Alex Dakoulas "Horrifies" the Fashion Scene
Alex Dakoulas, founder of Dance Party Massacre (DPM), is fusing pop and horror culture through a ready-to-wear clothing line of shirts and casual wear designed to convey the fun side of horror films.
"I always related to horror stories. They're good at creating metaphors for everyday life," says Dakoulas. The notion of survival resonates with Dakoulas, who perceived himself as a "freak" in high school. At the time he was still closeted and struggling with feelings of hidden identity and self-perception as an outcast. "I feel like horror fans are already kind of outcasts," he says, "I don't necessarily try to push that into the line. But for me, they're definitely related."
DPM features many recognizable images with macabre-inspired twists. Dakoulas enjoys subverting people's perceptions with a sardonic smile on his face. "I like pop culture in general, taking something that people know and messing with it. If something comes in my head and I can give it a party-horror twist, I want to do that. It's interesting to take something people already know and twist it."
A Dark Inspiration
Fans of horror films are accustomed to being misunderstood. Dakoulas was drawn to the concepts of survival and taboo. "I always was interested in the imagery on the covers. Something that you’re not supposed to look at, but that made me want it even more." And for those characters that make it through the first 20 minutes of a movie? "I relate to the survivors. I like the idea of fighting for your life."
Dakoulas started designing T-shirts in college despite some academic pushback. "When I was presenting these T-shirts in school, my teachers weren’t really supporting it," he confides, "I got good feedback from out of school." Alex was undeterred. "I rolled with the idea of fighting for what I wanted. And what I wanted to do was create a clothing line."
Dakoulas maintains a strong connection to fans of the brand. For him, it’s about identity. "I definitely want it to revolve around a lifestyle. I like lifestyle brands. What you buy is who you are." When asked about the intersection of queer identity and horror, he elaborates, "I think there is a strong gay horror culture. There’s a website called Camp Blood about queer horror." But even he didn’t anticipate the fan base within the LGBT community, "I’m surprised by how many people buying the line are gay guys."
Dance Party Massacre continues to evolve as a lifestyle vision-one that is becoming clearer each day for Dakoulas, who sums up his brand messaging: "Doing what you want and not letting others put you down. Having fun in the midst of something bad. Not taking life too seriously. We could die any day, so why waste your time worrying about shit that doesn’t matter?"
Visit www.dancepartymassacre.com to purchase clothing, get involved in the new fan collection, and learn more about Alex Dakoulas.