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Brand Focus: Dsquared2

Fri 02 Feb 24

How to describe Dsquared2 in one phrase? Well, the brand’s motto 'Born in Canada, living in London, and Made in Italy’ has done it already, by tracing the founders’ journey from where they came from to where they’re at now.

Identical twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten aren’t afraid of showing off who they are, and often choose to do so in the most extra way possible.

They most recently stole the spotlight at their Milan Fashion Week show with a stunt involving twin models, a futuristic box and radical outfit changes.



Raised in Toronto by an English mother and Italian father, the Catens bring their multicultural upbringing into their design style.

Despite briefly studying at Parsons School of Design in New York, the twins dropped out and returned to Canada, where they got hired as designers at Ports International 1961.

The call of the motherland pulled them to Milan in 1991, where collaborations with Versace and Diesel paved the way for the official launch of Dsquared2 in 1995.

Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel, played a pivotal role in funding the brand from the start, and this influence is evident in Dsquared2's enduring love affair with denim.

Now Dsquared2 is firmly established under Rosso's fashion group OTB (Only the Brave), particularly its subsidiary Staff-International.

The Catens had ventured into various short-lived fashion businesses before finding their stride in Dsquared. Other than the fact they clearly do everything together, the Catens’ journey underscores a valuable lesson – perseverance pays off! 



Celebrity Culture

Dsquared2 found its biggest fans in the music industry, thanks to its specialty in bold and sassy designs. A lifechanging moment arrived in 2000-2001, when Madonna commissioned the Catens for 150 pieces used in her Drowned World Tour and the 'Don't Tell Me' music video.

It was all uphill from there. Since then, the brand has dressed pop icons like Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Britney, and Beyoncé, while the likes of Naomi Campbell, Rihanna and even adult film star Rocco Siffredi have featured as runway models.

It has dressed Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and George Clooney for the red carpet. The brand’s ‘go big or go home’ attitude and closeness to celebrity culture gives major LA vibes and plays an effective marketing role.

It’s no coincidence that the ICON line, inspired by independent and powerful personalities of rock and movie stars, stands as the brand's most popular collection. While the early 2000s marked Dsquared’s golden era, the brand's feisty spirit endures.



The Dsquared2 Aesthetic

Dsquared2 became renowned for its grungy daywear, particularly denim, which in true Y2K fashion, went in heavy with the distressed jeans.

That trend has since passed, but the winning factor in the Catens’ designs continues to be their naughty sense of humour and determination to serve an attitude – sassy, striking, and unapologetically bold.

Originating as a menswear label in 1994, Dsquared2 has expanded to include womenswear, accessories, childrenswear, eyewear, and fragrances.

The brand offers a spectrum of commercial lines and formal tailoring, showcasing a blend of daring and refined designs.

Granted, it does get carried away with branding on tees and baseball caps, but when the twins focus on the loud and proud, that’s where the magic happens.



Sizing and Care Tips

Dsquared2 can be a bit tricky in terms of sizing, with some customers suggesting sizing up due to its small fit. The brand's t-shirts, manufactured in Italian sizes, tend to hug the body closely.

Other than it’s pretty standard care. Just remember that delicate items like distressed denim should be handwashed to preserve that unique frayed aesthetic. Avoid the dryer, as it can shrink clothing and break down fibres.


Luxury with a Price

Positioning itself as a casual luxury fashion brand, Dsquared2 justifies its higher price point through a commitment to premium materials and distinctive craftsmanship. It’s prices are up there with brands like Versace and Moschino.


Spotting the Real Deal

If you are investing in Dsquared2 and want to know the tell-tale signs for real vs. fake, here are some tips:

1.     Check the Country of Origin: Genuine Dsquared2 items are made in Italy. If it's made elsewhere, be cautious.

2.     Look at the general quality of the item. Genuine pieces boast thick and heavy fabric, while fakes may be thin and light. With prints, make sure they are thick and fault-free and leave them behind if you spot poor quality, with faint spots and scratches.

3.     Check the Label: Inspect the label sewn into the side seam. Genuine labels are long and off-white, while fakes may be bright white.

4.     The stitching: Genuine stitching appears professional, with overlocked seams for a tidy finish.


Of course, to ensure authenticity, it's always advisable to purchase from reputable and authorized retailers. 


In a fashion landscape that often plays it safe, Dsquared2 might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it stands out as a brand unafraid to be daring and bold. As it marks nearly 35 years in the industry, it’s making a comeback as one of the brands to watch on the high street. 

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