I sat down with Lauren from Asos Marketplace last week to talk about where the brand name came from, inspiration, and what's next for the brand. You can read the full interview below:
Behind the brand: Dream But Do Not Sleep
‘Strictly positive vibes’ are exactly what Max Birtles is shooting for with his Devon-based label, Dream But Do Not Sleep. He’s all about good times with good friends, great music (and amazing clothes, obvs). How’s he making it happen? We caught up with him to chat new collections, future collabs and how it all fell into place…
So Max, where does the story begin? What made you decide to start your own label?
It all began five years ago when I was completing my A-levels. I was studying graphic design and had already started to print some of my designs on to tees using the screen printing equipment at college.
I was about two weeks into my third year when I decided I’d had enough. I felt it was time for me to head into the working world. I went home one evening and said to my parents ‘I don’t think I’m going to go in to college tomorrow. I’m going to start a clothing brand instead’. The next day I started designing the first collection and Dream But Do Not Sleep was born!
‘Dream But Do Not Sleep’ – where did that come from?
I was in a car with my family driving back from a holiday in Europe. My brother and I were enjoying all the street art and throw ups on the motorway bridges. We drove past one which said 'Dream But Do Not Sleep’, which we both thought was pretty cool. It stuck in my mind for a while, and when I went back to college to try screen printing for the first time it was a 'Dream But Do Not Sleep’ logo design which I printed. I wore the t-shirt around college and it seemed to get a good reaction from my mates, so when I set up the brand it seemed like the right name to use!
Nice! So the original DBDNS logo was the first thing you designed for your brand?
Who would you count as your influences?
In terms of vibe and colourful aesthetic Lazy Oaf is a pretty big influence. Their brand and ethos is really fun, which I like a lot. I’ve always looked up to 10 Deep as well, because of the insane attention to detail they put in to every single garment they release. Matt W. Moore’s work has also been a big influence. I love his clean geometric designs and vibrant colour palette.
On Marketplace I like Dr Banana as they have some really nice cut and sew pieces. Their vibe seems similar to ours, too – they’re also rooted in the UK dance music scene, which is cool. I’m a big fan of GULLY GARMS as well. They’ve got a huge selection of vintage so it’s always easy to find something you like!
Building a brand from the ground up isn’t the easiest thing to do (so congrats for doing it) – when did you get to the point where you were like, ‘okay, I’m getting somewhere. This is working’?
If I’m being honest I’d say that I only started to feel like things were really starting to fall into place at the beginning of this year. I ended up selling more in January than over Christmas, which was crazy!
Landing the latest summer collection feels like another turning point in the DBDNS story. I’ve been trying to find a good photographer who really understands my aesthetic for years; it felt like one of the missing pieces of the puzzle. Jumar, who shot our latest campaign, really gets it and I’m so happy that people are buying in to the brand and appreciating the designs!
Sounds like you’re all set for a great summer! What’s next?
The big next step for me is moving to London, which I’m really looking forward to. Other than that the plan is to keep growing the band organically, pushing it forward with more UK music collabs, and to get more tees and sweats on the backs of loved up mates front line at the rave having the time of their lives!