In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, Derek of dragonmade8 joins us as he reveals the many influences over the brand’s influences along with how he views fashion in current Hong Kong and Asia.
Nana : We are so happy you can join us for this session! Can you give us an introduction to the brand, dragonmade8, and its concepts, messages, and themes?
Derek : I didn’t expect to run this business as a full-time job before. It just started with a joke by my friends and I randomly made some caps for fun. Luckily, the brand went well and I had to think of a better vision for the brand. Thus, I believe “East meets West” is the core inspiration of our design. Also, we try to combine both traditional and modern values of Chinese/ Cantonese culture in our streetwear products. So you may find that there are lots of Chinese words or traditional art in our clothing. We also put some social issues as the products’ theme because we think clothing is also a tool for self-expression.
Nana : And so, why did you initially create the brand and why did you decide it name it “dragonmade8”?
Derek : I was studying Financial Journalism at university and working at the bank for a part-time job. At that time I felt my life was too boring and I was always struggling to switch my major study into design. To get over the depression of that boring part-time job at the bank, I tried to draw a few rough designs for T-shirts/ Caps’ and sent them to factories. I put out the products on Instagram and some people started buying them. So it just became a brand naturally.
Ironically, I don’t think this is a very original name. I did not take the business seriously at the beginning and I decided on the brand name causally. I have even tried to change the name in the second year of running the business but I failed lol. You can see the name Dragonmade8 was highly inspired by Humanmade which was founded by one of the best streetwear designers NIGO. NIGO is a great inspiration and I just think of his works when I started my own.
If you really need my explanation for the brand name, I would say that Dragon represents my cultural root and Chinese background. Made is just describing we are the producers while 8 means “Lucky” in Chinese. +852 is the calling code of Hong Kong so I decided to take the 8 and put them together. All these combined become Dragonmade8.
Nana : What has influenced the creation of the brand and the pieces designed for your brand?
Derek : My love for FUCT, STUSSY, SUPREME, BAPE, NIGO, and the cultural background of HONG KONG. All the Cantonese slang/ old buildings or even the Buddha stories aroused a great impact on my design. HK has been a well-known mixed culture city but there are so few streetwear brands here and that stimulated us to create something for representing our own identity.
Nana : Interesting, when you speak of current fashion in Hong Kong, What is your impression of it and what do you think has influenced it?
Derek : I could not speak for the high fashion industry as it’s a whole different world. Hong Kong has been a good place for the fashion market due to the low tax rate and its state as a globally connected finical center. However it also has one of the highest rent and living costs in the world and, thus, only some big brands or luxury brands could run their business well here before.
Thanks to the common of social media in these years, many new designers/brands like us can survive as online stores. It really changed the industry and provides more opportunities for us to collaborate with different stores or artists, and we even have collaborated with traditional luxury brand retailers like Lane Crawford for making some shoelaces designs. This was really out of our expectations.
I believe more new designers are coming out in both the high fashion and streetwear industries from Hong Kong and I think we can catch up with the global fashion market soon.
Nana : As of now, what do you think will be the next trend in Hong Kong street fashion as well as Asian street fashion?
Derek : It’s not easy to foresee “one main trend”. We pursue different styles/ designs at different ages. From skate style to city boy or formal dressing, they really depend on your age and situation haha. I think graphics and messages are becoming more important in HK as people here are always busy working, working 24/7 OT till midnite is really common here. People need a tool to represents their mind as they are not free to talk lol. Of course, fabric materials and functional designs are matters too.
Nana : As someone in the fashion industry of Asia, do you notice a difference in the current Asian fashion scene from before and after the pandemic occurred?
Derek : More online connections, more opportunities. People are switching their shopping mode from offline to online and looking for more overseas brands & options.
Nana : Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to build a creative fashion brand like “dragonmade8”?
Derek : Always dare to step out of your comfort zone !!! Just do what you wanna do, stop only planning!
HK has been a well-known mixed culture city but there are so few streetwear brands here and that stimulated us to create something for representing our own identity.Derek from dragonmade8