Upon entering the offices on the second floor of the Duke & Winston showroom, I was eagerly greeted by an English bulldog who I recognized as none other than the Duke himself. Founder Seun Olubodun was kind enough to sit down with me and talk about the story behind his Philadelphia-based casual wear line as well as his plans to grow his business this upcoming fall for an upcoming issue of The Triangle.
Located on 2nd Street just north of Spring Garden, the showroom sits less than a block away from other independent boutiques including Art Star, R.E.Load, and Arcadia. According to Seun, their showroom location is just over a year old and houses four to five full-time employees as well as several interns. The Duke & Winston brand began with a single design in 2009 and quickly grew to encompass an entire t-shirt line. Eventually the merchandise categories expanded to include men’s polos, sweatshirts, and even pet products.
It turns out the Duke has a role greater than simply serving as the brand’s mascot. Olubodun noted that from the start he intended to build a personal relationship between his brand and his target customer: A man and his dog. Duke & Winston looks to serve a preppy, outdoorsy and casual clientele who is not necessarily fashion-oriented but who wants to look put-together. Most distinctively, the Duke & Winston customer wants the same quality and style for his four-legged best friend.
So what will 2014 hold for Duke & Winston? Olubodun hopes to expand his brand nationally through networking at trade shows, incorporate women’s wear and work towards producing all of his goods in the U.S.
Words and photos by Courtney Denton