In conversation with: Dalgado

7 min read

Dalgado | Belts for men


Dalgado

Est. 2017 - Düsseldorf, Germany

"Just like modern buildings get stripped down to the very basics to expose their inner workings, we seek to create timeless accessories while being radically transparent about our materials and factories.[...] Belts have always been seen more as a functional side product rather than an accessory capable of making a style statement. We want to change that notion and turn belts into the relevant accessory it should be."
- Jan Jülicher



Dalgado elevates the functional belt to the statement piece it ought to be. Co-founder Jan Jülicher tells us about how the brand is devoted to sustainability and craftsmanship and how it is inherently rooted in the greater movement for higher quality, timeless goods. "Be your own person" he advices, and he also explains how manners are the essence of a true modern gentleman.

 
Jeya Narrative: You started Dalgado only about a year ago, in June 2017. What brought you to start your own business, how did it begin and how has it evolved since?

Jan Jülicher: We have always had a passion for fashion but were only very rarely satisfied with the price-quality ratio and amount of information regarding input-materials offered by other brands. That is why we decided to found Dalgado. By choosing a direct-to-consumer approach, we manage to cut out unnecessary costs and create luxury accessories sold at fair prices. Further, we decided to become very transparent about our materials, suppliers, and manufactures as we strongly believe that the customer has the right to know exactly what he is buying.

We started with a fairly small belt selection and have been adding many more belt designs as well as our handmade leather gloves since. Besides, we just recently launched our pin-system which allows to design your own belt and conveniently exchange the buckles depending on the occasion. In addition, we are planning on expanding our product line with bags, glasses cases, and laptop cases.


Dalgado | Leather belts for men

You co-founded the brand with your brother René. How do you work together and divide the workload?

Some people find the idea to go into business with their sibling troubling. For us, it is the opposite. We have always gotten along very well and we can fully trust each other which is rare to find. With his background in marketing & brand management, my brother is definitely the creative brain behind Dalgado and in charge of our photography, webpage design, and general artwork. I am more involved in customer service, inventory management, press inquiries and contribute largely to our internal blog. Our actual products, however, come to life through a combined effort of market research, designing and revision.


Describe your workshop and the environment you work in.

Our office is located in a newly-renovated loft. We love the exposed wood and clean look of it which is very much in line with our own minimal design aesthetics. To switch things up a bit, we also occasionally work in nearby coffee shops. Düsseldorf is one of Germany’s most vibrant fashion cities and you can observe many different styles which serves as a great source of inspiration for us.

Dalgado | Handmade leather belts for men


Your brand is truly inspiring in its mission, with not only a sharp focus on the small details but also transparency and sustainability. Could you tell us a little more on what your brand stands for and what you seek to achieve?

Thank you so much for your kind words. Transparency and sustainability are indeed some of the cornerstones of Dalgado. We are consumers ourselves and we want to know where the products we buy come from and what they are made of. Unfortunately, all too often, this information is hard to come by and there are many tricks for brands to disguise the origin of their products. To us, that is wrong. That is why we are very upfront about our materials and manufactures which are all located in the EU and have made a conscious effort to establish a sustainable and ethical production. The dedication to sustainability should really be a premise for every brand these days.

Why did you decide to focus on belts? Can you give us a brief history of the belt as a fashion accessory?

Despite being one of the most common accessories, belts have always been seen more as a functional side product rather than an accessory capable of making a style statement. There are so many brands which create beautiful clothing, bags, and shoes. When it comes to belts, however, it sometimes seems like they’ve used up all their energy and creativity. We want to change that notion and turn belts into the relevant accessory it should be.

Dalgado | Handmade leather belts for men

You take pride in working with local tanneries in Europe and using only the highest quality leathers. Why is local manufacturing so important to you and your brand?

Europe is without a doubt the powerhouse for high-quality fashion and so it only made sense to us to stick to local manufacturing. Of course, quality comes at a price but it is well worth it to us. For my own wardrobe, I’ve always preferred quality over quantity and many other people share that notion which has become one of our core premises. We are very humbled that we have the chance to work with some tanneries and manufactures which also supply some of the most exclusive luxury brands.

You took a pledge to plant a tree for each order that you receive. What inspired you to start the “One Order - One Tree” Initiative?

