Interview: Dire Threads
The Toronto skate-inspired fashion brand are giving back with their latest line.
Skate-inspired fashion brand Dire Threads is a sole proprietorship- owned exclusively by founder Tim Schijns, who creates every design, tie-dyes his products, manages the sales, and ships his pieces. The Toronto-based clothing company is online only, but can also be found popping up at Hamilton arts festival Supercrawl.
"Back in early 2017, Dire Threads was started with my friend Dillon Nusca," said Schijns. "We had spent the previous summer doing a lot of markets and selling our own screen printed tees, and decided to join forces. We only did one drop together, about a dozen shirts, a couple crewnecks and a hoodie. All printed in the OCADU screen printing lab. After we sold that first run we went our separate ways but I kept the Dire Threads name to sell new merch under. I designed the first version of the logo later that year."
The artist takes inspiration from 80s and 90s styles, skating and surfing culture, classic band t-shirts, and hand-drawn cartoons.
"Dire Threads was created to make my artwork accessible to everyone," said Schijns. "One of the first shirts I created was based on a painting that I’d spent a year working on- only one person is now in possession of that painting, but everyone who bought the shirt can experience the artwork as well"
Schijns started selling Dire Threads clothing back in 2017.
"I launched the website and the first few online sales happened in 2017," said Schijns. "Four or five months of planning went into that. There has definitely been ups and downs, summers are busy and winters are slower. The summer of 2018 was when I first noticed a following, it was a big summer for me- a store on Queen West was carrying half my inventory, and I was selling the other half at markets and pop-ups across the GTHA."
The designer makes sure to give back when selling his clothing.
"Some of the most popular products selling right now are face masks," said Schijns. "That, and the No Justice No Peace tee. 50% of sales from both of these products are donated- the mask to Rainbow Railroad, and the shirt to the Equal Justice Initiative. It’s great to see everyone supporting these causes!"
The artist has new designs in the works.
"Right now I’m working on a long sleeve shirt," said Schijns. "The front, both sleeves, and back will all be screen printed with different designs. It’ll be released in the Spring."
When speaking on the future, Schijns hopes to expand, open studio space, and collab with other artists.
"I hope to begin expanding, and growing the team," said Schijn. "Moving operations to a proper studio space, collaborating with other designers and artists on new releases, and getting products carried by international stockists once retail opens back up."
Looking to help support the brand during COVID? Schijn has a few.
"Coronavirus cancelled a year’s worth of markets, which were a great opportunity to connect with new customers and meet other local brands," said Schijn. "Thankfully, this void has been filled by the creation of new online marketplaces such as Koda Collective and Fitted Fast. You can support dozens of local brands on those sites, including Dire Threads. The full catalogue is available at direthreads.com."
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)