Insomniac is the stone foundation in which this culture sits above in the USA. A sub category within this network is Bassrush. They had some questions for us, The People of Silk and steel.
( Interview by Amanda Ross )
No doubt you’ve seen their ubiquitous, all-black apparel being rocked at raves around the country. Founders of the unifying brand with the mission statement “Create with us,” Damascus Apparel is owned and operated by San Diego-based visionaries Nate Khouli (graphic designer) and partner Josh Lyon.
From their rave-friendly facemasks to a collabo with Lamborghini, Damascus have expanded on the concept of what a street wear company should be, and have become respected fashion creators, working with top names in bass music such as Datsik, Nerd Rage, Downlink and Bassrush’s own MC Dino. Nate Khouli candidly share the doctrine of their brand, and how the company plans to continue making their presence worn and heard.
Who are the main talents behind Damascus Apparel?
Damascus was founded in 2009 by Josh Lyon and myself. The brand is completely run by us. We both take on a range of responsibilities, but I am responsible for branding, web, social, photo, marketing, and product campaign development, while Josh handles production logistics, fulfillment, PR, finance and sales.
Your mission statement is simply “Create with us.” What exactly is your message?
The soul of any brand, culture, or community is defined by the people that are within it. Our energy is being spent on developing an ecosystem that attracts creators through the entire range within our understandable reality. Josh and I feel if you have tapped into your flow and are sharing it with the world, you are a creator. “Create with us” can be extended to [say] “Create this universe with us, a universe that is comprised of people that have tapped into how powerful, passionate, and talented they truly are.”
Tell us about your collaboration with Italian luxury sports car brand Lamborghini?
We got blessed with the opportunity to produce work with Lambo. Last year we sponsored a drift car team and won on the Vegas ProAM, which led to us connecting with a range of road rally style races, prestigious garages, and race circuits. Honestly, they all turned us down. We didn’t give up and shot as high as we could imagine. Lamborghini loved our aesthetic and we ended up developing their custom pieces for the Lamborghini 300 in Newport Beach, California.
How has sacred geometry inspired your design aesthetic?
The Damascus community firmly stands behind the belief that “we are all connected.” Sacred geometry not only is powerful visually, but also represents the perfect mathematical, visual, and energetic balance of lines that make up all the material within our reality. By infusing these shapes through our projects, the message is not only portrayed but also felt.
What is the relationship between Damascus and bass music?
All music has a time and place to compliment its respectable mood and environment. Bass music often compliments our typical mood and environment. Over the years we have worked with promotional firms to throw San Diego’s bass events and nightlife. Naturally, we discovered our brand personality teamed with artists and labels inside bass culture to form a synergy that can’t be replicated. At the moment it’s powerful.
Your team-ups with Cory Enemy and Downlink have been well received, who else do you plan to collaborate with?
Thank you, they have been amazing to work with. We are so blessed with the collabs already released and ones that are currently in the works. We can’t ruin the surprises, but we can say that only in our wildest dreams did we ever see Damascus getting to team with these artists and brands and can’t wait to drop them on our community.
What is your idea of “street goth?”
While you do see the tags or street goth in our social posts, we are not contained within the black wear trend. We chose to use black with monochromatic prints for its bold visual presentation and the way it embodies our collected, mysterious persona. We do see ourselves as part of the larger street wear community by making functional and comfortable pieces that everyone can wear daily. We hone in on our goal of uniting more than just the music community. We are creating styles that push creators to experiment with new cuts and looks that remove the mundane and move people out of their comfort zone.
What’s your favorite part about living and creating in beautiful San Diego?
It’s hard to explain, but San Diego possesses this slow-paced, spread-out yet almost exotic spirit that’s so pure. Compared to the other larger and more established cities, San Diego is just learning to walk, which leaves a lot of room for us to grow. The people are talented and receptive, new venues and clubs are rapidly popping up, and the music culture is growing exponentially. It serves well for us as a brand also because we have diverse landscape in our immediate reach—desert, forest, beach, city, and modern architecture are all touching and within 30 miles of each other. It’s our home and we will make sure that it’s infused within the bloodline of Damascus forever.
How can aspiring Damascus models get in touch?
We openly welcome creators of all types, but find we connect better with the more alternative personality. Forms have been set up on our site to get in touch with us.
What is your best-selling item?
“Limitation.” This piece contains the flower of life boldly on the front with text above it that reads: “The mind that perceives the limitation is the limitation.” It’s powerful and when worn it seems others gravitate towards it.
What’s the best part about the festival season?
Aside from the industry more actively networking with each other, there’s a natural energy that’s stronger, sparking from the spring until the end of summer. We love this aura. People are getting tax returns, friends are traveling, students are getting breaks from school and people are treating their bodies better. Festivals are appearing faster than ever, which is good culture stimulation, but too much good stuff will over-saturate the market and either push the top festivals to raise the bar, or isolate them and create a comfort zone causing the market to lack innovation. Either way, our goal is to work with creators to develop new experiences, connections, and perspectives for the rest of the world to see how beautiful our time here truly is.
What is your vision of the future? What do you plan to do with the brand next?
Right now we have two goals: Our first is to impact fashion very specifically. We have started developing our pieces in a way that they can interact with other pieces to create a larger image. If you look at one shirt alone, you will see comparing accessories with other pieces, a larger hidden image will be revealed. People will now look at others not to judge their outward appearance, but to see what they can create together. This will hopefully tear down barriers of interaction between strangers and help to foster new spontaneous relationships. This emphasizes the point that we are all connected. The new line where this will be available for the public is named “VIRTUA.”
Our second is to work to develop a new level of interaction and connectivity between festivals and attendees during and not during the event. As time moves forward the focus will be less on the artists and more on the production team or backbone company throwing the actual festival. We feel by developing a type of crew-oriented point ranking system to add an invisible layer of activity sophistication within the events to earn prizes and social exposure will deeply impact the reasoning, atmosphere and current state of the attendees perspectives and goals. We currently are finalizing our social theory and implementation blueprint to be tested soon. The world will see that we are all connected.
( Interview by Amanda Ross )