Updated: Apr 14
Throughout our travels, we have had the privilege of connecting with some really cool folks that we now call friends. They have become a part of the Sea Culture community, which for the most part, is pretty tight-knit. It's always inspiring to meet people who love their craft as much as we do. From creators to innovators and everything in between, our series Friends of The Brand highlights the incredible stories and experiences they have had along the way.
This Friends of the Brand post highlights our Founder Dan Tagliamonte. His Journey from an idea to the brand we know today and everything in between.
Some people are lucky enough to find their passion early; Dan Tagliamonte, Founder of SEA CULTURE, is one of the lucky few to get up every day and live his passion and vision for his clothing brand.
Dan has always loved building things and seeing the final product through. After a conversation with a friend about retail and the clothing industry, Dan saw an opportunity to build something of his own. He became obsessed with the stories behind the brands. To name a few of these brands, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger had such rich backgrounds and quality products to back them up. Feeling connected to these stories but coming up empty-handed with the fit and feel, Dan knew that this felt like something he could design and see the final product he was searching for.
We asked our founder a few questions about his journey and the creation of
Q. WHAT WERE YOUR INTENTIONS FOR CREATING SEA CULTURE?
A. I always wanted to do my own thing. I fell in love with clothing, but more importantly, what drew me to the fashion industry was that you could create a world. SEA CULTURE for me is an incubator for all of the things that I am passionate about. I mean, it's pretty simple, I'm making clothes that I like wearing, and that fit into my lifestyle. The biggest thing that sets us apart is the detail. I obsess over the little things and want everything to be perfect.... obviously, there's some compromise because I'll spend months designing a product and just keep tweaking it. I am slowly learning about what "pencils down" means.
He wanted to make clothing he felt good wearing. He thought that nothing he was buying hit him quite the right way. He wanted to make something special and unique that everyone would love to wear. So, after graduating high school and continuing his hockey career, it finally came time to come home and start on the next chapter in his life.
Starting a clothing brand is a big undertaking, but Dan knew what he wanted to do. He began with a few products, a t-shirt and hat design. With no formal training, Dan was learning all the steps along the way by himself. From sourcing fabrics and connecting with small family-owned factories, he started to create the world of SEA CULTURE. Dan wanted nothing but the best quality fabrics for his clothing. Taking trips to New York City, he found materials made out of recycled polyester, BCI Cotton, and dyes out of teas that he incorporated in the brand for sustainable practices to help eliminate waste that the fashion world brings.
Q. WHAT DOES QUALITY MEAN TO YOU?
A. It means everything to me. People work hard for their money, and when they buy something from us, they expect a certain level of quality. Quality in customer service, quality in the product and packaging, and quality in how we build out our stores. It's the main driver for us. I want you to wear our clothes and not feel like you have to be careful in them. Quality sets you apart in the long run, and for us, it becomes a part of the brand. When you think of SEA CULTURE, the first thing I want you to think of is quality.
Starting this journey, he attended pop-up markets and teamed up with small retail stores in his area to get his name out and meet future customers.
Q. WHAT INSPIRES EACH COLLECTION?
A. I don't think one single idea inspires me. I mean, I could walk down the street and see a guy wearing a beat-up old t-shirt with a cool print, and that could spark the next collection. As I said, I am in my own little world with SEA CULTURE, so when I come up with a product, it goes through a ton of questions before we even get the sample started. Like, where are they going to be wearing it? Will it look good with past products that we currently sell? How are they going to feel while wearing it?
What are they going to be driving while wearing our stuff? Answering those questions actually gets me more inspired. Then I think about If I'm missing it in my closet. So I go back and forth about each individual product until we have a whole collection laid out and ready to go for each season. I also use Pinterest a lot...
Dan was featured in Forbes in 2018 for his sustainable aspects of the young brand. This article was motivation and recognition for the brand. Dan knew he was creating something unique.
Q. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF SEA CULTURE?
A. Well I love sketching out a product, Imagining where I'm going to be wearing it, getting the first samples in, and then finally seeing it finished on the rack for customers to buy. The product has been the thing that always gets me excited. It feels like Christmas every time a sample comes in.. it just gets my creativity flowing and I get really inspired. Another favorite aspect is seeing customers react to our product. Being with my little team at the store and seeing our customers get excited about where they are going to wear their new clothes is so cool. It's also so surreal walking by a complete stranger in our clothes. Seeing how this brand has been perceived by everyone just solidifies that this is what I'm supposed to be doing with my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
In the summer of 2018, Dan attended an event in Skaneateles, not knowing that just a year later, he would be opening up a shop right around the corner. At that event, Dan had become a Chamber of Commerce member and had put his feelers out for shop openings.
Q: WHAT MADE YOU PICK SKANEATELES, NY FOR YOUR FLAGSHIP STORE?
A. It was such an easy decision. Skaneateles, NY is so rich in history with boating, I mean the first Lightening Sailboat was tested and launched on Skaneateles Lake. The rich history paired with the amazing village was such a draw for us. We also wanted to make our store a destination spot for our customers. The store is a few feet from the water and we wouldn't want it any other way. We are so honored and lucky to be a part of such an amazing town like Skaneateles. We are even more honored to be able to provide local customers with our full collection along with a premium cigar selection and whiskey tastings upon request! I hope everyone gets to stop by sometime and take a look around.
In December 2019, that dream became a reality. Opening the shop created a new world for Sea Culture to thrive. This brought new products and opportunities for the brand to keep growing. Using Sea Cultures' sustainable roots, the shop décor became a mix of new and old. Finding vintage-inspired pieces that complemented the clean and fresh look of the clothing. Today Sea Cultures Flag Ship store is at 11 Jordan Street Skaneateles, NY.
Follow along Sea Cultures Journey on Instagram @seaculturbrand