Introducing D.GNAK of Seoul, the avant-garde men's streetwear label loved by the biggest Korean musicians
A stealthy collision of elevated streetwear, traditional Korean silhouettes and Western tailoring, D.GNAK has mastered the balance of avant-garde aloof with cazh sportswear. Kang isn't one to leave the classics to their own devices; he's in the habit of putting his asymmetric T-shirts, bomber jackets, drop-crotch track pants and smart poplin shirts through the wringer (in the most positive of ways) with unique layering and combustion via his eclectic use of fabrics. Leather, canvas and linen fabric are often welded with wanton.
Launched in 2008, D.GNAK made its Singapore debut at the recent K/Collection fashion show held at The Warehouse Hotel. Seoul-born and Parsons School of Design graduate Dong-Jun Kang is the man behind the all-caps, known for its dark and brooding colourways. Yet, the spring/summer 2019 collection sees Kang try his hand at surprising poppy peppering of reds, purples, limes, whites and silvers, in his usual intense geometry vocation.
Is this left turn driven by personal fire or does the public's desire have a hand to play? We poke the big bear for an answer during our little chat with the designer after the jump.
Define D.GNAK's brand ethos in three words.
Black, transformation, changeover.
D.GNAK's debut collection was in fall/winter 2008. How has the brand evolved since then?
D.GNAK have been through a lot of trial and error and has definitely developed. Initially, I made clothes that the market wanted. Gradually I converted to making what I wanted to make, and then to what I was good at for overseas competitiveness. Now, I am in the process of going back to designing clothes that the market requires.
That's a little depressing, no?
To compromise 'what I want' and a 'trend' is always the cause of conflict. There was a time when I refused to chase trends and insisted on the clothes I wanted to express, and that had some positive results. But now, I think it is necessary to apply the trends which the public and markets want, so that's what I'm trying to do now. That is why I included 'transformation' and 'changeover' in the three words defining D.GNAK.
How does Korea play a role in the brand's aesthetics?
Korean elements are naturally underlying in my brand since I was born and grew up in Korea. After entering overseas market I have found many beautiful Korean elements inside my brand through the buyers I meet, which I have never realized before and I like it very much. These traditional Korean elements enhance the competitiveness of the brand when it is shown naturally rather than when it is done on purpose.
Who do you have in mind when you're designing?
I try to work without getting stressed, to concentrate only on the design but it is not that easy, I always consider my team members and family.
Any designers or digital artists you're inspired by?
Every time I've been asked this question, I have never specified anyone. Currently, I am interested in hip-hop music, so I think that it is a good idea to be inspired by a hip-hop musician with outstanding musicality.
D.GNAK is available at Farfetch.