Our Menswear Dialogue Series continues with a discussion with Mr. Daniel Caudill, Creative Director at Shinola. Our conversation comes on the heels of a heated debate over Shinola's recent reinvention and the evolution of the brand in and around Detroit. We jump into the mind of Mr. Caudill and learn what makes him tick, just like the newly released Rambler GT he wears regularly.
Image Granted ~ What is your title/position/role at Shinola? How do your day to day responsibilities reflect your personality?
Daniel Caudill ~ As Shinola's Creative Director, I oversee every seemingly minor detail of the brand – right down to the color of the fixtures in our flagship stores and the type of wood used for the desks in our Detroit office. My days really vary because I’m always juggling multiple projects.
Some days, it’s paperwork and organization. Others, it’s putting together product categories and store environments. I’m very organized inside and outside of the office and I always try to maintain a good sense of humor to keep Shinola an enjoyable workplace.
IG ~ You've had a long history in the fashion industry. As Creative Director of an American owned and operated brand, what gets you out of bed in the morning? How do you stay motivated and keep your team invigorated to move Shinola into the next phase of growth?
DC ~ A ginger shot from Drought juice gets me out of bed in the morning. But really, I believe that there are certain cities or places that undergo truly pivotal moments, moments that history will look back on. I believe this is one of those moments in Detroit—and I am excited to be able to experience it firsthand and to participate in it every day.
IG ~ There hasn't been an American made watch to stand up to the Swiss made counterparts in generations. Is Shinola looking to compete with these stalwarts or is there a different strategic angle?
DC ~ Our goal since the beginning hasn’t been to compete, but rather to carry out our belief that products should be built to last, and should be built right here in America. That’s why we offer a lifetime warranty on all watches. We are always working hard to attract like-minded partners to bring more to America, and everyday we are one step closer to it.
For example, we recently opened a new dial manufacturing operation in our Detroit flagship. It’s exciting because watch dial manufacturing at scale left our shores several decades ago, and so to team up with a Taiwanese company and bring the factory here is an amazing fete.
IG ~ What is your favorite Shinola product and why? A watch? A bicycle? How does the product fit into your day to day life?
DC ~ I’ve been wearing our Rambler GMT a lot lately. It’s new this month and it’s our first watch dedicated to travel, so I’ve really been depending on it for all of the trips that comes with my job. I also just bought one of our Detroit arrow bicycles. Riding to work in the morning is such a great way to start my day.
IG ~ What does the future hold for Shinola? What other products, projects, or collaborations can we expect from Detroit's watchmaker?
DC ~ We really believe that everything can be done at scale in this country. Leather is a big focus for us this year, we just launched a Men’s Leathergoods Capsule Collection for Fall. You will have to wait and see what else is next.