During our travels, we have seen many of the devastating side-effects that poor manufacturing standards can have on the environment. We only have one earth and should protect it as good as possible. That is why we invest in premium quality materials and the expertise of revered artisans to craft long-lasting products directly in line with our desire for sustainable slow-fashion. Yet, even though we meticulously source our materials and partner with some of the most innovative manufacturers, no production can ever be completely environmentally-friendly. So, in order to further reduce our environmental footprint, we launched the “One Order – One Tree” Initiative. 


 

In the past few years, there has been a growing demand for, and revival of, locally-made, quality items across all industries. Would you agree, and what have been the main catalysts for this change in your opinion?

I would absolutely agree. Over the last couple of years there have been many amazing emerging brands which have centered their philosophy around locally-made, quality items. As advantageous and unstoppable as globalization might be, I think people also want to hold on to local values and norms which becomes evident in the products they buy and, especially, the products they wear. I don’t expect this demand to diminish any time soon. 

Dalgado | Handmade leather belts for men

Where do you foresee the biggest trends with regards to men’s accessories in the next few years?

That is a good question and, of course, one we have been wondering about as well. Men’s accessories are much more limited in its variety than their female counterpart. All the more important is the quality and design of the few kinds of accessories available to men. I believe the trend towards locally-made, sustainable quality accessories will continue. Moreover, with minimalism becoming an ever-increasing counter-culture to excessive trend-setting, hypes, and marketing bombardment, I think men will put their faith in more timeless, understated fashion accessories.

 

The Journal on your website is both inspirational and educational with articles on leather, style advice but also design icons and architecture. Your brand is highly inspired by minimalist architecture and product design. Can you tell us a little more about this?

We grew up in a household which was centered around designer furniture which seamlessly interconnects with our interest in modern architecture. Minimalist architecture speaks to us on a design level but also on a life philosophy level: you don’t need all that much but the things you do have must be intentional and of high quality. Thereby, we get inspired by the clean lines of modern architecture. Just like modern buildings get stripped down to the very basics to expose their inner workings, we seek to create timeless accessories while being radically transparent about our materials and manufactories.

  Dalgado | Handmade leather belts for men

Is there any one artist/fashion designer/architect that has had a major influence on yourself and your brand?

It is tough for me to pinpoint one particular designer or artist who has influenced us. Yet, we have definitely drawn a lot of inspiration from the clean aesthetics of Scandinavian brands and designers which prefer the philosophy of muted elegance and understated chic. Besides, we have found much admiration in some of the amazing emerging brands which share a direct-to-consumer model. 

What does the concept ‘individuality’ mean to you?

To me, the concept of ‘individuality’ means being your own person. A person with his own taste, preferences, and ambitions regardless whether these are conventional or out of the ordinary. It doesn’t mean having to be different at any price by, for example, wearing extremely loud clothes. It means wearing what makes you feel good. 

Dalgado | Men's belts made in Europe

What advice would you give a man who wants to be discerning in his style?

Neglect trends. They really are just a spurred effort by the fashion industry to make more money. If somebody wants to be discerning in his style, he needs to find his own style. Sure you can pick a trend here and there and incorporate it into your wardrobe but chasing every trend doesn’t create style it only creates a reflection.
 

In your opinion, what are the golden rules to a man’s etiquette?

Even though man’s etiquette seems to be on the losing end, it is definitely not old-fashioned for men to have good manners nowadays. Quite the opposite, it is all the more important. In our time of social media self-promotion, anonymity, and instant gratification the golden rules, to me, are modesty, politeness, and patience. 


Dalgado | Men's belts made in Europe
Lastly…

Place you call home: Somewhere with friends and family
A colour: Grey. It is the quintessential colour for minimalism lovers.
A movie or book: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

A sound: Waves gently hitting the beach.

A place: The beach
Style icon(s):
David Gandy
Go-to accessory to dress to impress:
Nice pair of shoes with a matching belt
Most coveted item in your wardrobe: 
A grey blazer-coat by Club Monaco. Works for all occasions.
Favourite tool to work with:
Pen and paper
Favourite inspirational quote, or best piece of advice anybody ever gave you:
The man who says he can and the man who says he cannot are both usually right” Confucius
Why Jeya Narrative? 
Jeya Narrative is special in its dedication to the discerning man and stands out from the vast number of retailers with its focus on creating an amazing catalogue of emerging European brands.





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