Exclusive Report | DURKL is DC

Going into the unintentionally raw and urban space that is oddly enough, but upon further inspection genius, DURKL office and showroom I am guilty of one moral crime, preconceived judgments. Thinking that the DURKL brand is the typical DC street wear label trying to capitalize on its supreme location in the nation’s capitol is an issue all in itself and proved me to be a complete asshole upon leaving. While meeting with Marketing and PR of DURKL, Lucas Pierce, along with designer Will Sharp, all of my preconceived ideas fast flew out of the window like clockwork as Pierce and Sharp explained their love for DC and mission as a brand, “Our goal is not to get out, it’s to get people in and dispel the view that DC is, like, all about suits and politics”. “That’s why we want to do it from here” and while I can appreciate and respect one with a love for their city – especially DC – from a business standpoint you would think that New York would be a better choice. “Only a name would it help to be from there[NYC].” What’s in a name, right? “If we were called DURKL NYC would it be more popular…Yes, but is that a good reflection upon us and DC…No”. Likely words for anyone trying to capitalize but upon further explanation, it is clear that DURKL isn’t using DC, but in essence is DC and plans to keep it that way, “we’re not stuck here, we want to be here”.

More of the interview and a preview of the Fall 2009 collection after the jump.

Who is DURKL, you might ask. Founded in 2004, but unofficially in 2047, an ode to 24/7 and labels who feel age legitimized them, “what the fuck does that count for”, the brand that is named after a nameless phrase, “It was the first word Will [the designer] said when he was a kid” is vastly becoming a staple on the national market and is proving that fashion can be executed in DC. “Will, our designer, started with someone else who is no longer with us, and basically we just started printing t-shirts,” explained Pierce who didn’t join the DURKL team until late 2008. Starting with t-shirts, “t-shirts grew into more t-shirts, then grew into hats…” mused Pierce as he showed me through their warehouse, a sight that made it clear to me that they make business and will continue, “We are at maybe 80 to 100 accounts internationally.” Notice wasn’t exactly paid until the brand introduced denim a little after their founding. “What really kind of got us jumpstarted is the color denim” explained Pierce who further boasted “that we were making [color denim] four years ago before any urban or mainstream store was really selling it”. In an aesthetic that is one in a million, DURKL seems pretty sure of themselves as individuals and plan to remain that way, starting with not following trends. “We try to make them more than follow them,” designer Will said and although trends are not in their forte, they look up to those who are masters in their fields. “I don’t like Greenday, they don’t inspire me, I don’t like their music, I would never buy a Greenday album but those dudes crush it, they do what they so well”. Furthermore, “that goes along with Levi, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren, who have all been doing it for years”. While these are a few fella’s who they look up to, there is one DC local who they are not too impressed with, and though Wale is not on his Christmas list this year, they do support and collaborate with many local artist, one of which shares the same building that their showroom/office is located. Pierce gave way to their brilliant marketing scheme, helping out local artist…a win/win situation. They “style them, give them gear, and the buzz sort of starts there.” They work with such locals as Ricky Parker, Uptown XO, UCB, but “no Wale”. “More appropriately we collaborate with them” corrected Pierce of their unique marketing, and their collaborations don’t just end there. Upcoming, they have around 5 collaborations with other labels, one of which is the Capital Connection Series. “We’re partnering with 5 other brands from other capitols in London, Paris, Tokyo, DC, etc.” And if that is not an exciting enough enterprise, they are looking to introduce women’s apparel hopefully sometime in 2010, something that has always been on the board along with going deeper into the accessories market – which they first got their feet wet with a sunglasses collaboration with SABRE. It is clear that the DURKL brand is one that has cemented itself in the fashion industry and sees no sign of deterioration. “We try to encourage kids to do something completely different” and if that doesn’t seal the deal then nothing will. The DURKL team has the kind of ambition, outspokenness, and mindset that is a recipe for success, which they have very much already gotten a taste of. Upon leaving the DURKL office/showroom while Pierce and Sharp were fast along busy with making sure the location is ready for its debut later this month, I couldn’t help but think Grace Kelly was completely correct in High Society when she declared, “The time to make up your mind about people is never”. I guess the same goes for fashion brands…DURKL far exceeded my expectations and proved that fashion can, will, and is being done in DC.

All Images Owned by kiD GQ


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