It’s not just about music here at Soundscape and we like to introduce you to up and coming brands and fashion too. So without further ado, let us introduce you to DKW.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell me a bit about the brand?
Yo! My name is Charlie, I guess I’am the ‘shot-caller’ of DKW…I started the brand in spring 2014 with a friend who worked opposite me at our place of work. It started off as just idle chat about how we were sick of working and what we really wanted to do was run a streetwear brand…I had grown up skateboarding and listening to punk and hip hop, and those three things are really the roots of it all.
How did DKW first come about?
I had done a little in silk screening when I was younger but it wasn’t until DKW that I wanted to do something more original and aim for bigger things. I wanted to create something my friends wanted to wear and something that was a bit different to other streetwear brands.
What is your main vision for DKW?
Streetwear/skateboard brands these days are overpriced corporate machines that realistically are pretty out of touch with gritty street skateboarding and alternative culture. Not that I blame them, but I just wanted DKW to be affordable and different. I’m heavily involved in the local music scene and it has definitely rubbed off on the art direction of DKW. We have a raw punk style that reflects street culture, skateboarding, music and a kind of family crew mentality. The photo shoots are done by local friends or kids that just want to help out, all the video edits are put together by close friends or myself. Even the music on the videos is completely original and written by local bands or producers. We can be no more DIY and its rad because it allows people to actually get involved and be a significant part of the DKW crew…everyone has something to offer whether it’s holding a camera, helping us edit or just bringing a mad idea to the table.
What is the most important thing for you when it comes to running DKW?
Keeping close ties with our customers, remaining original and attempting to stay in touch with skateboarders, musicians, bands and artists in general. I regularly put shout outs via social media asking if anyone wants to help out, collaborate or get involved and I’m genuine when I ask this. I think recently as well I’ve been striving to be more inclusive, I’m determined that DKW wont just become another ‘lad-brand’. I also want to include other artists, such as graffiti, film and just anything else that I feel will work well under DKW. Being open minded is the key I think.
Where do you take inspiration from?
My main inspiration comes from skateboard and street culture, music and people. I was obsessed with a lot of old school 80s-90s hardcore punk posters a few months back, the super rough hand drawn stuff that basically said “hey guys Black Flag are playing my house” and then a raw sketch of a guy face planting after bailing from his skateboard. It just seemed to capture what I wanted to achieve perfectly, with a tongue in cheek sense of humour. Other streetwear brands have inspired me as well and I follow a lot of artists work closely like NATAS Designs; who was the guy behind Gnarwolves recent self titled album artwork, it is stunning! Good album too!
Do you have any famous fans?
Realistically, probably not…Though I have had some nice comments from some fairly big names on social media. Its funny because our newest batch that is dropping imminently has a ‘No Fame, No Fortune’ design that sums this question up perfectly!
Do you think music and fashion go hand in hand?
Definitely! Skateboarding, punk and hip hop go hand in hand and those three movements are always closely tied with fashion. Probably even more so with hip hop, as lyrics often openly reference clothing brands, labels etc. The whole punk thing has always been about being original and doing things yourself…so from that respect DKW follows the ethos. However when kids see their favourite musicians on stage or in videos they try to take something from it and make it their own…how many kids bought dickies because Deftones, blink-182 and a ton of other Californian bands were wearing them?
Who are your current favourite bands?
I think the UK has a good thing going on with alternative music at the moment, so I will try to list a few British acts I’m loving: Gnarwolves and Mooseblood are two staples for me and I’m sure they need no introduction. I’m really into Ghost Of The Avalanche, who are a two piece punk band from the South West. And from the US…I’ve had the most recent Hotelier album going round and round recently too. I’m also loving Action Bronson, which I guess is a complete contrast but it really is legit hip-hop.
If you could work with or endorse any band, who would you want it to be?
Trash Talk. Their live shows are just…off the chain…first time I saw them I was worried and I’ve spent a fair amount of time at hardcore shows… but they just capture the whole punk thing perfectly. Would be honoured to see one of them in a DKW shirt…
You’re currently getting ready to release batch number three – what can people expect this time round?
Warm stuff, crewneck sweatshirts, hoodies and beanies to follow. There are also a few t-shirts thrown in for good measure but I think with winter just about here people are going to appreciate something to huddle up in.
How can people get involved with the brand?
At the moment I’d say get in touch with us via facebook. I read every message we get sent and answer them as quickly as possible. If someone has ideas or thinks of something we have missed im always listening out. I’m honoured when people want to help, so if you’ve got a camera or a skateboard or play in a band hit us up and hopefully we can do something rad together!
And what are your plans for 2015?
2014 has been such a learning curve for us, working out what people are interested in, how big designs should be, do people like back prints, do people prefer cleaner simpler stuff or more over the top… for 2015 I hope to refine the brand, really start proving to others that we are different style of streetwear brand and have something more original to offer. I’m also working with a pretty cool camera crew to hopefully start release low key stripped back acoustic videos of up and coming bands, free of charge. So check out the facebook page and hopefully you’ll get a better idea of what we are all about.
Keep an eye on DKW’s facebook for all the relevant links and news about the upcoming batch! You can also follow Charlie on instagram here.