The up and rising jewelry company, Daniel Christian Tang, is gaining a lot of attention for their 3D pieces. Within weeks of their official launch in May of this year, the brand sold out in almost all their unique designs. In July, The Shopping Channel partnered with Daniel Christian Tang, and the brand did not disappoint—it sold out once again! One month later and the brand is already joining the ranks of Holt Refrew to create an exclusive line for this high-end fashion retailer.
So what makes the brand so appealing? They use cutting edge technology — architectural modelling software and 3 dimensional digital manufacturing tech—to create pieces that “transcend the realm of traditional jewelry to embody the cherished beauty of jewelry, the variability of nature and the uniqueness of art”—DCT3D. Their designs have been heralded by various media outlets and prominent influencers as innovative and beautifully stylish. Certainly then, DCT’s jewelry line defines a new era of jewelry and tech wearables.
On Day 2 of Fashion Startup Week, I had the honor of sitting down with two of DCT’s three founders, Mario Lavorato and Heng Tang, to chat about how they manage an incredible business, inspirations behind the brand, and their future trajectories.
I just want to give a shout out to these lads who were so gracious in agreeing to have this interview with me and for their support of startup fashion businesses.
Ok, so you went to the top school in Canada, University of Toronto. On a scale of 1-10, how important do you think was the impact of your education on your career and in what way?
Mario: 10; We couldn’t do any of what we’re doing now without it. We learned less about actual physical architecture than we did about design programs and layouts and how to market yourself and your designs. We come up with an idea, make sure it’s relevant, present it to people in a way that is interesting, engaging, and then we have to sell it. We’re using the same program designing our jewellery as the ones we learned in school.
Heng: 11; we wouldn’t be here without our education. Everything from web design, photoshop, are also learned through schooling.
Both of you have a Master of Architecture which is brilliant, but you don’t have a business degree. So how are you running such an incredible business?
M: Trial and Error (laughs)
H: Just make mistakes (laughs)
M: To me, honestly, you can’t learn business in school—it doesn’t exist. Books about business are just words on paper. To run a business, you have to physically run one.
H: For example, you can’t just build a building in architecture school (both laughs)
What would you say is the trend that DCT is most closely emulating at the moment?
M: We’re really starting our own trend. We come up with an idea, play around with the design, and if we love it, then that’s what happening this season.
Where do you draw inspiration from, besides nature, because I know that’s a big theme for DCT?
M: Architecture; moving forward, what we’re working on is a couple new collections that will be very specifically inspired by architecture, not just vaguely. So a bracelet that will look like iconic structures, like the Guggenheim for example.
H: I agree — it’s going to have that homage to iconic architecture.
Let’s come back to the theme of nature for a bit– all the pieces are inspired by nature in some ways but why nature? I find it ironic because the pieces are made using 3D printers and advanced technology which are so far away from what nature is.
M: I think it would be ignorant to assume that nature and technology are independent disciplines. The symbiosis between nature and technology is inevitable. In 100 years, there will be no nature and technology; it will be a symbiosis between the two that works to the benefit of both. That’s the only way for us to move forward.
I love the new theme of the first ever Holiday Capsule Collection—fluidity of water. But I must say I’m curious why you picked that theme for the holidays and not the more affiliative topics with the holidays such as snow or ice?
M: We try not to fall into the predictive way that media decides what is cool this season or what you should be designing. Let’s be honest, the world is full of water. There are only snowflakes in a very small percentage of the world. To us, it is a very myopic view to think that well, it’s Christmas so you should make an icicle bracelet, when it’s only Christmas for North Americans. To be an innovative fashion brand, you have to remove yourself from that common way of thinking and create something unique.
Recently, you joined forces with Holt-Renfrew to carry some specialty lines. Will the Holiday Capsule collection be a part of this line?
H: Yes, it will be available exclusively at Holt Refrew through catalog.
M: And only solid gold will be available and custom made to order. The reason being is that there is a high demand from Holt’s elite clientele for solid gold. However, we will only make it when there is an order since it’s very expensive to make.
What are your plans for the future of this company?
M: We are 100% planning to have a men’s collection, just because, honestly, we want to start wearing them (laughs). Right now the pendants and rings are pretty much unisex even though the target audience are women. So I normally wear the women’s necklace anyway. The men’s collection will be stainless steel and gun metal to add that masculine edge to them. Also, more geometric shapes instead of the flowy and soft shapes.
Now, let’s get the audience to know you guys a bit more by answering some questions about your favourite things. First up, your favourite architectural building in Toronto?
Favourite place to have brunch in Toronto?
H: homecooking, my wife makes it for me
Which is your favourite? The ring, the necklace, or the bracelet?
M: The pendant which isn’t on your list, but I guess you could put that under necklace.
M: Brad Pitt
H: Angelina Jolie
Favourite jewellery line other than DCT of course?
M: Tory Burch.
H: I don’t really wear jewellery…
There are rumours that you will open the first brick and mortar store in Toronto. Which location are your eyeing?
M: Good thing they’re just rumours (both laughs)