Kelly Dawson and Scott Ogden founded the company in 2012. The philosophy behind the brand is to make durable workwear from high using grade Japanese selvedge.
Kelly had a degree in pattern cutting and spent the last 15 years of her career working with denim for many high street retailers and brands. Scott had a background in fashion and photography. Inspired by vintage motoring they used this as a reference point for clothing design and branding.
Kelly says of her approach:
My designs are traditional but made for today’s market. One foot in the past with an understanding of what customers need today.
The jeans come with a log book, a service guarantee for repair – built to last.
The Dawson Denim logo was conceived from motorcycle history, using an old British railway font. Dawson is very much a British workwear brand, preferring function over fashion with understated design.
At first Kelly and Scott made denim work-wear aprons, which were popular with companies such as Small Batch coffee in Brighton. They are now worn by Selfridges, Ace Hotels, and a number of other companies in the UK.
Dawson Denim use traditional machines that have been renovated, many dating back to the early 1950s. Each machine was explained as providing different elements of the manufacturing process such as belt loops, hems etc.
Sourcing the machines has been one of the most difficult challenges, with some coming from Italy and the USA. Essentially Kelly and Scott are training future generations of makers in traditional skills that have been lost in the UK.
It takes a whole day to make a pair of jeans, with no corners cut on quality. It’s not about fashion but great cut and fit. Dawson Denim has launched a new collaboration with Steve Millington, Dry British, sign-writer and Beat illustrator. Previous special editions include jackets made for Timothy Everest.
It’s so good to see traditional craftsmanship in the UK, especially companies like Dawson Denim who are interested in the history of clothing design and textiles.
Fashion Historian and Curator