IN MY ELEMENT.
We want Hiut Denim to be the uniform of the creative man and woman. In this series we’ve teamed up with storyteller Ian Sanders to talk to some of our customers who work in the creative industries about what fires them up and when they are in their element.
#1 Dan Rubin
It’s a Monday morning in December and Dan Rubin is on the 09.19 train from Leigh-on-Sea to London’s Fenchurch Street station. Dan grew up in Florida but two and a half years ago he made Leigh-on-Sea a temporary home whilst he works out where he’ll live next.
“I like to escape the craziness, noise and the rush of the city in the quietness of Leigh. Here there are open skies and no-one’s in a hurry,” he says of the town situated on the north banks of The Thames Estuary.
Big estuary skies
Dan loves train journeys and finds this 45 minute trip to London beneficial. Through the window, as the train heads west from coast to capital, moored boats bob about on the high tide. He finds looking out of the train window really valuable to switch off, to process and reflect.
“On a train journey, I get lost in the moment. I can zone out. It’s like being in the shower, a meditative state where I get lost in my thoughts.”
He finds this coastline inspirational: the vast skies and broad estuary offer a promise of escape. From the mouth of the Thames to the open waters of the North Sea, there’s a sense of endless opportunities. Dan explains he needs open, natural spaces for his brain to breathe. “I like that feeling of wide open space because it translates to the mental space,” he says.
Not having an office
When Dan moved to Leigh-on-Sea he started an experiment: he chose not to have any permanent office space nor a desk space at home. That means he’s forced to get out to cafes to get things done. He’s not only removed the restrictive ties of being desk-bound, he has another reason to get out and about: “Having moved across an ocean and not knowing tons of people, I didn’t want to be a hermit!”
Dan likes to experiment with how and where he works: “Removing the permanent office allows the freedom to explore an alternative way of relating to that thing called ‘work’.”
Travelling for inspiration
Dan’s work means he spends around half the year travelling — already half of 2016 is booked up. He explains that it’s on a journey where he gets most of his inspiration whether for writing, ideas or design.
Whether it’s travelling to far flung destinations, or trips closer to home, he finds inspiration everywhere. Dan recently finished a photography project travelling around the UK to towns he’d never seen before. “Even if some towns were carbon copies of others, because I hadn’t seen that particular place before, it was interesting, it was new.”
‘What do you do?’
Throughout his career Dan’s juggled various roles and disciplines. There’s no one job title that captures what he does. If he’s talking to a neighbour on a plane, his answer to the “what do you do?” question will depend on the reason he’s travelling. “For example, I might say, ‘on this trip I’m a photographer’. That way it’s a contextual answer, it ends up sparking conversation,” he explains.
Having spent his life developing skillsets in design and photography, he’s in a position to work with a broad range of clients in different industries.
“My life has led to a point where I can almost mould everything that’s coming up ahead of me into whatever I want it to be… which is both exciting and also terrifying!” he says with a smile.
Where he feels most ‘Dan’
Dan explains he’s in his element when he’s surrounded by people who understand the world in the same way he does. One place where he recently felt this was at The Do Market, a small event in London that showcased a collection of small British brands including Hiut Denim and The Do Book Company.
“I’m most me when I’m around people who are on the same wavelength. A lot of positive momentum comes out of that,” he says.
Loving the attention to detail
Today Dan is wearing Hiut Denim. He first heard about Hiut a few years ago through friends in the design industry. “I immediately loved the product, I loved the way it was presented, I loved the story behind it.”
The brand appeals to Dan not only as a consumer, but also as a designer. As a creative director, he uses the brand as an example of how to present a story around a product.
Being a very detail-oriented person, he also loves the brand’s attention to the small things.
But what took him from merely a fan of distance to a devotee were the Tech Jeans. He’s worn them nearly every day since discovering them. The Tech Jean features a crimped polyester that is designed to flex. “As a photographer you have to get into weird contortions: the Tech Jean is great for that. They’re also practical for trains and planes. And they’re also good for a business meeting.”
Now he spreads the word about Hiut. “When you find yourself in a position where you fall in love with a product or service, you can’t help but rave about it to other people.” 45 minutes from where we started, the train pulls into Fenchurch Street station. Looking out of the window to the Tower of London and across the river to the Shard, Dan says he still gets excited about going to the city. And with that, he bounds off in his Hiuts to the tube…