I sat down with Isadore “Dizzy” Dane, a Wisconsin native, economics major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the local brand Silly Shorts Store.
Silly Shorts Store makes and sells incredibly soft cotton fleece shorts with unique designs that anyone and everyone can be comfortable and happy in.
Inspiration for his shorts comes from a summer spent working at a rafting company in Alaska. A friend made a similar pair of fleece shorts that, while less eccentric, were just as comfortable for all the guides.
Upon returning home, Dane soon realized nothing similar existed in the lower 48. He then brought it upon himself to learn how to sew. After lessons from his mother and countless dedicated hours at the old sewing machine his grandmother gifted him, he successfully crafted his very own pair of fleece shorts.
Dane’s shorts went from a side quest for comfort to a profitable business. He made shorts for himself to express his creativity and individuality through each pair. It wasn’t until people started asking where they could get a pair that Silly Shorts Store was born on June 30, 2022.
The company has grown since then. As orders began to exceed Dane’s sewing capabilities, he reached out to a local Madison sewer, whom he met through the Madison Sewers Guild. The two now produce Silly Shorts, and Dane is currently looking to expand the team.
The decision to keep production domestic and local was a conscious choice. Dane is passionate about combatting fast fashion and believes having shorts made ethically and sustainably is a core foundation of the brand and hopes to inspire others to follow suit.
There are aspirations for Silly Shorts Store, namely to expand and have a warehouse with complete production capabilities, to grow the digital side of the business and to focus on content collaboration and events. There are also whispers of a Silly Shorts party on the horizon where a pair of Silly Shorts is required for entry.
Silly Shorts Store is in an exciting phase right now. Dane was a first-time vendor at the Madison Night Market this past Thursday evening. With a predominantly online market and word-of-mouth sales, Dane said it was beneficial to be able to visually see the market he’s in, compared to his typical sales process.
He described his first public event as “fantastic, with tons of enthusiasm for the project” and exclaimed it “gave [him] lots of ideas on how to move forward.”
Silly Shorts Store will be at the next Madison Night Market on Oct. 19, so make sure to stop by. Expansion to other trade shows, farmers markets and vendor meetups in the upcoming year are also on the horizon.
Given these shorts were born out of an experience in Alaska, I asked Dane how adventure, traveling and his life philosophy have played a role in his brand.
“In terms of traveling and life in general, it’s always good to take risks and put yourself out there,” he said. “I do believe we are living in a serious world, and by bringing a little bit of silliness into it and differentiating yourself, it can really benefit your character, identity and life experiences.”
Dane also noted that he is simply the passenger for Silly Shorts. Although he is bringing this idea to life, Silly Shorts is much larger than himself.
You can find Dane and his shorts on Instagram.