Donald Chung is a recent Menswear graduate from the University of Technology, Sydney. He presented his final graduate collecton titled “RESIST & EXIST”. The collecton is conceptually based around dress practice within North Korea. It is an enquiry into an isolated society that has not experienced modernity in the Western sense, and still relies heavily on propagandic representatons of hyper-masculinity, militarism and uniform. The sensibility is hard, precise and linear.

Virtual Man interviewed this promising talent Donald Chung, to discover the future for the brand and his inspirations.

What attracted you to design menswear?

Menswear has always been one of my foremost interests. I think the idea of pushing the boundaries within a realm which has traditionally been so formulaic is really exciting. I’m always fascinated by the balance of the menswear/womenswear binary. There’s still so much possibility to explore within menswear, I think this excites me most.

What are your plans for Donald Chung the label?

I’d like to build upon my graduate collection this year and I’ve got my sights set on spending some time overseas as well. My lecturer described the collection as being a kind of ‘sombre minimalism’ – I guess I’d like to continue designing along these lines.

Working with technical fabric such as neoprene, what are some challenges and what techniques do you use to overcome them? what do you enjoy about working with such material?

I suppose what I love about working with the bonded neoprene is that it gives the garments a real sense of hard modernity. I can achieve a minimal, sculpted sensibility with the ability to cut raw edges, and am also able to create textural surface treatments through a laser scoring process. The bonding allows the width of the fabric to be controlled, so there is a lot of scope to drape and patternmake these shapes. Some of the outerwear pieces can be quite challenging – but it’s about being experimental with the fabric. Proposing and re-proposing ideas of what is ‘fashion’, what works, what doesn’t – it’s all part of the design process.

Who are some of your favourite designers? Artists? 

I really love the work of Donald Judd and James Turell. For some unfathomable reason,  looking at a block of steel or being in neon pink-lit room resonates something within me. I find the work of Peter De Potter also quite evokative.

What are you inspired by? more specifically, where do you find inspirations for your collections?

I suppose I’m subconsciously inspired by my surroundings and anything that’s around me, be it line, textures, colour. For this collection, I researched the visual culture and uniform of North Korea. It’s quite an unconventional idea, but I’m really inspired by the mundane imagery of everyday North Koreans and formalism of their dress culture. This is offset with the juxtaposition of the permeating propaganda and military iconography; creating a really interesting society to draw from.

Menswear fashion week just began; which designers are you looking forward to seeing?

Raf Simons is one of those designers that I follow avidly each season, I’m not going to deny I’m quite a fan-boy. Also, there is so much energy coming out of London at the moment. I definitely feel like there is a huge surge of creativity and shifts in ideals you’re seeing in London Menswear right now. I’ve been following Nicomede Talavera quite closely since his debut. It’s definitely the younger voices who aren’t quite concerned with commerciality just yet, that I find most interesting and original. I suppose this is where I see myself working towards.



Photographer – Bowen Arico @Company1

Grooming – Claire Thomson @Company1

Hair – Anthony Nader using ORIBE products @Work Agency

Model – Jordan Barret @IMG Models

Collection provided by Donald Chung