Hance Taplin. Photo Doug Klembara.
Photo Reid Glaze.
By Way of Dallas just may be the city's coolest streetwear.
Hance Taplin of By Way of Dallas, a streetwear brand that could help change the way the world views our city's culture.
By Way of Dallas might be the city’s coolest streetwear brand, but it’s also the most elusive. Founder Hance Taplin prefers it that way. “Keep people on their toes, keep people interested,” he says.
The fashion designer, graphic designer and photographer maintains a certain level of mystery around By Way of Dallas. The clothing – simple jackets and T-shirts emblazoned with messages of hometown pride – is released spontaneously in limited-edition capsule collections exclusively on the brand’s website. New drops are announced via Instagram shortly before going live, and sell out within minutes.
“I still want the element of surprise,” Taplin says. “With trying to build a community and trying to build a cool experience, you can’t be too routine.”
Most people, even those who know Taplin, don’t realize he’s the one behind the By Way of Dallas. It’s a semi-secret side project for the designer, who also works with major athletic brands including Nike.
“I would never, ever agree to do any interviews, ever, but then I realized if I’m representing Dallas I need to work with local publications,” he says.
Surprisingly, Taplin is actually from Denver, but he appreciates Dallas’ hometown pride.
“People love to represent where their from, it’s nothing new, but I knew when I started By Way of Dallas… that there was an opportunity to make well designed, simple products that people could be proud of,” he says.
The pieces are modern, sporty, and unisex. Most are marked with “BY WAY OF DALLAS,” “DALLAS MADE,” or the city’s geographic coordinates.
Taplin pays attention to current fashion, but intends for the brand to be timeless.
“As much as I try not to pay attention to trends, I’m aware of what the trend is.” The latest drop is a perfect example of this. “I just released a camo jacket two weeks ago – it sold out in 24 minutes flat. That’s the fastest I’ve ever sold out of anything,” he says.
Taplin is passionate about supporting the arts in Dallas – even when it comes to other designers. By Way of Dallas is currently planning collaborations with several Dallas-based brands including Breda watches and Boulevard East leather goods.
“Essentially, the… goal for the next two years is to collaborate with really cool brands in Dallas and make cool products together,” Taplin says.
That’s about all Taplin is ready to disclose about the brand’s next move. As per usual, the next drop will be a surprise.
“I have a formula of how I want to release things and it’s very strategic,” he says. “How can you build a brand when there’s really not much brand loyalty?
“I think you build brand loyalty by releasing things that are honest in small quantity.”