Our story began on the ski slopes. The downward-pointing triangle that’s at the heart of our two logos indicates the downward direction of movement which gives skiers and snowboarders their rush. Apart from being an abbreviation of Dark Sentinel (our sister brand), DSent derives partly from 'descent' and partly from 'decent' which signifies our ethical approach.
The DSent logo also took inspiration from the shape of a ski mask.
The first items to carry the DSent logo were face scarves, beanies and goggles. Soon afterwards, we started producing bright and bold sweatshirt and hoodie designs for the après-ski scene under the Dark Sentinel label. DSent was and still is more sports oriented, Dark Sentinel more about fashion. Some items we manufactured ourselves and, where we could guarantee ethical standards, we partnered with industry leaders for others. In both cases the result was the same: great quality products with eye-catching cool designs, ethically produced.
We then added our first limited edition snowboards and skis, something we continue to do occasionally in partnership with the world's best snow sports equipment manufacturers.
Hand-in-hand with skiing and snowboarding is staying in shape, and the logical next step for us was fitness apparel. We included t-shirts, fitness vests, sports bras and our best-in-the-business leggings, all made from premium materials and with a relentless focus on quality and ethical production.
It was winter sports enthusiasts who took our two brands to the street, including by some dedicated skateboarders. When we market researched various designs for this wider audience, we produced them only as samples and in limited numbers, which in turn led to them being collected and swapped. This is how our limited editions range began, with designs typically available for only two short periods and never to be repeated. As well as owning something special, collecting limited editions carries discounting benefits that can be used towards regular items (contact us for details). Some collectors have the full collection (so far) and have supported us from day one.
Limited editions aside, our clothing products still fall into the sports/fitness and casual/fashion categories, although the 'athleisure' style means that often the line separating the two is blurred.
In order to reduce environmental impact, we implemented the practice of not stocking items in advance but making them only when a customer places an order, which we'd been trialling. We continue to do this with the vast majority of our products today. It's an approach that can increase production time by a day or two and is less profitable than stacking products in advance, but there's a cost to pay if we're serious about being ethical and this means doing what's right, not what's easy.
We also introduced our unique environmental scoring benchmark, where we assess every product in our range against a set of criteria and only offer those that reach (and maintain) a minimum score of five on a ten-point scale. (We've objectively assessed many other products from well-known brands against the same criteria and many don't reach this half-way point and very few score above seven.)
This means that customers can choose to buy only those products that score highly, safe in the knowledge that they're at the upper end of environmental good-practice, or help a lower (but still 'safe') product, as the more we sell of these, the more we can improve performance and increase scores.
Our customers have shown great support and encouragement for our innovative approaches, driving us on as we ensure proper living wages for all involved in manufacturing our products and a genuine care for the environment. We don't take shortcuts and we do what's right, which isn't common in the clothing industry; one thing we've learnt is that all brands are ethical until being ethical hurts the bottom line!
Beyond clothing, we occasionally offer other products either manufactured directly by us or produced in partnership with other leading companies. These have been as varied as custom BMX bikes, boxing gloves, snorkel gear, basketballs, phone cases and gaming console skins.
Speaking of gaming, as our clothing is comfortable and great to wear all day, it was soon picked up by the esports community. Recognising this, we continue to add to our dedicated esports range, and to sponsor esports teams to help them achieve their goals.
It's not just esports teams that we sponsor, though. We've partnered with dozens of dance schools, sports clubs and yoga studios in several countries, providing their members with free kits and much needed equipment.
Now, our customers aren't just carvers, keep-fitters and joystick warriors; we appeal to anyone wanting to stand out from the crowd, who enjoys wearing a casual or fitness brand with knockout designs. Along with reasonable prices and guaranteed quality comes the knowledge that each item is made with the highest ethical standards in the industry and with global accreditation in production and materials.
Our journey from a niche to more of a mainstream manufacturer means some customers have been with us right from the top of the mountain, while others are discovering us now for the first time.
All this isn't bad for a small company that's still very young (you might be surprised to learn that it'll be several more years before our founder is no longer a teenager).
We work hard to be heard in a crowded market against competitors who typically don't share our values and have far more resources and marketing cloud than us. We get our buzz, though, from seeing the growing community who like what we do enough to join in, to spread the word on social media, to support our ethical approach and, above all, to wear our name.
If you allow our clothes to become yours, you project your identity through us, and allow us to tell the world something about you. That’s a privilege we don’t take lightly.
DSent - it's all about identity.