Instagram of the Week: Dallas is Dallas

"Dallas is Dallas," was how Hance Taplin used to describe his adopted city to friends and family at home in Denver. It's a description which, if not very helpful, is at least honest.

But go on the Instagram of the collective he founded with creatives Jordan Rogers and Chris Whitten, Dallas is Dallas, and you'll start to get a different view (literally) of the place that, for many people, conjures mental images of a prime-time TV drama starring an evil oil tycoon in a stetson. The Instagram @DallasisDallas is designed by the crew to rebrand their beloved city, which they say is just as photogenic as better-known IG cities Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. For example, their city has off-the-chain sunsets that you won't see anywhere else.

They've also started a small, high-quality streetwear line which ncludes a sold-out Dallas-specific bike, and throwback tees and singlets rocked by in-the-know, Dallas-proud locals.

"We know that Dallas is not NY, LA, or Chicago," says Rogers. "Right or wrong. Good or bad. Dallas is Dallas."

How Dallas is Dallas got started:
Jordan: We’re all into photography, and a few years back we would go out and shoot all together. We saw the movement going on on Instagram and Tumblr and social media and there was a lot of people talking a lot about New York, and you can only follow so many NY photographers. We’ve seen DUMBO 100,000 times. And we found that people in Dallas were talking about those cities and we felt like there’s a lot of talented influential cool people here and we wanted to try and showcase those people and the city which we think is really cool.

I think when the three of us got together with this idea we wanted people to stop and take a second and look. We wanted to inspire others to stop and check out our city because it is so beautiful, and to inspire other young photographers to pick up the camera.

Jordan: You don’t have to be in NY or Chicago to be a street photographer here. We have a really cool skyline, and a lot of unexplored areas here.

On how the city can be seen in their designs:
Hance: I’m just a huge fan of throwbacks. I’m an '80s baby—we all are. I just love the look and design elements of back in the day, the script fonts and cleanliness. We didn’t want to complicate anything, we just wanted to have our messaging clear with that look in mind; the Dallas is Dallas font treatment is just a simple throwback. It's also inspired by that movie Drive. Another thing, our sunsets are pretty incredible. I’ve spent a lot of time in NY, but during the summertime here we have this really cool gradient from purple to pink to orange. Just amazing colors around sunset, so we wanted to use these awesome gradient colors that match the sunsets.

Jordan: Texas is extremely flat, for miles, and miles, and miles. That may be a downside for photography, but we get incredible sunsets in Texas 'cause there’s nothing hindering it and blocking it. We did a collaboration, with 3M. A lot of people are doing 3M—that’s nothing new—but we hadn’t seen any tonal 3M. And I was driving one night and saw it on a fire hyrdrant. It was a yellow or blue reflective one, so Hance was able to create that and make it functional. We collaborated with City Bicycle Co., out of Cali, and we created a bike to explore our city. Dallas is known for driving so much—that’s why we’re inspired by Drive, and Miami Vice 'cause they’re shooting all these cool car scenes—we drive everywhere, so there’s not a lot of access for cyclists. So we wanted to make them as visible as possible, and so it’s a Dallas is Dallas bike with tonal 3M reflective decals.

Hance: Our sub-tag line is "By way of Dallas.” And there are so many influencers that are from Dallas that have moved on to do great things, from athletes to artists to singers. We’re working on a "By Way of Dallas" presentation, where we picked out some influencers, for instance, Erykah Badu—she is from Dallas and lives in Dallas—using people like that who are born and raised here and still love this city and kind of highlighting that they were from Dallas.

On their Instagram steez:
Jordan: We try to be pretty active on Instagram. It’s really a creative outlet to give us opportunities to try new things. Like we started doing the three-shot panoramas, early on, to show off the city. And we just kept that going. I’m a huge nerd in that way and trying to figure out what we can do in that format. We’ve had some successful video s in that format, like had a guy on the bike riding across the panorama. Sometimes I get way more of a kick out of it. We just try to show off the city and some of the great photographers through that. A lot of the time it’s our shots.

Our vision is to bring the city together and do some cool things.

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