T-Files 020: Danny Reyes

Danny Reyes is the man behind one of my favorite labels, The Lovewright Company. As part of the well-respected F.I.S.M. collective, it’s no surprise that there is a certain style and quality of design that appeals to me. I can’t say that about many brands, and I think it’s because of Danny’s solid aesthetic and the classic motifs he updates so cleanly. I first got in touch with Danny a few years ago when DG picked the brand up, and recently he was kind enough to take out the time for this little interview on where he’s at today.

So, where are you today? Today I am in the desert.

Nice. What are you working on? Usually, I’m working on staying sane. I regularly have a few things going at once for Lovewright. Finish spring 2011 line, marketing projects and photo shoots for spring and fall 2010, a few collaborations…and it’s always due yesterday.

Ain’t that the truth. Where have you been finding inspiration lately? Might sound corny, but I find a lot of inspiration in my son. He’s 1 and everything is new to him. I watch how he studies things, he takes them apart, he throws it around. I want that! So, I look at my own design process the same way…what can I learn, how do I get better?

Right. What is your favorite recent project? Currently, LWR spring 2011 denim. We’re in the process of turning all cut/sew over to American factories, starting with our denim program. It’s been complicated to say the least, but it’s allowed me to see a whole new side of the process first hand. Any time I can learn something new I’m stoked. It’s also getting us one step closer to producing a truly American made brand. Something that really means a lot to our brand.

Did you study design formally? I studied at the Art Institute in San Diego, but my degree in advertising. But I’ve been into art and design since I was a kid, graffiti later on, graphic design, and now apparel. Studying advertising was definitely beneficial in the progression, I think it allowed me to see the whole picture and how to tell a story visually. Something any brand needs to be able to do well.

Definitely. How did you get into the clothing game? While in school, a classmate of mine had an in at a brand called Alphanumeric. I jumped on my chance to intern with them. I really knew nothing about nothing at that time, but I did whatever they needed me to do. Clean, pack, get lunch, whatever. I ended up making some good friends that eventually led to my first graphic design job with DC Shoes.

Is The Lovewright Company your first clothing endeavor? Haha, no not really. When I was just out of high school, myself and a good friend of mine tried our hand at a t-shirt line. We were both really into graffiti at that point and our one and only design was a piece my partner did that said “Next Level”. We printed 30 shirts (that I still owe someone money for), and sold about 5. Complete failure, but I knew from then on what I wanted to do.

Nice! Can you describe your aesthetic/manifesto? The Lovewright Co. is based on and created for real people. Some brands seem to design for some fictional, hyper cool guy. Almost like they would be designing to someone and not for them. In our case, we know the customer personally. We skate the same spots, worked the same jobs, we’ve had beers at the bar. I feel that type of honesty is why we’ve done so well. People can relate to it and appreciate that for what it is.

I can dig it. You’re based in SD, correct? How do you think that informs your brand’s style? I was born and raised in South San Diego, San Ysidro and Chula Vista. Just as important as the place your born, I feel the people you grow up with will always influence your style. The Lovewright Co. is really just a reflection of that for me. Every design is influenced by someone I knew then or someone I know now. It really is the most personal design work I’ve ever done.

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