04 Jun, 2019 ·
Denuo, A Story
04 Jun, 2019 ·
This entry has taken a little under nine months in preparation and in that time, it came to no surprise that what was meant to be a simple introduction to brand vision became an intensive personal process refining purpose and self-actualization. And in even writing this, I can’t completely say I’ve come to a culmination of sorts that forces the action (on the contrary, I feel I’ve but flipped preface of this chapter for Denuo). Perhaps its the pressuring heat scorching into the HQ, the immediacy from the heaps of unironed/unsorted clothes scattered about, maybe just anxious energy needing release, but most likely, it’s because I’ve shut my brain off, opened my gut, and just chose to finally do this today - a difficult decision in saying, “it’s either now or never”. If it sounds simple… it’s not, and that’s all I have to say about it.
As Denuo’s brand director, there’s an unsettling level of vulnerability that’s asked of me at this point in time and is the main reason why it’s taken quite a preparation; communication is a fundamental component in the brand’s development but also in my personal and professional growth. It has been the field of great scrutiny, delusion, clarity and empowerment for all and one of intense study for Denuo. In light of me stepping into my renewed role, I’ve learned that effective communication is a key tool, if not the only tool, that leads to genuine opportunities and strong leadership (inner peace). It is the only tool that will deliver the energy of a life’s work into those of others truthfully, contribute with immeasurable possibilities, puzzle back ideas of disconnect (a concept so deeply-seated in my passions), and expose curious new facets of worth(love). And so, these sentiments have brought us to the virtual doorstep of blog exposure to attempt (with my not to snuff writing but hopefully excusable) to convey valued proof-positive learned lessons with the heartfelt character of this entity of a brand, Denuo.
Here we go!
Once Upon a Time…
I can’t help but think that when asked how Denuo began, most hope to hear a fantastic hero’s journey about exceptional persons with the foresight of sustainable fashion’s importance in our local community. Truth is, it all began as unplanned as it functions today.
It must be said, that Denuo was the fruit of a wonderful friendship between three individuals in 2012, myself included. It was through this friendship that Denuo’s roots took hold and matured with age. It’s taken me these last few minutes to really find the appropriate way to express that the short three years from its inception was akin to the seedling stage in a plant cycle wherein we barely knew the brand’s true form (if it was a brand at all). It’s also intentional that I centre the business’ beginnings on relationship because Denuo is not founded on fashion notes or industry acumen but simply out of good-natured joy participating in whatever, albeit small, means (blog and small scale capsule collection consignments) in an industry that empowers us. The point here is that, together, thick-skinned and naively, we began to unintentionally embody Denuo as it’s true meaning anew by being some outspoken kids willing to challenge misconceptions of garment value.
And the rest is history - is what I want to say, but like aforementioned, this blog endeavour calls on me to be incredibly vulnerable. And so, I come to the pivotal phase in the brand’s early life; the period into Denuo’s 2016 rebranding as a sustainable platform.
The tail end of 2014 up until late 2016, I managed Denuo solo during a period of great personal transformation. As in many transformations, there is the death of the old and the struggle to bring life renewed. Often times, people (like myself) have a hard time talking about these phases in their careers, even though they’re the cornerstones for integrity development. But, it’s important for me to speak of it now, for myself if no one else, that it’s during this and many moments like it, that lessons from the painful stripping away of pieces of you that no longer serve a higher will is a necessary process that uncovers a genuine truth. And in this discovery, a conscious decision was made to commit to simply what could be - with no formal training and background in business or fashion, the motivation split between an illusory belief that, regardless of its smallness and short-comings, Denuo needed to exist and that it gave my life meaning.
Now, the rest is present - Denuo is entering an exciting new chapter full of celebration and developing a connection through the means bestowed upon us. In this turn, we open ourselves to a new maximum and explore paths we never fathomed possible. And here begins the story of Denuo…
A heart of gold
Let’s use a story to introduce a story;
It’s said that many years ago, the holy Siamese monks disguised a sacred golden Buddha in a thick clay shell to protect it from invaders. For the monks, the statue transcended monetary value but knew that the concept of gold is not safe in the hands of greed. During the raid, the monks lost their lives but the statue, thought worthless by the invaders, remained unharmed and unnoticed.
For many more years after, the statue was cared for by new generations of monks, as a clay figure. As its spiritual reverence grew, great attention was given to preserving the hard outer shell - until the day it accidentally cracked. Then, its caretakers started to chip away the clay to reveal the golden core figure. It is said that the same Buddha now resides in a temple in Thailand.
Rich in meaning, the story parallels the process of growth we endure throughout our lives. As Allan Cohen explains, similar to the Buddha's experience of trauma, we too develop our own shells to protect us from external forces that could take advantage of our greatest treasures within. But, as in the story, with help, we can find the courage to chip away what no longer serves us to reveal our truth and live as our highest self. It is important to note that, as with the statue, our worth does not diminish in time or with how we are treated, but rather develops transcendently from worldly attachments. It can then be said that, regardless of how we are seen, it is the connections and meaning we create in other lives that contribute to our worth.
Humour us as we take this moment to introduce her as an independent entity. Denuo is unlike traditional businesses and fashion brands, in that it isn’t much of either. Throughout the seven years of its development, it became increasingly difficult to box in the vastness of what she is, and so I no longer will. Denuo is a feminine force in the fashion and business industry and how that looks is entirely reflective of what can be done and is needed. It is quite vague and to some, somewhat strange, but I’m at a loss for words. There are limitations in labels and conforming the concepts of Denuo so soon (it seems) jeopardizes core values and paths we’ve yet to make. In this sense, the only appropriate step forward is in saying that the brand embodies feminine energy towards two platforms of business practice (where responsible influence takes precedence) and in the fashion industry (where expression empowers).
Because of this, throughout the years, it was difficult to explain who Denuo was to markets and communities and peers. But, I believe now is the time to state our truth; through the platform, we’ve developed and all the blessings received, Denuo steps into its complete feminine - broadening perceptions, supporting growth, celebrating beauty, nurturing connections, and providing a bit of life for like-hearts.
As the sole architect and vessel for this entity from late 2018, I’m presented with the challenging task of carrying it to the future and hopefully, sharing it with the next generation. In that respect, communication now is vital in connecting with our community, developing stronger activations and being seen. We have a long way to go but it hasn’t stopped us yet.