DYNE - Christopher Bevans Interview

DYNE – Christopher Bevans

Fashion’s Leading Designer Technologist

Christopher Bevans demands your attention. The designer officially stepped into the spotlight with the founding of his sportswear label, DYNE, after years of working behind the scenes for other designers and labels such as Nike, Sean John, and Billionaire Boys Club and for celebrities such as John Legend and LeBron James (he also works with Marshawn Lynch on his BeastMode brand).

DYNE - Christopher Bevans Interview

All those that are not familiar with Bevans may believe that his praises are sudden. He was the recipient of the “Inaugural International Woolmark Prize Innovation Award” for 2017/2018 and was recently inducted into the Council Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Those that know Bevans and his career track will tell you that his trajectory is yet to peak.

Spring 2019 Future Nomad

The designer presented his Fall/Winter 2019 collection for DYNE during NYMFW: in February and took a different approach compared to previous seasons. Instead of holding a runway show at one of the CFDA’s registered venues or taking over Cadillac House again for a presentation, Bevans produced an installation at his alma mater, the Fashion Institute of Technology in the Pomerantz Gallery.

For two days, old computer monitors, television sets, speakers, keyboards, stereo systems and fax machines formed a pile in the center of the lobby and was surrounded by life-size display screens showcasing the collection on model, a video loop of the collection campaign and mannequins outfitted in the collection with loose wires coming out of their clothes.

DYNE - Christopher Bevans Interview

“The theme is ‘Open Source,’” said Bevans weeks before the presentation. “[The collection] has a NFC experience, and it’s going to be fun. The collection is a bit more tailored sport this time, with some silhouettes that I’m just introducing but staying true to the roots. We’re continuing on our story of upcycling materials, and we want to share it how we do it.”

The “NFC experience” is what caught the Woolmark judges’ attention in 2017. Every piece from Bevans’ ski capsule collection designed for the competition came equipped with near field communication chips that provided information about each piece when it was scanned. The collection also provided details on the climate and conditions of the nearest ski slopes.

“I was an advisor for a company called Chronicle that was using NFC and Blockchain to eliminate fakes in footwear through visual authentication,” he said. “I learned much about different communication and thought it could work.”

Bevans implemented NFC chips in his garments since Dyne’s first season. As the technology improved, the ideas kept flowing, and today, through the NFC chip, people can scan a garment and place an order for it in real time. Nike uses similar technology on its NBA and FC Chelsea Connected Jerseys.

What we’re doing right now is the future. It’s as if we’re looking at the world and the landscape of the globe as our playground to do commerce. I don’t try to hone in on a certain demographic and say, ‘This is my consumer.’ It’s just about experience and interacting with each other as human beings.

This has been Bevans’ mindset long before Dyne was in existence. Bevans was an eclectic, inquisitive soul that tried just about everything in his youth. He was a street skater that would rock a suit, tie and penny loafers because he grew up a Jehovah’s Witness. He was a natural athlete that played tennis, ran track and field, loved ice skating, hockey and snowboarding. He could quote Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin but was a huge fan of NWA, Run DMC and De La Soul. He said he got along with every crowd and was voted best dressed in high school.

He discovered his love for fashion through his grandmother, who would buy patterns for him and taught him how to work with fabrics. He claims that fashion “happens to be a family gene.” As a teenager, he worked as an apprentice to a tailor in Rochester and eventually bought the business from his then boss with the money he saved. He sold the business and moved back to New York City to enroll in FIT’s Textile Program, which led to an internship with Swedish designer Lotta Stensson and a job at Mood Fabrics.

After Mood Fabrics, Bevans joined Sean John where he worked with a who’s who of major players, including Gemo Wong, Tanaka Seldmann, Micky Jobs, Cassa Smith, Mad Anthony, Wayne One, and Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne.

“We could not be defeated,” Bevans said. “The way we rolled was incredible. It was really special. Of course, it was competitive too at times, because we all had prolific ideas and were working for somebody.” That somebody was Sean “Diddy” Combs, who won the CFDA Award for Menswear with this team.

After Sean John, the designer joined Nike as Design Director of Urban Apparel and was instrumental in the company’s first collaboration with Kanye West. Before the Nike Air Yeezy, Bevans and West worked on a special Nike Air Max in honor of West’s first album The College Dropout.

“Kanye and I met on the set of State Property,” Bevans explained. “I worked on merchandise for The College Dropout. I got the job [at Nike] and [Kanye] was like, ‘I’m coming with you.’” Bevans met with West in Portland, during West’s tour with U2, and pitched the rapper to the company.

“We flipped the Airmax, his favorite shoe from Nike at the time, and made a small run just for him and the team. He was plugged in and it happened. From that, I got Kanye into the footwear.”

The relationship between Bevans and West’s label at the time, Roc-a-Fella Records, goes back to the designer’s time with the label’s streetwear line, Rocawear, prior to Sean John. Things came full circle for Bevans when he rejoined the company to relaunch Billionaire Boys Club, Pharrell Williams’ streetwear brand that received an investment from Roc Nation. Bevans served as Creative Director for label.

“Working with Jay and his team was different,” he said. “It was a new day for him as well in business. Saw some of the old faces again and I got to meet new faces with Pharrell and his team. I’m a huge fan of Pharrell too so it couldn’t get any cooler than that.”

The work and accomplishments pushed Bevans to follow his dream of starting his own brand. Enter DYNE, a high-end activewear label that is a combination of Bevans’ early interests: fashion and sports. The technological aspects of DYNE come from the designer’s desire to keep learning and to keep trying new things.

DYNE, by definition, means ‘a unit of force’, and the designer chose the name for the brand because he wants the label to be “a unit of change and to change the industry.”

DYNE is one of the special brands in business today that is leading innovation, and it’s primarily due to Bevans’ sharp and forward-thinking mind. The designer has been a part of multiple business successes and historic moments long before the launch of Dyne, and his latest venture looks to be at the start of yet another major moment in fashion.

While some labels push customization or aim to disrupt the retail and wholesale model, DYNE focuses on the garments and how to make them better than before. The NFC technology has the potential to bring more excitement to fashion than reality shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway and the blog boom.

”This industry hasn’t evolved as much as say the automotive industry, the computing industry, and the music industry through iTunes and Spotify. Why hasn’t the fashion industry gone through a revolution?” Bevans asked.

“A lot of things have to be done the way that they have always been done. So, that’s why I’m here. That’s why I come into the stage and not to add circuitry on garments and all of that. [Technology] has to seamlessly weave into everyday lifestyle. And I feel like we are that brand. What I was thinking five years ago is different than what [the world] is now, but I just found myself in the right place at the right time. So, here we are.”