DALLAS As a travel hockey player in Canada, Dylan Thompson learned at a young age that dressing the part was a big part of the game.
Each year, his parents would spend hundreds of dollars on suits, tailored to fit just right and not cut for the growing body of a teenager moving from middle school to high school.
That tradition of hockey players wearing dress clothes on gameday became the catalyst for a Dallas-based clothing line targeting young men. The self-funded brand, called d.RT (pronounced “dirt”), is sold online at Nordstrom.com, Neighborhood Goods and a specialty store in Miami.
While Dylan was the inspiration, it was his older sister and her husband who brought the brand to life.
“We want to fit in that middle area where we kind of gave all those kids a voice, and they want to look good, too,” said co-owner Brian Brunson. “That’s a big part of the d.RT brand. We want to have quality products, luxury products, but they are approachable for everybody.”
Dylan is now a freshman student-athlete at Lawrence Tech University in Michigan. He is the brand’s chief creative officer. Although not involved in day-to-day operations because of school commitments, his sister said he’s a strong influence on clothing designs in the brand’s collections.
“He is the one that will pull all the inspiration together — the design, the colors for seasons,” Paula Brunson said. “He’s very heavily involved in that piece of it, which is great for him. It’s something he can even do from a distance.”
d.RT started out by securing space in 2021 in Neighborhood Goods at Legacy West in Plano. Neighborhood Goods markets itself as a new type of department store that gives digital brands a chance to meet customers in the physical world without the risk and expense of opening stores.
Following a successful few months, d.RT expanded to additional Neighborhood Goods locations in Austin and New York. Nordstrom needed to fill a void in its young adult clothing category and began selling d.RT products online at Nordstrom.com in June, the Brunsons said.
When starting the brand, the founders knew they needed to find experts to help them learn the nuances of the industry. They turned to a seasoned consultant who helped them create their first prototype.