashion industry is gaining traction, and while Deadwood uses leather products, many of them are either recycled or upcycled. Where do you source your materials from? Do you find this to be the crux the brand?
CO: So we make all our leather jackets/accessories from recycled leather. We have our own set up in South East Asia close to a number of pretty expansive vintage markets, it is there that we source old garments that have reached their expiration date in terms of style and fit. After purchasing, we chop them up and reconfigure the old material into newly crafted, beautiful, up cycled jackets and accessories with a vintage soul.
As you can imagine, it's an odd way of doing things and profusely time consuming. With that in mind we have garnered a great crew to work with, specifically in South East Asia and honestly, I consider them family. We all believe in and love what we are doing. We’re changing the way people view the leather industry one recycled leather jacket at a time.
KM: Does Deadwood have any certifications, or any special impact measure tools to track their environmental or social impact?
CO: We’re signed up to Sedex but that’s about it. For those that don't know, SedEx is a global not-for-profit membership organization, home to the world's largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. With the help of SedEx we at Deadwood have started gathering information on the impact and will try to share this on all our products. It’s a cool story - more coming soon!
KM: What inspired the creation of Deadwood?..I have to say it is very badass Swedish..!
CO: We originally met as colleagues in a jean shop in Stockholm. After several years of of dreaming and talking about we finally we opened our own vintage boutique. At this boutique we cultivated our fascination for timeless design and our love for used, pre-loved clothes. From this original shop, our brand evolved, and doing this a different way became a staple for Deadwood.
KM: No ethical brand can ever be perfect, but are there any improvements that you have intentions of cultivating?
CO: Currently, we are working on implementing other product groups using recycled materials. On top of that list is denim. A jeans collection is something Deadwood plans to put out in the next year or so. In order to accomplish it, we have to find the right people to collaborate with. In regards to what we’re currently doing, we never started waving a flag stating that we are some kind of environmental heroes, we just wanted to do something different. The fashion industry tends to be viewed as forward thinking, but in my opinion it isn't, if anything it is the opposite. Deadwood is all about wanting to shake things up. We all do the best we can with what we've got! At Deadwood we as an company are always evolving and constantly in search of new ways to create timeless, trend-less fashion that new, inventive, and most importantly - fun!
Do you even Deadwood?
You f*cking should!