This week we checked in with Lower Haight local, CEO and Co-Owner of DSF Clothing Company, Devon Chulick. Here’s what he had to say:
How did you get into screen printing?
Five years ago I saw the oncoming of rising rents and realized we would need to grow our business or die. We had always printed through other shops for some of our own designs, but I decided to start printing our own. I bought a book and learned to do the basics myself. After printing 100 shirts, I realized it was well worth it to invest in a real press and hire some amazing people who knew 100x more about the process than I did.
The screen printed apparel for sale at DSF seems to always have a finger on the cultural pulse of the city. Where do you (and your design team) draw inspiration for your prints?
A lot of the time it’s just me and the staff spitballing, or I’ll be out and I just write down every idea that pops in my head, no matter how weird it is. I look at them later and see what sticks. I have tons of notes everywhere with ideas that popped in my head just out and about.
What does the screen printing process entail, from the original idea to being a finished product on sale in the shop?
Usually I take the concept/idea and figure out what designer or artists would be a good match aesthetically for the project. After pitching them and going back an fourth on notes, the design is prepped for separation and films. Once we have printed the films out, we burn the image onto screens with with them. Usually in the design process we have chosen colors that work, and the right type of garment. After the screens are down we lay down one screen of color at a time. Bam, there is your shirt. After that, my staff and I usually comes up with some good copy for the shirt online, and a couple fun photo ideas.
How did you end up in San Francisco?
My friend Byron took me out to the Lower Haight 9 years ago, to Rosemunde, Toronado and Mad Dog in the Fog. I realized that if this was SF then I had to move here. I spent the first two years here trying to get my feet on the ground, subletting for 1-3 months at a time, living in closet sized rooms, friends couches, and the occasional 1 bedroom while house sitting.
DSF has been operating in the Lower Haight since 2006. What have been your biggest takeaways from being part of the neighborhood community for ten years?
Get to know your neighbors. I feel fortunate to live in this hood, and operate the shop here. My surrounding businesses and neighbors are amazing, and the sense of community from bringing them together and being part of their lives is very rewarding.
Where are your favorite places to go or things to do in San Francisco? or Where do you take friends when they come to visit?