DEER DANA designers, Dana Veraldi and Kevin Tekinel; Agyness Deyn in one of the brand's shirts (right).
The New York City-based designers behind DEER DANA, Dana Veraldi and Kevin Tekinel, produce their entire line from start to finish in NYC. The founding partners behind the burgeoning label are best known for their unisex limited-edition tops that pay homage to cultural tastemakers in fashion, film, music, art, and sports – Justin Bieber recently wore their Lil Wayne shirt in a Terry Richardson shoot.
The design duo have been working together since meeting back in 2006 and past career highlights include working as stylists, art directors, and photographers for the likes of Vogue, Elle, Adidas, and Gap. Now, it’s all about looking towards the future. Find out which A-list designer became a brand supporter after being featured on a DEER DANA top, who the designers will be honoring next, their surprise best-sellers, and more in our exclusive interview.
The Fashion Spot: How did you come up with the name Deer Dana for the brand?
Deer Dana: We thought the play on the word DEER/DEAR was funny. When we tell new people about the brand we always have to be sure they know it’s the animal deer and not the start of a letter.
tFS: How has your background in photography influenced your approach to designing?
DD: All of our shirts are drawn from photos — some we take ourselves and others are found in books or online.
tFS: Is there one top that you’ve designed that stands out as particularly memorable?
DD: Obama was meaningful because we believed in him and donated sales from the shirts towards his campaign. A more recent moment was Justin Bieber wearing our Lil Wayne shirt shot by Terry Richardson!
tFS: How do you pick the faces to screen print?
DD: We choose people we admire and think are great subjects for a drawing/shirt. Some are suggestions from friends, or friend’s pets…overall we think it would be a great group for a dinner party.
tFS: Do you see your brand expanding beyond tees?
DD: We just finished our new line of photo-print shirts. They feature collaged images that Kevin’s grandfather took in the 1970s. We also print on canvas tote bags – grocery size and large beach bags. We would love to soon make beach towels and sweatshirts!
tFS: If you could pick one celebrity to wear one of your tees, who would it be?
Dana — Kanye West, Prince Harry
Kevin — Catherine Deneuve, John Waters
tFS: Have any tees been surprisingly popular?
DD: Surprisingly popular — our Manji dog shirt! Manji is our friend Nico’s beloved pooch and we love that strangers have taken a liking to him!
tFS: Do you ever hear from any of the people that you feature on your tops?
DD: We send tees to each person we feature. We would love to someday have images of everyone in their shirt. We met and became good friends with Olivier Theyskens after we made his shirt and we recently collaborated on a special edition shirt for Colette.
tFS: Can you tell us about any tees we can expect in the future?
DD: Price Harry! Rick Ross, Iris Apfel, Robert Mapplethorpe, and our friend
Pookie’s dog Rupert!