"Wear What You Feel" - New Fashion Designer Don Kong describes his new brand and the simplistic brand message behind it
Don Kong is a passionate and innovative fashion designer. A year ago he took the brave decision to get out of the ‘rat-race’ and pursue his dream of owning his own clothing label. Less than a year on WWYF his fashion brand is one of ASOS’ top twenty designer boutiques and also sells pieces on US retail site Etsy. Whilst things have never looked better for Don, and his optimism for the future continues to grow, it hasn’t always been plain sailing...
Don talks about the early days and the reality that sales were at first slow to start.
"In the beginning it's all about faith" he says.
Although he admits that this was easier said than done where there was no money coming in.
Working for a large corporation for years, last winter Don was faced with the dilemma of relocating with his department to Birmingham from London or taking the opportunity to go from employee to self-employed by starting his own company.
Now almost a year on he confesses he couldn't see himself working the conventional 9-5 ever again, and loves the flexibility and creative licence owning his own business has afforded him.
However Don reveals that infact a lot about running your own clothing label is irrelevant to the industry and for the most part is about operationally running a business. His initial naive view that owning a fashion brand was all about glamour and glitz- designing and doing photo-shoots all day, was swiftly dashed when he began to attempt to get his clothing brand off the ground.
"It's actually quite admin heavy!"
WWYF, which stands for Wear What You Feel and is pronounced ‘wife’, Don explains is a clever play on words and supports the ideology of the brand which centres around fashion that is uncomplicated, low maintenance and essential to everyday life- like a wife!
The brand ethos is "Live how you want, wear what you feel!"
Comfort, freedom and simplicity whilst remaining fashionable are Don's main objectives when designing.
“It’s about clothing that is fashionable and current but does not take you over, anyone can wear our brand".
Don's open and non-judgemental approach to fashion as a designer is reassuring and refreshing in what is often perceived as a pretentious and exclusive industry.
"Fashion is whatever you feel is fashion, it’s my view that as a designer I should just reflect what the people are wearing, not dictate".
Eclectically influenced by a wide range of fashion, Don is obsessed with apparel from different cultures and places all over the world, and as a result explains that there is a history behind every piece of clothing they sell.
The brand's USP, its trendy style and affordability have seen it go from strength to strength and sales continue to impress.
Never one to rest on his laurels though, Don is always thinking about news designs, researching and travelling all over the world on the look-out for new ideas and emerging consumer trends and already has plans in the pipeline to realise his vision of taking the brand global.
Proving the naysayers wrong, Don is allowing the sales to speak for themselves. He encourages other young, budding designers to go for it, but to understand that it will not be easy and that an aptitude for business is essential.
After being told himself that he wouldn't be able to do it and that small brands can't compete in the marketplace, he is proving them all wrong and has never been happier!
He says, "The platforms are there for anyone that has the design skills and the business know-how to open up a business and succeed".