Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this issue, We welcome the founders of D-mop, a diversified cutting-edged selected store from Hong Kong. From Armani to adidas, and from the cafe to sustainable fashion, D-mop fits every age, gender, characteristic customers groups. Not only limited to fashion, D-mop looks at the entire lifestyle of consumers. Even under the impact of Pandemic, D-mop is always on the path of innovation and diversification. New business, new areas, and new developments. You will find some new insights by enjoying the conversation with the Managing Director, Mr. Fredrick and the founder, Mr. KK, who are full of energy and enthusiasm.
Nana: Could you please introduce D-mop to our readers?
Fredrick: I’m Fredrick, I am the Managing Director of D-mop Limited, this is K.K, who is sitting next to me is the founder of D-mop back in 1989. We are a pioneering fashion retailer in Greater china, Taiwan, Hong Kong etc. We’ve been building this off-line fashion platform supporting designers since 1989. We want to bring designs from around the world to Hong Kong, so local people would know what are the current key designers, brands, trends in the world.
We’ve been getting to know the local media, the thing is to tell what is fashionable to wear for each individual, that’s what we are trying to do. So far, we’ve expanded to J-01 store, set for sneaker focused, and opened more stores such as Y-3, over 200 stores for Champion, New Era, and HERON PRESTON, Barbour, and DAKS from UK.
Over-all, D-mop explores unique, cutting-edge designs, advocating creative and quality collections. We bring the most distinctive visions on the fashion scenes around the world. That is the background of D-mop.
Nana: How did you two work together?
Fredrick: I joined in 2011, that is the time D-mop wanted to expand. I knew this company a long time ago, and one day I came across for shopping, we just discussed about it. We both love art, music and dancing, so the common interests bring us together. Now, we expanded it to lots of stores.
Nana: Why did you originally create and name it “D-mop”?
KK: It is a long story. Back to mid 80s, I was a hairdresser in London. There were so many fashion happenings in London. I brought the trends to Hong Kong after my studying, back then I had more hair! (Everyone laughed) And there were so many connections among stylists such as dancing club.
In 80s there were many fashion moves in school, and my favorite music bands called D-Mob and Depeche Mode, and of course the most popular thing was Dr. Martens. On the street, you could see all the young, trendy people were wearing Dr. Martens. I have the connections with Dr.Martens family, I know one of the members. So I have the chance to bring it to Hong Kong offline. Back to 1988, I planned to bring the trends and culture to D-mop shop and tell Hong Kong people what is on trend. When I was wondering how to name the shop, all in my mind is D-Mob and Depeche Mode, so I linked those together and called it D-mop.
When it’s opened, the young people can recognize the brands are from UK immediately. So at that moment, we captured so many young kids, who want to know what happened about fashion around the world.
Nana: Wow, you are definitely the first one in Hong Kong then!
KK: Yes. I was working in the hairdressing industry, so there were so many people from UK, also my hair salon in Hong Kong was also working with the trendy people, the artists, the stars etc.
Fredrick: Most of the celebrities, who based in Hong Kong, or the movie stars who are in the industry.
KK: I remember in 1996, even Kate Moss came to Hong Kong for another brand opening ceremony, she also visited D-mop during her stay to see what’s happening in Hong Kong.
Nana: Amazing! Can you tell us about some of the most challenging experiences you have had during the process of building your brand?
Fredrick: It’s always been up and down. But mostly two parts.
One is, I would say, we have to diversify. Back to 2000s, there was Zara, the fast fashion. Also the online picks up quite a lot for the last few years. These are the things make us diversifying. As I said earlier, we move into different industry, we now have coffee, we used to have a beauty salon, art gallery. This is from customers’ interests and also from the challenges that we have faced. We worked around it, and supported the young people what they’re interested in. I think it is all about art, culture, food, the lifestyle. This is the point right now.
Nana: It is not only fashion itself, you are trying to combine all the things together.
KK: Also, one of the fashion people’s mission.
Fredrick: Exactly. Because now the important thing is environment, we opened the cafe is based on healthy food. The top brands are all very accustomed to the same thing. The trend is just a trend, we are thinking about what is important for the world.
Fredrick: Another challenges is the customer shopping behavior. Lots of international brands find China is an attractive and huge market. But we have to tell brands actually, you need to put a lot of effort into educating and engaging with the local target audience. A lot of Japanese brands want to explore in China and we helped with that. Because D-mop also learnt from the mistakes as well, so we discussed about how we could approach China market together.
But we never give up to explore the international market. We have shops in Singapore, and we are opening stores in Australia this year.
