We had the good fortune of connecting with Dana Case and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dana, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe you can think about risk in two ways. I tend to think up all the negative end results of a risk, leaving my mind to fixate on the worst outcomes. Thinking about the negative aspects allows the fear of risk taking to unsettle what confidence you have, stopping you in your tracks before you even begin. An alternative approach to thinking about risk is maintaining focus on the positive aspects of the situation, evaluating the end result with an emphasis on appreciating what has been learned along the journey. In creating an unconventional clothing brand I needed to leave my career as a technical designer and jump head first into establishing Atelier of the Wild. I held onto the fact that if this risk didn’t work out it would serve as an incredible learning experience. Looking at risk in that positive light kept the mood high and the work flowing. Creating a business entails learning how to do things right and how to do a lot of things wrong. When you let yourself wrestle through that you tend to come out on the other side with an expertise and dexterity that you would not otherwise have, giving you and your business unmeasurable value. So jump in and take the risk!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Creating a clothing brand is more than sewing up different designs. It is the execution of the garment, it is the state of mind the garment takes you to when you wear it. The most exciting aspects of building Atelier of the Wild are creating products with a purpose and building education around our core brand beliefs, bringing people together to focus on the simple things in life. I am building a studio and brand that prioritizes our relationship with the Earth and its people, with a pared down and more curated utilitarian approach to everyday wear. I want to curate a purposeful wardrobe that carries people through the different phases of their life, investing in the longevity and timelessness of a piece, not only for myself and others, but for the Earth as well. One of the future goals at the atelier is to have relationships with local farmers and weavers to create a fiber shed or system where every aspect of the garment production is sourced locally. Currently we have a made-to-order business model where the garment is cut and sewn only after an order is placed. Everything is sewn locally out of natural and/or organic fibers. It has not been easy! I had to re-teach myself pattern making and almost every process is done by hand making things flow at a much slower pace. I was also striving to develop designs with a simple aesthetic that were finished beautifully which is easier said than done! It has taken the culmination of my design schooling and a career in the New York fashion industry to be able to build Atelier of the Wild.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would drive out to Balcones State Park in the hills around Austin for a morning hike. After we could head into Austin for Vietnamese coffee and food at Elizabeth Street Cafe. I always go shopping at a local brand called Esby after Elizabeth street. The hills and rivers abound out west of Austin. Day tripping to have a dip in Wimberly’s Blue hole would be next on my list. Surrounded by gnarled cypress knees half submerged in Bahama blue water makes for an amazing place to swim. Most of the week would be filled with walks to our blue hole at San Gabriel River Park along with cocktails and food at our local French bistro, Nightingale. Another favorite place for drinks and food is the Golden Rule. Both places offer up experiences that are more New York than Texas.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout out to my first boss, Maria Kasidonis. She has been the production manager of Nicole Miller for 20 years now. Maria created an environment that fostered innovation and thinking on your feet all while feeling like you are a part of a big family. She listened, she trusted, and she made you feel seen. No matter how much pressure we were under she taught us that when a mistake is made you all band together to correct and execute the fix efficiently. The warmth Maria brought to the team and the freedom to work in your own way are two things I want to bring forward with me as I start to build my own team.
Madeline Harper Photography – Portrait
Todd White – Fashion Photography