The Garmsman Dozen #19: Dachi from Brighton

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Welcome to the 19th instalment of the “Garmsman Dozen” question and answer session. The response so far has been tremendous. Did you miss earlier ones? There are links at the end of the page.

This week we welcome to the Garmsman Dachi from the UK!

Name: Dachi, 32

Instagram: @nei.nor

Location: I grew up in Denmark/Georgia, but I now live in Brighton, England.

Job: I’m an economic and policy analyst.

Hobbies: I spend my free time listening to podcasts, leather craft, vintage watches, basketball and [mostly vintage] menswear.

 

1. Thinking back to your childhood, what were your most memorable or favourite clothes?

I’ve gone through various ‘phases’, like most people. In my teens (early 2000s), I used to go to a charity shop near my school. That’s probably where I bought the clothes I remember most fondly. Some of the best stuff I bought there included a pair of dark navy, high-waisted, double pleated turn-ups and a maroon velvet blazer. I wore it a lot it with a white Kangol flat cap, a white shirt and a striped blue tie. I was 15 or 16, and I thought I looked like Samuel L. Jackson or one of those cool jazz musicians I saw on the covers of my grandad’s LP collection. The reality was, no doubt, quite different…

2. How would you describe your style today, and what are your influences?

In terms of what I wear casually, I think it’s definitely rooted in traditional Americana, heritage style and workwear but I like to mix ‘genres’ and incorporate contemporary stuff as well.

I also really like seeing how women wear menswear and vintage menswear, in particular. I think they often put together colours and silhouettes that men typically wouldn’t.

3. When looking for clothes, what factors play into your selections?

It depends on whether I’m buying vintage or contemporary stuff.

With vintage, it’s a ‘crap shoot’ and you’re usually limited by what’s available. So, I don’t tend to look for very specific things. I mainly care about whether something just strikes me as aesthetically pleasing, whether it has an interesting history and whether it fits me well. I don’t care as much about the brand, quality or even whether I ‘need’ it. So with vintage, I could have all the intentions of finding the perfect pair of vintage Chuck Taylors, but end up buying a random summer camp sweatshirt instead – much to the dismay of my wife…

When it comes to modern stuff, I tend to be a lot more focused and picky, especially about the ethics of the production. I’m mainly drawn to micro/small brands, where you know there’s, at most, a couple of people that run the business or possibly even make the goods. I love brands like Tender co., Dawson Denim and S.E.H Kelly. I’m also really interested in the increasing number of brands that are trying to produce more basic, quality garments through ethical means at an affordable price point. I think Community Clothing really stands out when it comes to this.

4. Most garmsmen will have a few “grail items” in their collection. Not to out you, but if your house is burning, which garments do you grab?

It would probably be my granddad’s old cardigan. It’s a terrible piece of clothing. It has completely lost its shape. It is made from Soviet wool, which is itchier than a tropical fungal infection, but it has sentimental value. That, and my granddad’s old watch – which in ‘mechanical watch terms’ is potentially worse than the cardigan. But again, I’d hate to ever lose it.

5. What would you never wear? 

I’ve been breaking this rule recently, but generally, I never wear anything black. Growing up in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, black/grey was everywhere and wearing colours was seen as ‘garish’ or ‘feminine’. So in the teenage rebellion phase of my life (which, so far, has lasted into my early 30s), I’ve actively avoided wearing black and instead ‘pranced around’ and embraced colours.

6. Do you have a dream garment you’d love to own?

I’m desperately looking for the perfect vintage bowling shirt with a contrast colour. Ideally, in pink. Do drop me a DM, if you have one 😉

7. Do you have any style icons, historic or current?

I grew up watching Jean-Paul Belmondo (aka. “the real Steve McQueen”) and Indiana Jones. So as a kid, I was obsessed with that sort of ‘refined rugged’ look. Then in my teens, I was really into “The Fresh Prince” and Andre 3000.

In recent years, I’ve been really into styles that blend vintage Americana and workwear with more contemporary stuff. I really like Macklemore, but John Mayor is probably the undisputed king.

On the more formal side, I really want to be Patrick Grant when I grow up. I think Jason Jules is always spot on, and I’d love to smoke cigarettes like Ethan Newton.

8. If your clothes need repairs or alterations, do you do it yourself?

Yes. I think everyone should try to do the basic alterations. It makes you appreciate your clothes more, saves you money and makes you popular with your partner…

9. Do you make any of your own clothes?

Yes, I have made a couple of things for myself and it’s something I want to do much more of. I made a noragi style jacket and I’ve made a skirt and a pair of trousers for my wife as well.

So I’ve not quite converted a tent or a pair of trousers into a waistcoat yet – but the contestants on the Great British Sewing Bee better watch out in 2035!

10. How do you see your style evolving going forwards? 

I think the beautiful thing about vintage clothing is that you can always ‘upgrade’ your clothes over time. So for example, I have a lovely vintage G1 leather jacket currently, but I’d eventually like to find an even better one someday. So I think I’ll probably end up having mostly similar stuff, but hopefully ‘better’ versions of the same garments over time.

11. How do you think trends such as denim and heritage style will evolve and survive? What will be the next big thing?

Niel Bohr once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future”. As an analyst, I’m very conscious that any prediction I make will definitely be wrong. BUT I did predict that fanny packs/bum bags would be a thing again a few years ago – even before Joe Rogan did….so let me have a go.

In general, I think transparency and ethics will continue to become ever more important, especially now that it’s increasingly clear it doesn’t have to come at a massive premium.

Within the sub-genres of menswear that I care most about, heritage/rugged/vintage etc., I think we’ve hit peak ‘ruggedness’. I accept that some people will always insist on wearing 28oz denim, but the exaggerated focus on everything always needing to be completely over-engineered, I think, will slowly give way to a more pragmatic appreciation for comfort and style. That doesn’t mean quality won’t matter but I think it means ‘ultimate ruggedness’ won’t unquestionably equal ‘ultimate product’. The watch equivalent is a shift from chunky Panerais and Submarines to more streamlined Reversos and vintage Omega Seamasters.

I think menswear is too serious and focused on trying to rationally or objectively assess style at the moment. On Instagram, I’ve been joking a lot about how I’m ‘prancing’ with my clothes. I don’t think we should return to the peacocking of the French royal courts of Louis XIV, but I do think there’s an attempt to bring too much science and not enough art into style currently. There’s a lot of this in the various menswear forums, which seem to have become echo chambers with people taking things a little too seriously. I think this probably comes from the legacy of traditional rules of tailoring, but also just from some sort of uneasiness by many men to generally embrace things at a purely aesthetic level. However, I think the pendulum is slowly swinging the other way and I think it’ll make things more fun.

Thank you, Dachi!

You can find Dachi on Instagram as @nei.nor

Did you miss the first Garmsman Dozens?

PS: If you have suggestions a next garmsman, let me know. Or have your mother suggest you, if even if you’re a bit keen to suggest yourself. My email is WellDressedDad (@) gmail.com

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