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60 Seconds with DK Darlington

MODEL BEHAVIOUR: DK Darlington poses with models

AWARD-WINNING Jamaican fashion designer DK Darlington, who launches Autumn/Winter 2012 range on June 20, talks to The Voice about what keeps him inspired, how he feels Jamaican culture has influenced British fashion and the young fashionistas we should be looking out for.

How did you become a fashion designer?
I have always wanted to be a fashion designer ever since I was a child growing up in Jamaica. When I came to the UK I completed my degree at the London School of Fashion and began working with the Topman design team. My duties included researching main season trends, which included website research, cutting out garments for assembly and graphic designs. One of my designs was used on a t-shirt, which went on sale at Topman nationwide and it was then that I decided to launch my company DK Darlington Ltd.

What’s your favourite fashion era?
The 1930s. During the war there was a uniformed look, which was accepted by all. This look was smart, elegant and chic. The women looked very sexy in what they wore. Material was very hard to come by, therefore imagination and creativity was needed to create some of the famous designs of that period.

Who do you prefer designing for more men or women?
I like designing for men because it’s more challenging. There are countless clothing for women, therefore a lot easier to put together a wardrobe. But designing for a man takes time, creativity and imagination. Men's clothing are 'sets', it’s therefore about bringing imagination to a suit, jeans or a t-shirt.

What fashion tips do you have for women this summer?
Be true to yourself and wear clothes that fit and are comfortable. A nice sexy outfit is a must, but if you’re carrying a few pounds, then look for outfits that compliment your nice curves rather than those that make you look silly.

What about the men?
Dress to impress, but don’t over do it. Many men wear their Sunday best everyday without realising that they can look good in a t-shirt, jeans and trainers.

What's the biggest fashion 'no no' that you see constantly?
Bold and beautiful may be seen as sexy by many people, but ensure you complement your figure rather than making yourself look completely stupid. Don't wear leggings with a short top if you don't have the figure to wear it. Leggings suit slimmer women. If you are a larger woman wanting to wear leggings, you should complement the look with a longer top, which covers your bottom.

What's your fashion motto?
We work and strive to design the very best clothes, with the highest quality of craftsmanship.

Who would be your ideal fashion muse?
Alesha Dixon, she rocks!

How much influence do you feel Jamaicans have had on the fashion world?
Jamaicans have had an enormous impact on the fashion world especially through reggae music during the 60s, 70s and 80s. Dancehall and Jamaican DJs have impacted the world over the last century. If one looks at the fashion, which has ran concurrently with these music scene, there are many similarities such as Beyoncé. Her stage fashion can be linked to fashion seen in dance hall videos.

Who is your favourite Jamaican fashion icon?
Beenie Man and Carlene Davis, the former dancehall queen in Jamaica.

DK Darlington’s Autumn/Winter 2012 show takes place on June 20 at Electric Social

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