A few questions with Dukhyun Won from BLANKOF...

23 May 2024
A few questions with Dukhyun Won from BLANKOF...

23 May 2024 PPHH: Firstly, can you tell us about yourself, as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Where exactly do you live and what does a typi...

PPHH: Firstly, can you tell us about yourself, as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Where exactly do you live and what does a typical day look like for you?

DW: I constantly contemplate how to sustain my passion for my work over the long term. I reside in Jongno, Seoul, where my life begins and ends with work—work is both my life and my hobby.

PPHH: What occupies your mind when you are not designing/ making?

DW: I enjoy spending time with people who share similar life attitudes. Being with such friends actually energises me. Since everyone is different, I gain new ideas and inspiration from them. When I'm not working, I like to hang out with friends over drinks or spend time alone watching movies or listening to music.

PPHH:  I suppose the first question we have is why bags? Your artistic talents are very clear but what is it about bags that attracted you to it and made you pursue this first?

DW: My interests extend beyond fashion to architecture, electronics, and automobiles. These fields embody the aesthetics of structure within our daily lives. In fashion, I consider bags to be both practical and structural. What's crucial to me is a timeless design—I believe bags can outlast clothing.

PPHH: Following on from that, in a world where everyone’s needs in terms of bags can be so specific, how did you overcome this and how did you make the decisions you did in terms of size, capacity, detail and daily needs?

DW: I routinely simulate everyday situations to tailor the size, capacity, and details of my designs. It's essential that a bag is not too big or small, and has just the right amount of pockets to avoid inconvenience, ensuring it can be effectively described and justified to users in various scenarios.

PPHH: The Rootscope fabric you use is superb and the website mentions it was developed over years of research & development to get the final product. Without telling us all your secrets, how was this process and how did you go about it? What did you require from your end product that maybe didn’t exist before or that you wanted to build on or perfect?

DW: In Daegu, leveraging the advanced chemical fibre industry, we began developing a special material that isn't just your everyday fabric. Due to the numerous tests and large-scale production required, we took on significant risks. We twisted the nylon tightly to increase durability, prevent stretching or deformation, and maintain its original form after washing. Additionally, we aimed for a matte effect to create a sophisticated surface texture.

PPHH: The bag that receives the most attention in our shops is the Bridal bag as people have never seen anything like it, it is beautifully curved with those pleats, yet both are a great size and shape. Where did the inspiration for this come from exactly?

DW: The design of this bag was inspired by women's clutch bags. Unlike classic clutches that usually have a metal frame, we removed such elements and used a waterproof zipper to enhance the tensile strength, allowing the zipper to function as a frame. We also added pleats to achieve a three-dimensional effect and naturally implement a trapezoidal shape.

PPHH: We love that your manifesto is online for all to see, it is refreshing. Where other designers might keep this secret, your thoughts and future ideas are laid out as a plan. What does the next step look like for you, how is it going, what is the timeline for this and have you added points or details to this already?

DW: This plan has been set in stone since before 2011 and marks a significant milestone. Although it's disappointing that there's still much to do, it's also fortunate that there are many tasks ahead. We have already implemented aesthetic elements pursued by BLANKOF in three designs at the 'Slow Steady Club' and plan to start producing garments using original fabric from 2025.

PPHH: Whose design really excites you, whether this be fashion, architecture, furniture, technological or otherwise and does their work inform yours?

DW: Brands like Maison Martin Margiela, Dieter Rams, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer, Helmut Lang, Apple, and Supreme have greatly influenced me. They have demonstrated that good design transcends the bounds of time.

PPHH: What would you like to see in your own future and are you likely to be around if we ever visit you, please let us know if you ever come to Australia!

DW: I want to maintain the direction of my brand while communicating with customers worldwide. Even if we are not large in scale, becoming a worldwide indie might be in my future. If you visit Seoul, I'd love to spend quality time over good food and drinks. Alternatively, I'd also like to experience skydiving in Australia, where the natural beauty is breathtaking.

Back to journal