Dean and Dan Caten are two, but actually they’re one. The fashion industry’s most famous and fabulous twins are hard to separate — not just in a we’re-twins-so-we’re-alike kind of way but in a freaky we’re-so-alike-we-complete-each-other’s-sentences way. So much so, that when we first discussed the possibility of this interview before their Dubai trip this week, they refused to individually answer questions. “One voice”, they insisted.
Born 47 years ago in Toronto to an English mother and Italian father, the Catens, the youngest of nine children, have never been separated. Growing up poor, their rise to the top of the fashion world is the stuff great stories are made of. Today, their multi-million dollar worth brand DSqaured2 is synonymous with a sex appeal that remains unmatched. Fashion, the twins have come to prove, need not be just about pretty clothes — it can be wildly eccentric and arty and awesomely individualistic.
Starting with a menswear line and then womenswear, DSquared2 has over the years also found favour with the celebrity set - Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Madonna, Kanye West, Halle Berry, Rihanna. From Dubai to Nanjing, Milan to Tokyo, the DSqaured2 brand has continued to grow, despite the economy, and the boys are well on their way, as they, to conquer the world.
On their way to the top, they stopped by for two days in the UAE — and tabloid! got some love time with them, together.
Q Welcome back to Dubai.
A: We are very excited to be back. It has been a while and last time we came we had a blast.
Q: What do you love most about Dubai and the Middle East? What are the things you can’t wait to do?
A; The people have a remarkable sense of style in Dubai. We love the city and it is probably one of the most glamorous places. We can’t wait to go to our store, meet our wonderful VIP guests and have some downtime by the pool.
Q: How has DSquared2 done in the UAE and in the Middle East from your perspective?
A: The brand is doing well and continuing to grow. It is a market that gives us a lot of positive feedback and we will continue to grow in the Middle East.
Q: So much have been written about your similarities. What are the things that make you two most different from each other?
A: It is true we are very alike but we have some difference: Dan is a little bit more patient,from a business point of view he also takes care of the legal/ finance part. For the other things we are very much alike.
Q: I know you do a lot of things together. Anything you like to do individually (besides the obvious)?
A: Besides the obvious, we like to do everything together. We never do things separately not even when its vacation time. We are more than business partners we are brothers and best friends. For us doing everything together comes naturally.
Q: If you were to both create your own individual fashion labels, what would they be like?
A: We would never create our own individual fashion labels. We are an inseparable duo and our creative minds work wonders together.
Q: Where do you place yourself in the industry compared to other fashion pairs?
A: We our own selves and our own brand. Every designer or fashion duo is different and unique we don’t really like comparison as they are not fitted. Our background and rounds make our brand different from all the others. Even more, we are not a fashion pair the way other duos might be business partners. We were born as a pair, as twin brothers and this makes our relationship unique and not comparable to other pairs.
Q: You said ‘nothing exceeds like excess’ in your press note at the recent Milan Fashion Week. Weren’t you concerned that the message you’re sending contrasted with the state of the global economy?
A: We like to be playful and to tease our audience especially during our live shows. Nothing exceeds like excess when it comes to accessories. You can never get enough bracelets or statement necklaces as you can probably tell from our recent women’s spring-summer 2013 show. It is a comment on styling that has nothing to do with the world economy.
Q: Are you ever concerned about the economy?
A: Of course we are just like everyone else. The economy has an impact on the way people think and buy and how they react to luxury goods and fashion. We are concerned about the economy and for this reason we work hard on creating timeless pieces or basic must haves that are worth the investment.
Q: Would you say you are good businessmen? Who is a better businessman between the two of you?
A: Of course, you have to be if you want to make it in this industry. The creative aspect doesn’t stand alone without the business side. Dan is probably the better businessman.
Q: The Milan show was naughty as usual. But would you say it would be one of the sexiest (or naughtiest) collection ever?
A: Every show is special to us and sexy in its own way. We have a different inspiration for every show. Being sexy in the 1990s is of course different than being sexy in the late 1950s.This collection, inspired by the supermodel Glamazons from the 1990s was definitely daring and sexy.
Q: How important is social media to you and for the brand?
A: Social media are really important. It’s a way to stay connected with all of our fans and clients. We love updated as much as people and we actually really have fun doing it. We want to keep our fans updated with our trips, collections, appointments and special news. We also love to surprise them with special behind the scenes coverage from our events or fashion shows.
Q: Where else would you like to take DSquared2?
A: The sky is the limit. We want to continuing exposing the brand to the entire world. We plan to open many more boutiques in the upcoming year and to continue to grow.
Q: You started off really young in the industry. Looking back, are there things you would do differently?
A: Without all the things that we have experienced in the past we wouldn’t be at the place we are today. We live with no regrets and we are lucky to have had this great opportunity at a young age. We worked really hard for everything we got and we wouldn’t change anything.
Q: Do you consider yourself tough? How tough does one have to be to make it in the fashion business?
A: The fashion industry is very hard and very, very competitive. You need to be tough to make it and also very focused and ambitious. When things get a little hard you need to believe and your talent and work as hard as needed to make things happen. Of course, a little luck always helps.
Q: Looking back, how would you rate your success – and what else is there to achieve?
A: We feel so lucky. We get to live our dream and do what we love as our job. We would love for Dsquared2 to continue to grow and we are planning to opening more boutiques all over the world. Stay tuned.
Q: What are your relationship statuses?
A: We can’t tell you that.
Q: What are the five things you can’t live without?
A: Each other.
*The DSqaured2 boutique is located at The Dubai Mall. Call 04-3398709.