D.C. native and Brooklyn-based designer Ellen Van Dusen is Dusen Dusen. Her label is bursting with vibrant textiles featuring hand-drawn designs which complement her sleek, no-fuss shapes that say “relax—you can do this; I understand you.” At the crux of Van Dusen’s designs are sought-after elements of comfort and accessibility without the sacrifice of personal style or dignity.
The line is as wonderfully unpretentious and refreshingly laid-back as the designer herself. I had the chance to meet her last month when my band, Sleepy Feet, played a basement show with her brothers’ equally killer and clever band, The Doozies. Ellen apparently hyped the show to her friends in support of her brothers, and stuck out the diaphoretic Brooklyn-in-July basement vibes; I imagine she tastefully wiped away the beer and sweat of the raucous crowd with the same coolness mirrored in her label’s clothing.
I had heard about Ellen and her work long before our encounter, as my bandmate is thick as thieves with Ellen’s two younger brothers and grew up friendly with the Van Dusens. This is not to say I wouldn’t have discovered Dusen Dusen on my own in due time: Van Dusen’s designs have graced the pages of BUST, been praised by musician and style icon Bethany Cosentino (of Best Coast), and are hanging on the rack in my favorite N.Y.C. boutique, Duo, a block away from where I grew up in the East Village.
At the basement show/party, Ellen was easy to spot. In a hot-as-hell Fort Greene brownstone, she was the only one with notable composure and understatedly fierce style. Talking to Ellen was as fun and effortless as her sleeveless dresses, as she raved to me about her affinity for rayon and lovingly teased her youngest brother about the unfortunate stain on his polka-dot shirt.
With an emphasis on tribal-prints, trippy hand-crafted acid washes, and a vintage aesthetic that amalgamates unexpected combinations into a cohesive and fresh fashion line, Dusen Dusen is a gem of a line. I’ve caught myself mooning over the stuff, and I’m sure you will, too.
Check out Urban Outfitters (yep, ya heard me right) and Shopgen to buy online and for a list of boutiques that carry Dusen Dusen, check here. For fun times, explore her website and blog. Rad independently designed summer gear, alright!