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The lines between lounge and work wear are irrevocably blurred as designer Daniel Dugoff channels his fashion house experience to create a menswear collection fit for the modern professional. The brand’s philosophy is based on the concept of creating garments that can easily be thrown on whilst maintaining the cut and fit of a luxury product. In his interview with METAL, where we discover his upcoming FW collection, Dugoff discusses his artistic background, New Yorkers and the inspiration behind his collections.

Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your artistic background.

The quick recap is: I grew up wanting to be an artist, but I fell in love with the idea of architecture at school. I loved that, rather than choosing a medium and creating a project (as you are often asked to do in art school), I was given a problem and could use any means necessary to explain my solution. When I graduated from college, I was interested in working with design that was at a one-to-one scale with humans (furniture, fashion, products) and I interned for some fashion designers, eventually getting a job working at Marc by Marc Jacobs. I launched DDUGOFF a little over two years ago; taking the experiences I had at a large company and at small designers, and setting out on my own.

How has your work experience at fashion houses such as Marc by Marc Jacobs shaped your work ethic and approach to design? What advice would you give to budding designers?

It was really crucial for me to have experiences working for multiple sizes of companies before I launched DDUGOFF. Everyone has a different way of working around basically the same process and calendar. It was so helpful to see how different people solved problems under the same constraints! I don’t think I could do my job now without that experience.

You have described your brand image as reflecting the mid-way point between going to work and staying at home. Could you tell us a bit more about the DDUGOFF philosophy?

The philosophy behind DDUGOFF is so simple – your clothes should be nice and you shouldn’t have to worry about them. If you’re going to spend the money on something good, it should last, it should fit, and it should provide for you. I do a lot of work to source materials and produce the products in the right way so the customer doesn’t have to worry about that stuff. I’m also obsessed with the fit – making sure that everything hangs just right and doesn’t pull. And I’m very careful about the details – putting pockets and loops for hanging in the right places, developing buttons with the right weight and feel, using amazing textiles. I design prints myself (or sometimes working with artist friends) so that they are unique to the brand. These are clothes designed to be your favorite pieces that you wear every day. They feel special but only in as much as you can feel like yourself when you wear them.

Keeping on the subject of workwear, how do you see the modern-day professional dressing himself? Do you sense a progression from the traditional yuppie style that has dominated men's fashion for decades?

There’s a consciousness about buying products with integrity right now that I’m excited about. People want beautiful things that last. Hopefully that also means fewer blue gingham shirts, but who knows!

There was a distinctive mood to the SS16 campaign, the outdoor-setting definitely showcased the earthy palette and premium fabrics nicely. Was this a conscious decision on your part? Tell us a bit more about shooting the campaign.

SS16 is the fourth season for the brand. The lookbooks for the previous three seasons were shot in a studio, but from the very beginning of designing SS16 I knew the collection needed to be shot outside. We shot the lookbook at a family friend’s house just outside of the city that I’ve been going to for my whole life. I hadn’t realized what an amazing garden there was in the back until a year or so ago and I kept thinking about the garden as I was working on the collection. It was such an amazing day to have the clothes in the place I’d imagined them in for months.

Social media now plays a huge role in the marketing of a brand. How do you make a point of standing out in an industry that is so heavily saturated with online images?

It’s important to me that my Instagram reflects what I’m doing, and not be overly “branded.” I post the things I’m looking at and things I’m excited about. There is definitely some pressure to stand out, but really all I can do is be myself and show what I’m into.

Do you have any particular influences that were pivotal to S/S's designs?

Beyond the garden, I was looking at Burle Marx landscapes, and a lot of photos from space. For me, I’m not usually telling a narrative with the collection, but more of a mood created from the materials and colors. I definitely do a lot of research while I’m developing the collection (and especially the prints) but I prefer it if the clothes can stand on their own without needing to know the backstory.

Tell us a bit more about the experience of launching a brand in New York. How is the NY client different to any other client?

Well, New Yorkers like to think that they are ahead of the curve on everything –and I mean everything: music, art, fashion, news; it can be exhausting–, so there’s an impetus to always know what’s going on. I try not to look too much at other brands, though. I want the brand to be about what I think, not what I see other brands doing.

What are some foreseeable trends in menswear for AW16 in your opinion? Are there any current trends that you would be happy to see the back of?

I don’t think in terms of trends. I’m making clothes that you can keep wearing over and over again for years, not a season or two. Tastes change, but I hope these are clothes that will last.

Lowri Hill

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