Brain Dead and Dickies treat work clothes like a blank canvas
Collaboration is a crucial part of Brain Dead’s DNA. Founders Kyle Ng and Ed Davis work across categories with brands like The North Face but also the LA Vegan Food Chain Burgerlords to create experiences and tell stories. The practice stems from Ng’s experience in film school and as a director.
“If it’s The North Face,” he told GP in 2021, which like Dickies is owned by VF Corp, “I think of its rich heritage, I think of the climbing, of what’s missing climbing, I think of interesting stories that we take, and I think of the actors – the characters – who might be in it… When you make a film, you have to think about [a character’s] implied, you’re thinking about their past.”
With Dickies, a workwear brand three quarters into its 100th anniversary, Ng saw community and connectivity – and a platform for creativity.
“Dickies have always been an inspiration to us because of their universality. Any kid of any age can pick up a pair of Dickies and apply them to their culture, whether it’s skating, music or even art,” says Ng. “It’s not just a product, it’s a canvas that cultures from many countries use in different ways. For us, it’s the perfect way to communicate our creativity to our fans.”
But this is not the beginning of their story. Brain Dead or Dickies fans might remember the 2021s Brain-dead fabrications, a hardware store-like concept store for Dickies and Brain Dead merch. This collection borrows the same iconography, as well as the name, but deviates from the old graphic t-shirts and sweatshirts. Instead, you’ll find bleached and paint-splattered jackets and pants, hats of a similar design, plenty of colorful matching sets, and matching shirts with DIY (and alien) inspired artwork.
“Brain Dead is a community of creatives and Dickies is a brand that celebrates and embraces the creative community and those who shape their own paths,” said Sarah Crockett, Global Marketing Director, Dickies. “This collection represents our mutual spirit and respect for creativity and community and those who put us first over me.”