As we continue to grow Karmaswap, we want to spotlight one of the many creative forces featured on the site each week.
Meet Alex Dakoulas, shoe designer by trade and graphic apparel genius. Alex took his passion for living life to the fullest, horror flicks, and talented graphic design skills to birth Dance Party Massacre, which produces a collection of tees, sweatshirts, and accessories. DPM is a unique brand that produces fashion with an edgy and artistic flavor. To learn more about DPM, we caught up with Alex recently to hear how he got his start and his vision for the future.
- Leandrew Robinson, KarmaSwap
1.) Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
I am originally from Manchester, NH, but I lived in Boston for years having gone to school at MassArt. I currently work at Converse in North Andover, MA as a Footwear Designer.
2.) What kind of product do you produce?
My background is in graphic design, so naturally the focus on Dance Party Massacre is graphic tees, but we also have sweatshirts, bandanas, and necklaces. In the future I hope to keep expanding the line, without losing the graphic imagery we started off with.
3.) What drew you the kind of items you produced? What inspired your products?
I became known for my own graphic tees while in college, and I’m sure it helped me land my current job at Converse. After a while I wanted to venture beyond random one-off designs and really focus on a concept and create a line. I’ve had a fairly huge interest in horror movies since I was a tween, and it just so happened that my senior year of college I felt my love of life and death (so to speak) come together. Living in Boston and taking the city alive going to parties, and just having fun, inspired me to juxtapose the horror that I love with an optimistic, fun edge to create an identity that is hopefully unique and interesting. The idea of making scary things fun goes along with turning the bad into good and facing your demons so you can just be happy.
4.) Here is a small sample of the line:
This is the one graphic that epitomizes the line the most. It’s the Dance Party Massacre logo which has 3 elements: The eye is our soul, the knife is danger, and the hands keep us moving. Our core colors also represent us with Black being the night/evil, White is for good, Bright Blue is our aspirations, and Blood Red is the life we live!
The idea of a vampire having a grill is just funny to me, so our Vampire Grill design takes that scariness of some sharp fangs and makes it ridiculous with some gangsta bling and tons of dripping blood. It’s been of one our best sellers, but maybe that’s just because of Twilight and True Blood…
FRESH 2 DEATH
If we were going to tackle one of the most played-out phrases (that uncoolness being part of it’s ironic charm) then it was going to be DPM style. While most imagery that is created with the phrase “Fresh to Death” usually featured a skull with headphones, I decided to turn a coffin into a treasure chest full of fresh booty any street kid would kill to have their hands on.
6.) What kinds of influences are reflected in what you produce?
For our graphics, I like to always represent that combination of fear and fun. If it’s too scary it can be morbid, and if it’s too playful it can be silly. I also try to keep the style fairly clean and iconic to balance out the horrific imagery and make it a bit less abrasive and gross, and more pop-like.
The certain products we choose to print on, or carry, is about making the line accessible to everyday people, while trying to keep it a bit edgy for the ones who are a bit more fashion-forward. That combination is reflected in basic pieces like t-shirts and sweatshirts, but for instance—the first sweatshirt we put out was a crew neck. In reality I think a hoodie would have been a more “basic” choice, but I wanted to go with what I felt was just a bit more trend-relevant. Also carrying things like Razorblade Necklaces represent that edge the line has in other ways besides graphics.
7.) What are your ultimate goals for your line?
My ultimate goal would be for DPM to become successful enough for it to be my only job. I would love for people to enjoy it enough that I can logically devote my everyday life to it, and make a living off of it.
I would also just be happy creating something a small group of people truly love, than creating something that a lot of people kinda like. If I wanted to do that I wouldn’t put blood on my tees.
8.) What are your opinions of the new Karmaswap? How do you see this affecting streetwear culture?
I think Karmaswap allows great exposure to many brands who might not receive it otherwise. My main goal in being a part of it was just to get it out there and help it find its audience. I see Karmaswap effecting streetwear culture in the sense that everyday, working people (people of the streets!) have a chance at making it big.
9.) What do you hope your customers get out off your products?
I want people who wear DPM to remember to live life while they can. Start living before you start dying!