ASTRONAUTS AND INDIANS
In Conversation with Scott Daniels: An Interview with Founder and Creative Director of Astronauts & Indians
Product Photography, Lifestyle Photography, Editorial
THE STORY OF ASTRONAUTS & INDIANS
The brand started a few years ago when I was making my own clothes at home on a sewing machine. I was working as an architect, but was always doing projects outside of work like making furniture, screen printing, and lighting design- tinkering, making and exploring. As an architect I was designing homes so most of my personal interaction with the projects was digital and once was done, it was out of my hands. I didn’t get to experience my own creation.
THE REWARDS OF MAKING CLOTHING
Clothing has a quick turnaround time and then I get to wear it. I get to play with it and experience it. I can come up with an idea, make it and then live with it for a long time. I decided I wanted to quit doing architecture and try to start a clothing line. Even though I’d been doing clothes for a while there was still so much to learn.
At that time I was doing denim and men’s jeans so that’s the first thing I started working on. I then started to do men’s shirting and took trips out to Japan to learn about different fabrics and to visit mills. I went all around LA looking for the best local manufacturers.
I’ve worked with ceramics since I was kid, but I didn’t have a place to do it here in LA until recently. I was doing clothing during the day and at night going to mess around at his studio and just play. That play eventually evolved into the first collection of ceramic-ware that I released last year. I’d been making these objects and I really liked them, it wasn’t planned out. I thought, “Maybe I’ll introduce this into the brand.” It’s a totally different thing than the clothing where I’m ordering fabrics from Japan and am relying on one factory to cut, another factory to sew, and another place to wash. With ceramics I just go into the studio and make stuff.
THE FUTURE OF THE BRAND
My idea for the brand goes way beyond clothes, but I’ve found that I’m limited in what I can do based on how much money I am able to invest. In order to use the materials I want without making sacrifices in quality, money is really important. The longer I do this, the more I realize what I can and can’t do. I was working on a collection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, pants and blue jeans. After a lot of development, I’m now taking a step back to look at how I want to do it financially. In the meantime, I’m creating a collection of ceramic objects and art beyond functional dish ware.
I’m in this transition, looking back to reflect which direction is best for me to go in. I only have so much time, so where do I want to devote my attention to? I’ve been trying to do everything for a while and when you try to do everything you only get a little bit done.
Right now, I’m really interested in designing functional things, the things you interact with on a daily basis. At my house I’m able to have a whole collection of my own dishware, everything I eat off of I’ve made and a lot of the furniture in my home I’ve made too. I’m interacting with all these things that I make, to me that is the most rewarding part.
ON STAYING CREATIVE
We’re in LA so when I leave my house I’m already inspired in so many different ways. I live in Venice and there are a lot of creatives and interesting people here. The clothing they’re wearing can be really unique, sometimes I’ll get inspired by a guy walking down the sidewalk. There are artists and designers all over this city making really cool stuff. Inspiration is never short; if anything it’s overwhelming how much is out there to get inspired by. To stay creative, that’s never been a shortfall for me.
I always have a million more ideas than I have time to do. The real struggle is deciding what I’m going to do. How to take the limited time that I have and deciding what I’m going to apply that to. Things take a long time to get done if I’m going to do it right, especially if I’ve never done them before. I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting your time on things that aren’t the most important to me.
WORKING WITH SGD
The process of working with Leo and Dunja is really liberating and fun. It opened my eyes to new things. It definitely gets the gears rolling and thinking about new ideas.
I don’t ever have access to a photo studio like you, I don’t have access to Dunja’s expertise and her skill. To hang out with Dunja and Leo with a small idea of the direction and to take that seed to see how it grows is a really good process.