Nana: Interesting, why did you decide to get into Australia, and is there any plans for U.S. or Europe etc. ?
Fredrick: Because we need to explore other parts in the world, and get what people wants. We are definitely going to more areas in the future. Now, although COVID-19 brings impact to fashion industry, we keep it positive. Keep exploring new markets, new areas, new business.
Nana: I feel I got so many powers from you. Even though COVID give fashion industry a lot of impacts, you are learning from it and always keep it positive. Next, let me ask youwhat kind of experiences you want to bring to the customers while they are buying from D-mop.
Fredrick: We believe that fashion is a part of lifestyle, a way of life that goes beyond the consumption, but build up their characters/styles in different cultural scenes, like arts, music, clubbing, designs. If you like hiking, we have outdoor functional outfits, you like Hip-Pop music, then we have streetwears.
Beside customers, we are trying to empower our D-mop staff, over a thousand people in the company, they know what the fashion is, they love it. They know how to offer customized styling advice, emphasizing on the presentation of one’s individuality.
Nana: Training the staff is also important, they can interpret what D-mop is, right?
Fredrick: This is our personality, our DNA. We pass our happiness to our staff, and they pass it to the customers!
Nana: How does D-mop appeals to consumers? Are there different approaches for different
Fredrick: In the past, before instagram, or social media, We go out, such as K.K., meet people, have a nice dinner, make a party, all those stuff, that’s how we connect to people and customers. Now, digital allows us to reach out and expand our target demographic through multilevel digital marketing strategy. Different age groups, different genders. And we talked to different fashion lovers, influencers.
And then, We keep ourselves young, young in heart, so we still go out to talk to young people.
KK: The fashion always happens in outdoor.
Fredrick: We talk to many different industries people, like sports etc. The connections, face to face. Just like what we’re doing right now! And you can see this generation, the last few years, streetwear becomes very popular.
Nana: May I ask which brands category do you like the most?
Fredrick: Anything! From casual wear, streetwear to Fendi, Armani. We changed! We love individual style, free style, different music, culture…
KK: Depends on the day.
Nana: D-mop fits entire customers!
Fredrick: Yes, but still selected!
Nana: Could you share some memorable and impressed project experience that you had
KK: From 1988, we started the business, and till the Y2K moment, 2000s, everything changed at that moment! D-mop already opened 10 years then, we decided to create something new for the new generation, and we smelled it in Hong Kong. The new generations were not the main customers to us at that time. They love to buy things selected, not very easy to buy everywhere. So we developed the new shop, is called J-01, which means just only one. From adidas Originals to Nike, also some Japanese brands such as General Research.
What impressed us a lot is adidas, they recognized D-mop is really cool and good in Hong Kong. So adidas Originals launched in 2001. They exclusively provide a shop here. Then Nike also saw our potential, they decided to launch Nike Air Force exclusively here as well. All the young people lined up for shopping when it’s opened. We keep this J-01 concept for ten years, and then Fredrick came! He came up with another idea.
Fredrick: Back to 2010s, we had another opportunity. It’s Kayne West, the pop up for Yeezy at J-01. It was a huge event, so many people came. Because of the connections with adidas, Nike, we got this chance. Then, we made J-01 and D-mop as the recognized street cultural store for brands to promote their street collections and sneakers launch.
Nana: I could ask about this for 20 hours! You are so memorable. Next, is it possible to let readers know a little about your future plan and goals?
Fredrick: I mentioned it earlier, the sustainable fashion is what we are aiming at. And we want to educate our customer, tell them about what is important for the world. Fashion produces a lot of waste, so as part of the fashion industry, D-mop is putting effort to work towards sustainability. Also, we mentioned about SPOONYARD, in-house lable of high-end sustainable outdoor fashion.
And our cafe, is called Loop Kulture. It means going around culture. But It spells K-U-L-T-U-R-E. We provide package-free snacks, vegan menu.
And the Jewelry, accessories. This is the new project. We were filmed in the Bling Empire Season 3 on Netflix. You can see our avant-grade fine jewelry there. I went to NY last year, to film the movies. The collection will be launched this month.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to work in the
fashion industry and build a successful platform like “D-mop”?
KK: This first thing is passion and the mission of fashion. Once you got these, you need to work with different things, and connect with different people, be open-minded to diversify yourself.
Fredrick: It’s networking. Connect with people, keep meeting new people, get new ideas. Talk with them face-to-face and help each other out.
Nana: Like a collaboration.
KK: Yes! Also keep learning and growing always!
You need to work with different things, and connect with different people, be open-minded to diversify yourself.