Industry Insider: Chet Dillon
Industry Insider: Chet Dillon
- Words Jake Metzger
- Date June 09, 2016
Born and raised in Cali, Chet Dillon is the manager at one of our favorite brands, 11 by Boris Bidjan Saberi. Not just a friend of Grailed, Chet has impeccable taste and is an industry insider with a backstory that any fashion head can relate to. We sat down with him over a few beers to discuss his work at BBS, his influences, and what he's currently up to.
How did you first break into the fashion industry?
I'd say I broke into the fashion industry early on around age 15. My mom's best friend owned a skate shop in California where I lived and at the time I was working at his shop. Then, when the manager quit, I quickly became the manager of the shop which then turned into a buying position. Even though it was a skate shop it also had a street side, so I was buying Howel jeans, Nudies, Artful Dagger, Prps, Von Dutch and the like. So essentially I really got my start buying for a skate boutique, which led me to the trade shows, which eventually led me to moving on and working in other stores like Barney’s and Bloomingdales.
So, safe to say that skate culture had a big influence on you getting into the industry?
Pretty much. Funding my skateboarding by working in a skate shop which then led me into fashion. Then I did hair for a bit and then went back to fashion in the end just because it always revolved around skateboarding. It was pretty much paying my way to be able to travel and skate, which was sick.
Where have you worked in the past and how did you end up at Boris?
I worked for about 5 years with a company called Fashion Glue, which is a consulting firm based out of Venice, California and Italy. It's a multi-brand based consulting group that works with brands like Alexander Plokhov, Skingraft, Siki, Costume National, Lost & Found by Ria Dunn, etc. I worked with them for those years doing brand consulting, sales, and PR & marketing. I recently went to Boris about a year ago, when they were opening the 11 store. I was brought on by Karim Sobati, the director of the BBS NY flagship. From there I became the manager of the 11 store and have also been able to be involved with the team here and in Barcelona working on campaigns and content for the brand, which is really cool and gives me a creative outlet.
Do you have any plans for the 11 line that you can tell people about? A vision for the brand?
I can't speak for the designer or the full creative team in Barcelona, but I can say that there's definitely a very low-key skate team underway, and you'll start seeing footage being dropped here and there throughout New York City within a local group of people, that are like-minded and are friends of mine. There will definitely be other street campaigns going out through New York like the ones you've seen. We plan to keep building our audience in NYC and internationally in an organic way, with the street campaigns and throwing events during fashion week and at the store. I’d also like to say that the technical garments and the rest of the collection that are on their way for the AW16 season are even far superior to where they’re at this season. The quality and technical design of the collections just keep getting better with time.
Do you have any influences or anything that you use to inform your creative process?
I always wanted to work for Boris because he comes from a background that I kind of associate myself with, which was skateboarding and hip hop, two things that I've always felt that I truly loved. So I still feel like that's what influences me most in my life - those two things. However, I would say that it's less on the hip hop side now and more on the skateboarding side. The stuff I like from hip hop definitely comes from the 90's era and the mid 2000s. Less attachment to today's music and more to the past. I also would say that just simplifying everything overall from an aesthetic perspective is where I'm coming from. Less is more.
Do you have any favorite brands or designers aside from Boris?
Yeah, I have a few. There's a few up and coming - I would like to say that I like to celebrate young artists that are doing clothing more than say, a designer. I would say that most designers are just printing graphics and stuff on silhouettes that are pretty standard and nothing new, which is fine and it's more of a marketing ploy than a design label. I really fuck with my boy Guillermo's stuff from 424. He's not necessarily re-inventing the wheel but he's doing things well, the right way and he has a dedicated audience. Other kids from the surrounding New York area like Warren Lotas who is doing a lot of hand painted drawings and stuff on his pants - I really like what he's doing. A few other young cats that I really see doing cool stuff.
But you're mostly fucking with the up-and-coming guys who really take the design, the art seriously?
Yeah, and you know some of the other veteran dudes that are really doing their thing like Matthew Williams with Alyx - he's been doing a gang of dope shit for years. His stuff is really out there. I really like Bradley Soileau and his Blackfist label - the prints and the jeans and the punk aspect he's doing. Other than that, as far as mainstream labels you have your biggest design labels in fashion designed by other designers that have private lines and they're just dumbing down their private lines for corporate consumption, which isn't very inspiring. It all goes back to less is more.
When did you find out about Grailed and how and how do you utilize the platform? What kinds of items do you sell?
To be honest, I don't exactly remember - I feel like you told me about Grailed when we met at the store.
Maybe...haha. Sounds familiar
I use Grailed for a number of things. I've sold things for other people, I've sold personal stuff - working at Boris at this point in time, I pretty much only wear Boris, not necessarily exclusively, but primarily just because I work and rep the brand and I like what I do. So I've sold a lot of my old stuff on Grailed - Plokhov, MA+, lots and lots and lots of Rick, CCP, some Haider - stuff like that. Some Guidi. For me it's less of the hype Yeezy stuff and more of the Grailed high end fashion stuff that I've kept over the years. Chrome Hearts, Werkstatt, etc… I would say that it's definitely the most fair marketplace for a new consumer, post-Style Zeitgeist. Style Zeitgeist always had an older consumer that understood the product, however they weren’t always so quick to buy the product you know - items would sit for a month or more. For me Grailed was that perfect medium between eBay and Style Zeitgeist. One that has an informed consumer that prices items to move competitively.
Do you have any hobbies? What does your average day look like? Anything you can talk about?
I work from 10-7 every day. If I'm not doing that I'm normally working on another form of Boris or hanging with my girlfriend or skating. The simple things really. I don't go out. I don't drink really. I smoke lots of weed.
How do you describe your style?
I would say that my style is very Boris, but simplistic. With some minimal skate mixed in. I wear lots of jewelry. Other than that I wear tank tops and jeans and vans. I always wear vans regardless. But I'll wear like hand-stitched pants that are crazy expensive and then I'll wear a K-Mart shirt. I'd say that's how I describe my style. $2500 pants, Old Skools, and a K-Mart shirt. And a nice watch I guess.
Favorite piece you own?
My favorite piece that I own is probably my handmade P13 Boris pants from the current season that have a bit of stretch in them. I wear them almost every single day. They're amazing.
Favorite place to travel?
Probably Positano, Italy - the Amalfi coast. It's beautiful and I really don't know anyone there, so it's great. Very chill and I can be myself. Keep things simple. Turn the phone off.
Shop some of Chet's favorite items on Grailed below. And if you're in NYC be sure to check out the 11 by BBS Summer Sale/Reopening Party happening on Saturday June, 11th, which we've linked to above.