To celebrate the launch of the new Dangerfield Mills capsule collection at the Concept Store, this week we talk to Chris Johnston, the man behind the brand. Dangerfield Mills is one of our suppliers of innovatively designed bags and accessories which are made in a workshop right here in Glasgow.
If you’ve been following our local craftsmanship journal entries you’ll know one of our goals with the Concept Store was not only to showcase our own collections but to foster meaningful relationships with local makers and craftspeople to offer our customers an epic curation of impressive locally made products.
The Dangerfield Mills journey began back in Autumn 2018 when Gas Engineer Chris began sourcing fabrics and components for his first line of tote bags. Keen to source the majority as close to home as possible it wasn’t long before he took a trip to Dundee, a place where the world leaders in waxed cotton call home; Halley Stevensons. For those of you who have followed our journey, you’ll know we also use Halley Stevensons fabrics for our Outerwear!
Having run a clothing brand with a friend for 5 years Chris decided to do his own thing – freshness functionality and durability being of paramount importance. Despite the contemporary design, the Dangerfield Mills name (which we’re sure you’ll agree is epic) is taken from a long defunct and historic mill in Hawick in the South of Scotland, which was established in the early 19th century.
Despite laying his hands on great local materials and components, Chris says initially manufacturing was a real headache. We feel you Chris, we’re nearly 5 years in and it doesn’t get any easier necessarily(!)
When we first opened our doors in December 2020 the Dangerfield Mills capsule was made up of the Cormac Crossbody bag in three different Waxed Cotton fabrics. Carrying the strapline ‘Constructed with Care’ and ‘Made in Scotland’ on their swing tags, they had a warm reception!
Fast forward to today and with the recent capsule collection and variety of colours and fabrics you’re now spoiled for choice. The range starts at just £24 for the Ellis Wallet up to £79 for the Conrad Utility Tote and Leone Sacoche. The star of the show for us though is the simple, but brilliant, Marlon Bottle Sling. Chris says he can see the Marlon being a perennial product for Dangerfield Mills and we totally agree!
Like some of the other local brands we carry, we mentioned in addition to running Dangerfield Mills, Chris works as a Gas Engineer by day and just when you thought that was enough juggling – like our Creative Director Ross – he has a daughter under the age of 1 to contend with too, this journal has been a few months in the making!
Although it doesn’t have his 100% attention, Chris explains the brand has had great international success with a customer base in places as far flung as Korea, United States, Canada, Japan and Australia. With the Dangerfield Mills commitment to quality craftsmanship and its unique offering, it’s really no great surprise!
When he's not working, designing, making, parenting Chris says he's a massive fan of 80's trash cinema - that is, when he actually gets the chance to kick back with a beer... Originally from Stirling Chris is actually a bit of an oracle when it comes to the mens fashion industry. If there's any exclusive collaborations or niche brands emerging he always has his finger on the pulse.
When asked on his thoughts on Glasgow he says from a shopping perspective he wishes there were a few more stores doing under-the-radar Japanese and Asian brands. He mentions that in the late 90s he used to jump on the train to Glasgow and head straight to menswear independent Dr Jives in the Merchant City. Brands like Maharishi, Stussy, Final Home, X-Large were something special in those days and to see it in the flesh was worth the trip down never mind getting your hands on it! He explains the mind blowing impact of seeing these labels for this first still inspire him to this day.
We'll see what we can do about that Chris, it's still early days at the Concept Store you never know we could be the guys to pioneer it!
So what does the future hold for the brand? Well, Chris mentions his long term plan is to work with key stockists who almost work as collaborators, whilst building the Dangerfield Mills customer base coming through his website. There is the temptation to say yes to everyone who approaches you but Chris is keen not to spread the product out and dilute his offering – who knows there may be a Finnieston x Dangerfield Mills collaboration some day, but we’re just delighted to be a stockist at the moment!
Shop the new capsule collection in store at 305 Byres Road Glasgow today!
FOLLOW DANGERFIELD MILLS ON INSTAGRAM HERE