DONK: Creating Whilst Isolating Series
To begin our ‘Creating Whilst Isolating 2.0’ take-over series was Manchester based clothing brand DONK. Over 3 days they showed us how they make their pieces, hosted a step-by-step Bleaching Workshop, and took part in an exclusive Q&A by the 50m Community.
Where did you come up with the name?
Sam: Donk is a hardcore dance music genre that was popular within Northern working class culture in the early 00's. Before we had a name for our brand I just had the word donk exposed on a screen and from there it just stuck!
When did you first start constructing garments and how did you learn to do it?
Madi: I first started making clothes in high school but always did other things like painting and drawing. I went to LCF for a year studying womenswear, but I'm mostly self taught. It's given me the freedom to focus on other practices that make DONK what it is!
What is the inspiration behind your aesthetic and production?
DONK: We make work about the culture we live in. We're proud to be working class weirdos. When we both met we were little emos. Growing up with Manchester on our doorsteps it's hard not to be inspired by the clubs and music in the city. But also what it means to come from a small town.
What makes your clothes sustainable?
Sam: We've got a stockroom full of used and damaged garments that we blend with off cuts and end of line fabrics. We also offer a service where you're able to send us your old items and have them DONKIFIED by us.
What music do you listen to in the studio?
We're really bad for listening to the same music all the time! The Sugarcubes, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays have been on repeat for the last few months.
Madi and Sam, can you show us your favourite items of clothing from the collection?
What motivated you to be sustainable and what challenges have you faced because of this?
DONK: Being sustainable is easy when you're skint because you have to use what you can. We're always been thrifty and had to make the most out of what we've got. We both love vintage clothing and there's so much of it out there that can be made into something else! The challenges we face being sustainable is that our process is slower than what customers may be used to due to garments being one off and custom made.
Do you guys ever take interns?
DONK: We're still a tiny brand just the two of us - but it's something we have considered! We'd want to make sure we're at a point where we can PAY interns fairly. Being a young creative you're expected to do a lot for free and it shouldn't be like that - young people have a lot to bring to the table regardless of experience!
What is the process of developing the brands visual identity?
Sam: Before fashion Maddi is an illustrator and I studied graphic design. Using our combined skills and knowledge I'd like to think we have a strong visual identity, and one that honestly represents our brand. Stay true n you can't go wrong!
During the takeover DONK held a live Bleaching Workshop and encouraged viewers to take part and work with them to give their old clothes a new lease of life.
What you will need:
- An item of clothing that is 100% cotton
- A bottle of cleaning bleach
- Elastic bands
- Strong washing up gloves
- A washing up bowl
- A face mask
- A ventilated space with access to a sink
See the full takeover at @50mLondon 'DONK Takeover' Highlight.