Fighting fast fashion trends with a Frankenstein approach to leather jackets

‘May Cause Urge to Love or Rebel.’

The message reads loud and clear at the foot of each jacket’s care instructions. Less of a warning, more of a manifesto: The message perfectly encapsulates Deadwood’s ethos of rebellion and general rage against the fashion industry.

Founded in Stockholm in 2012 by long-time friends Carl Ollson and Felix von Bahder, Deadwood create new leather jackets with old-school attitude in a bid for sustainability and back-to-basics fashion ideals. According to Carl and Felix, the clothing industry – today a 3 billion dollar global industry – is one of the dirtiest in the world. ‘Fast fashion’ and ‘anxious design’ have not only replaced a love for genuine self-expression and solid craftsmanship, they have sown the seeds for a buy-cheap-buy-often mentality that could give two shits about sustainability or ethical working conditions, let alone the simple matter of style.

Deadwood puts two fingers up to this trend. Far from providing a breeding ground for exploitation and mass production, their ateliers are a place for skilled workers to express and develop their own creativity. With a passion for all things pre-worn and pre-loved, Deadwood’s craftspeople use consumer waste in the form of out-of-style leather garments to craft fresh new jackets and accessories with a distinctly vintage soul.

Now, as far as symbols of rebellion go, the leather jacket is either an enduring poster boy of classic cool or a tired and hackneyed caricature of an already over-exposed counter culture. And that’s exactly where Deadwood likes to position itself. With slogans like ‘Bruised Knee Youth’ and ‘Fuck Trump’ scribbled nonchalantly across a number of their core jackets, it’s clear that Deadwood like to walk a fine line between the classic biker culture of the Post-War era and the trashy in-your-face aesthetic of the punk-rock scene.

It’s a ballsy attitude to be sure. One that would look a little forced in the wrong hands. But after years of cutting their teeth in the flea markets and vintage stores of Stockholm’s fashion scene, the guys behind Deadwood have the credentials and the credibility to back it all up. But I doubt they’d care either way: Carl and Felix have little interest in what’s cool right now. They’ve always had an eye on that which endures, on what’s likely to be left when the dust settles. By their own admission, they’re not looking to reinvent the fashion industry, just our perception of it.

Words by Will Halbert
Image Credits by Bayleaf photography by Izabela Rachwal, Mez Club photography courtesy of The Mez Club