Faced with the all-too-familiar conundrum of “What should I wear?”, Vancouverite and dedicated urban cyclist Gary Lenett took a slightly more unconventional route one morning: he decided to create his own clothing.
“I was commuting to work and I had an important meeting, but there was nothing for me to wear,” Lenett recalls of Dish & Duer’s origins during an interview at the brand’s new Gastown store. “That was sort of the seed of the business: me riding into work and wanting to make some jeans for myself.”
Considering his 25-plus years of experience in the fashion industry—during which he manufactured denim for high-wattage names like Levi Strauss, Gap, and Polo Ralph Lauren, among others—“some jeans” was the last thing that Lenett came up with.
Rather, his high-performance apparel can perhaps best be described as elevated (and work-appropriate) athleisure wear. Presented under the name Dish & Duer—the Dish of which is a revamp of the Vancouver-born line of the same name that most girls rocked during high school—his brand of Kickstarter-funded, moisture-wicking denim has certainly struck a chord with Vancouverites.
Each pair of Dish & Duer pants, starting at $119, is made from one of two proprietary fabrics: the L2X, a performance stretch denim that uses an innovative quick-dry technology to help your body maintain a comfortable temperature; and the Nature 2 Xtreme, which combines cotton, polyester, spandex, and Tencel, a soft, silklike fabric made from eucalyptus trees.
Both materials are designed to move with the body and contain anti-bacterial properties that keep the garment feeling and smelling fresh. Available in a range of fits and washes that includes everything from deep indigo skinnies to olive “anti-sweatpant” joggers to bleached boyfriend styles, Dish & Duer’s jeans are made for active living.
Lenett even admits that he’s attended yoga and spin classes in his threads. “We talk about the Vancouver lifestyle, which, for me, is very aspirational. I ride my bike to work, maybe take a walk around Stanley Park, and meet my wife for date night,” he says. “I don’t wanna change my clothes all that often.”
Not convinced? Stop by Dish & Duer’s recently launched flagship shop at 118 West Hastings Street and try on a pair for yourself. Lenett has even installed a full-fledged jungle gym outside the changing room—complete with monkey bars and a swing set—so customers can kick, jump, and squat their way into the new denim.
The company also produces denim and jogger shorts, plus a small selection of denim outerwear. Observant shoppers will notice details regarding a new project scrawled across the store’s chalkboard wall: a Kickstarter page launching this June that will hopefully fund Dish and Duer’s new Live Lite collection, a line of technical summer gear that includes what Lenett calls the “best hot-weather pant ever made”.
“It’s the next best thing to not wearing any pants at all,” he says.