Elizabeth Lavin


The Man Rebranding Dallas, One Jacket at a Time

With his By Way of Dallas line, Hance Taplin is creating a stylish reflection of the city's culture.

When it comes to branding, Dallas offers little in comparison to, say, the I ♥ NY slogan. Hance Taplin is trying to change that. In 2015, the designer—who has worked with brands such as Lululemon and Nike—launched By Way of Dallas in an effort to rebrand the city. “We wanted to do something that was completely different, that was fun, and something that would put ourselves on a different level,” Taplin says. The concept really came together that September, when Taplin hosted a jampacked art show during which Erykah Badu, Blue the Great, the Sour Grapes Crew, and other Dallas creatives wore By Way of Dallas varsity jackets. Those became the brand’s first limited-edition capsule collection.

Instead of capitalizing on the momentum, Taplin put the project on hold for two years. “I’m very strategic, and I didn’t want to just throw a bunch of new product out there,” he says. “But I was constantly getting emails about those jackets, so I knew the demand was still there.” In February, the line returned in the form of a “Dallas Made” jacket that ended up on the back of Dallas Maverick Dwight Powell. A camo pullover released in March sold out in 24 minutes. And Taplin promises more pieces are in the works.

“I want to disrupt Dallas in a good way,” he says. “I want to work with a lot of Dallas businesses, and create cool products and experiences to show that, when it comes to culture and aesthetic, Dallas is relevant.”


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  • RompingWillyBilly

    When did Dallas become irrelevant? What is wrong with its niche being the sober, protestant, and conservative city it has always been where a Neiman Marcus department store meets up with NorthPark Center, where a contemporary Forty-Five-Ten meets up with another more classic Neiman Marcus department store in downtown, where a Main Street like Knox converts into a more bohemian Henderson Avenue, and a Stanley Marcus meets up with The Crescent in Uptown? And that is just the warm up. Why the need for cosmetics and gimmickry? When did Dallas become chopped liver? The danger here is looking Micky Mouse by resorting to a lot of unnecessary zeal.

    • BigT Swim Guru

      Well, that was a very articulate and contemporary 2 minutes, RompingWillyBilly.

      Perhaps, however, more of us need to appreciate that diversity and the zeal that accompanies new things can sometimes bring strength, power and new flexibility to the matrix whether that thread in the complex weave continues yes or no.

      Whether you choose to believe it or not, this is factually, how the genome and your own DNA works. So let’s continue to watch ‘da new tings’ and chuckle and have a laugh whether they die out or blossom.

      This is the underlying sometimes invisible pattern of the weave we call life.

      • RompingWillyBilly

        There is a youtube video of a French lady tourist marveling at all the shopping centers and districts in Dallas. People in far flung Paris aren’t confused about what Dallas is all about. Highland Park Village, Inwood Village, Preston Center, Mockingbird Station, West Village, Turtle Creek Village, Jefferson Boulevard, Snider Plaza, the Bishops Arts Distrct, the Dallas Design District, the Shops at Park Lane, the Galleria Dallas and so on.
        Why pretend to be blind and not see what is so apparent in plain sight? Why talk about all this branding nonsense and waste everyone’s time?
        Oh, and I didn’t even mention the Lakewood Shopping Center. According to Ray Washburne, the owner of Highland Park Village, it is a sleeping giant.

        • BigT Swim Guru

          Perhaps that’s a somewhat valid point of view for some female shoppers and for men for whom shopping is of paramount importance, but certainly not the only one.
          I am one of those far flung people 7 hours even further afield (east) than mere Paris which sits on GMT+1 time.

          My friends and I know Dallas as an international centre of excellence in engineering for ‘oil and exploration’ backed up by some of the largest oil and energy companies in the US.

          We know Dallas to be home of the Mavericks, Dirk and the iconic Mark Cuban.

          We know Dallas as home to the cowboys and one of the most famous cheerleading squads in the US.

          These truly are the iconic brands that many of us recognize and associate internationally with Dallas and let me say again we are not in Dallas.

          We have no clue what you’re talking about in terms of branding Dallas as a shopping mecca. Nieman Marcus and its ilk is literally everywhere, a brand name that is as common as it’s hundreds of stores globally.

          So, how can you even begin to define Dallas by a conglomeration or configuration of well known high-end commodity store fronts.

          • RompingWillyBilly

            Dallas was never an oil and gas center. Ever. That designation has always gone to Houston even during the days of the prime time soap opera “Dallas.” Though there were some large oil and gas companies in Dallas, the writing was on the wall that they would end up moving on to Houston which they did. It was the large banks in downtown Dallas going belly up during the oil downturn of the mid to late eighties that hurt the area, but not for long. Without all those energy companies, the economy of North Texas has done better overall than the Houston area.
            The number one aspect about Dallas is all about retail, retail, and more retail! It makes you feel feint! Pound for pound, when it comes to retail, there is no market in the world like Dallas.
            This is nothing new. Read the old encyclopedias.

          • BigT Swim Guru

            Mea culpa, you’re right. I guess we know a lot of oil engineers and senior energy management people from the Dallas area, but actual engineering operations really did move to Houston.

            No question about that.

          • RompingWillyBilly

            To appreciate the real Dallas, one has to ignore all its empty office buildings downtown to focus instead on its many iconic shopping centers. In Dallas, they built all those tall things during the eighties and no one ever came to fill them up. We are talking thirty years of a vacancy rate of 20 to 30%.
            In contrast, the retail in Dallas is very dynamic. I can remember reading Ray Washburne claiming that his Highland Park Village isn’t a competitor with NorthPark Center, but only a few stores in the nation like Rodeo Drive. Since that time, Main Street in downtown Dallas has grown up big time with the construction of a flagship luxury department store for a relocating Forty-Five-Ten.