Founded by Dean and Dan Caten in 1995
Born in Canada, the twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten moved to New York in 1983 to attend the Parson’s School of Design. Only staying one term, the brothers left and decided to return to Toronto. Securing a financial backer in 1986, they launched their first womenswear collection ‘DEanDAN’. Two years later they were signed onto the label Ports International as creative directors, aiming to update the company. During this time Dean and Dan were designing a low-end brand, Tabi International.
In 1991 the brothers moved to Milan, where they began designing for Gianni Versace and Diesel. After collaborating with many of the most important fashion houses, Dan and Dean gained financial backing from Diesel to launch their namesake brand.
In 1994 the brand debuted their first menswear collection the ‘Homesick Canada Collection’. Their first menswear show marked the beginning of a long succession of runway extravaganzas. The following year a men’s footwear partnership began with Galizio Torresi.
Known for their collaboration of music and fashion, Dsquared2 started the fusion when designing 150 outfits for Madonna’s music video ‘Don’t Tell Me’ and for her 2002 Drowned World Tour.
In 2002 the company premiered the womenswear line during the Spring/Summer Men’s Collections runway show in Milan. The following year Dsquared2 debuted the first womenswear collection ‘Star 24/7’.
In 2003 another musical collaboration took place, with Dsquared2 providing the wardrobe for Christina Aguilera’s ‘Stripped Tour 2003’.
The same year Dsquared2 won a succession of awards including the ‘La Kore’ award for Best Emerging Designers and the GQ Magazine’s ‘Men of the Year’ Award as Best Breakthrough Design Team. The following year the company designed an exclusive trainer for the Olympic Games in Athens.
In 2005, Christina Aguilera walked in a Dsqaured2 runway show, finshing with her stripping male models of their clothes on the runway.
In 2006 the company was awarded again with the Golden Needle Award. The same year they designed Juventus Football Club’s official uniforms as well as starting a fragrance and cosmetics partnership, leading to their first men’s fragrance ‘He Wood’.
In 2007 the brand launched a women’s footwear line and were awarded by Spanish GQ with ‘Man of the Year’. 2007 saw the use of celebrity in runway again with Rihanna entering the stage in a car, following with her walking down the runway.
By 2008 the company had launched boutiques in Capri, Istanbul, Kiev and Hong Kong, as well as launching their first women’s fragrance. 2008 also saw the duo awarded again as ‘Man of the Year’ from German GQ.
In 2009 more boutiques were launched in Cannes, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The same year they designed for Barcelona Football Club’s official off-field uniforms. A year later in 2010, Dsquared2 used Bill Kaultiz to open and close their Autumn/Winter menswear show in Milan.
Known for their sexy and provocative styles, Dsquared2 represents refined Italian tailoring with a chic, sophisticated glamour.
In January 2010, the Dsquared² Autumn/Winter 2010 menswear show in Milan made headlines as Bill Kaulitz descended from the ceiling in a caged elevator, reminiscent of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Kaulitz also opened and closed the show, making a notable impression.
Dsquared² has established flagship stores in various cities worldwide, including Milan, St. Moritz, Athens, Mykonos, Capri, Istanbul, Kyiv, Cannes, Singapore, Paris, Nicosia, and Hong Kong. They have recently expanded their retail presence, with new stores in London, Miami, Doha, Los Angeles, New York, Baku, Rome, Istanbul, Prague, and Madrid. The brand’s store redesign program has been an ongoing effort, focusing on enhancing the shopping experience for customers.
In 2013, the brand achieved a turnover of approximately €200 million, primarily through licensing deals. Dsquared² is known for its extravagant fashion shows, where they showcase their men’s and women’s apparel, footwear, fragrances, and cosmetics. Their slogan emphasises their Canadian origins, London residence, and Italian craftsmanship.
Dsquared² designs have been worn by various celebrities, including Britney Spears, Madonna, Bill Kaulitz of Tokio Hotel, Justin Timberlake, Kendrick Lamar, Ricky Martin, Nicolas Cage, Lenny Kravitz, Fergie in the “Clumsy” music video, and The Black Eyed Peas in “I Gotta Feeling”.
The Caten brothers, Dean and Dan, host their own radio program called Dean and Dan on Air: Style in Stereo. Airing on Sirius XM satellite radio’s BPM channel, the show features music from Dsquared² runway shows, celebrity interviews, and discussions on fashion and politics.
Apart from their fashion endeavours, the twins have appeared on America’s Next Top Model and co-hosted their own show called Launch My Line. They have also collaborated with football team Juventus to design their official uniforms and partnered with eyewear manufacturers Marcolin and Safilo Group to create sunglasses.
In terms of marketing, Dsquared² gained attention when Chris Brown wore one of their hoodies in his music video for the song “To My Bed” in 2017.
The brand has faced controversy as well. In 2013, the Catens attended a fashion industry party in racially insensitive costumes, drawing criticism for their portrayal of white drag queens with brown-painted bodies and “tribal” costumes. Additionally, the unveiling of their “DSquaw” line at the 2015 Milan Fashion Week sparked outrage for its use of the derogatory term “Squaw” and appropriation of Indigenous decorations and attire. The brand subsequently removed all references to “DSquaw” from its official channels.