What’s good, America? GRAZIA USA asks fashion industry leaders and influential voices to share their secrets to a life well-lived: from the small delights of daily coffee orders to thought-provoking literature and more complex topics like sustainability and social activism. Welcome to #GOODQuestions.

Here, we chat with fashion designers, Dan and Dean Caten, about the Dsquared2 Fall Winter 2021 collection unveiled during Milan Fashion Week.

#GOODQuestions With Dan and Dean of Dsquared2

Credit: Giampaolo Sgura

How was the process of sourcing and designing different this season compared to past seasons?
There is always a lot of work to be done when preparing a new collection, even before the challenges presented by COVID existed. Certain procedures take a bit longer but with the right attention, planned activities, and a passionate team, you can get the job done. We manage to brainstorm with the team frequently—sometimes in person, sometimes remotely—but starting with the SS21 season, we have learned how to manage the work digitally. There is always something to learn and even if the current times require a bit more work to bring our vision to fruition, this still encourages us to give more and more and stay focused.

Who or what was the source of inspiration for the collection?
If we were to summarize the new collection, we could say the DSQUARED2 Fall Winter ’21 Co-Ed Collection knows no boundaries when it comes to an open mind for expression of creativity and style. The collection is about a triple threat combo of the Canadian outdoors, the metropolitan lifestyle, and impeccable Italian tailoring that fully intertwine creating a new-age storyline.

Do you have any day of show rituals that bring you good luck?
When we used to get ready for the show, we would always ensure that we were both in a good mood and thinking positive thoughts. To get us there, we always listen to music, hum, and joke. This helps us a lot to alleviate the stress of the moment and in the end, it is not a real ritual but something we always do and that we love to do. Even though some modalities have changed now there are still moments that we keep in the creative process.

What’s your favorite look or piece from the collection and why?
The collection is about a mashup of different styles and we love the way you can shape the look with different items. We love the full co-ed collection but some of our favorite items include the oversized coats, joyful sweaters, and the holiday on ice inspiration of skating costume in dresses.

Who is the woman you design for?
A woman who has fun with styling –who is not afraid of putting together different elements, fabrics, and accessories. A joyful woman who chooses different colors and shapes with personality. A woman who feels good about what she is wearing and loves to express it. She is confident at the same time and independent, modern. She expresses herself through her femininity and attitude. She is not afraid to dare. She is real.

How has COVID-19 affected the way that your brand has approached fashion week and the presentation of new collections?
We had to adapt to the sensitive times and this was challenging for us as we love a big celebration and being close together with our team and the people who inspire us. We miss the atmosphere and energy that only a live show can give you but understand the situation and have worked hard to navigate the current times to present our vision. We still hope to be able to get excited and excited live very soon.

In what way do you hope your collection makes a positive impact?
We maintained a good attitude and overall vibe while working on the collection. We really wanted to transfer joyful and lovely inputs within the collection itself and through the video presentation.
A happy-go-lucky headspace in which to let go, be your true self, and possibly explore being something else entirely, lose yourself to dance and fall back to earth with a smile. An ideal dimension in which a domestic reality evolves into a cosmopolitan utopia where Canadian forests and strobe lights effortlessly cohabitate the same room.

Do you think it’s important virtual shows recreate the vibe of a show or create an entirely new experience?
Digital is a very good way to communicate and it has great potential but the way physical shows resonate with the audience is very different. Digital and physical shows must be complementary, but they need each other to transfer an emotional and complete brand experience.

Were there any experiences or lessons that you’ll take away from this unique season?
We have learned a lot not only from this last fashion season but in general from the last year. We are also convinced that when there is a team to support you and a lot of passion, you always find the means to work. These last seasons have made us reflect both from a creative point of view and given us the opportunity to understand the consumer better. Times have changed and so do habits. The important thing is to be able to develop something that is in line with our DNA and that always gives something more.

Tell us about a favorite fashion week memory.
One of our best memories is certainly our last true runway show last January before COVID struck Milan and we celebrated our 25th brand anniversary. There was so much excitement and we were so full of energy surrounded by our collaborators, friends, and customers. Sister Sledge came out and performed at the finale while a slideshow of our childhood and brand memories played on the screens. Oh such a great moment we will never forget!

What were you watching most while designing this season?
We’ve been in Milan—you can’t beat the views of the city skyline! It will never grow old to us.

Current fave songs you listened to while working on this collection?
The last collection was all about pop music and very dynamic sounds. We are so inspired by the music industry and the icons within it.

What’s your morning routine? What’s the first app you open each day?
A good and healthy breakfast. We never go without it—it’s the best way to start the day.

Who in your life brings you good vibes and positive energy every day?
Easy! We are a family and team duo. We charge each other up. Our bond is what gives us strength and motivation.

What makes your day go from good to great?
Waking up to sunny, cloud-free skies definitely makes everything great!

Quote to live by? Quote you love?
Never take yourself too seriously and Sky is the limit.

What won’t you miss about last year?
It was a very difficult year for everyone. We will certainly not miss the year itself but think that it will leave something meaningful into everyone as we begin to return to normalcy.

What’s the last good book you read?
We would say a movie more than a book that we really loved was I, Tonya which we actually have pulled some inspiration from in our latest collections.

What helps you connect with your inner grace and goodness?
Just taking a moment to stop, have a deep breath, and meditate. Sometimes we just take some time alone and thus have the opportunity to reflect within ourselves.

What is your fave recipe to make?
We have a lasagna recipe that our Italian grandmother used to prepare for us when we were children. It’s one of our favorites to make and always brings back memories from our childhood when we sit down together to eat.

Define what a good life means to you.
A good life means being able to do what you love and living surrounded by affection. We are lucky enough to live our life together doing what we love—this is a good life and the best we could have asked for.

What is the last thing you do before bed?
We round out each day the same, check the agenda for tomorrow and then listen to one last song.