Doug Conklyn, Global Senior Vice President Design at Dockers
Doug Conklyn, Global Senior Vice President Design at Dockers
 

16 Apr. 2013

Interview: Doug Conklyn, Global Senior Vice President Design for Dockers

All about chinos – that was the motto of last season. Whether classic or colourful, clean, with military details or in colours, the flat fabrics have celebrated a big comeback in the fashion scene. Dockers is brand that focused its range on khaki and chinos. Doug Conklyn, Global Senior Vice President Design at Dockers discusses the influences of the chino and military apparel on the current collection and he reveals his personal style and favourite shopping destination. Interview by Melanie Gropler

Dockers is specialised in chinos and Workwear. What do you see as next big trend in colours and materials for khaki?
Color continues to be a dominant trend in khaki. For Spring/Summer 2013 we have a wide variety of colors that range from softly faded color inspired by the sun-faded sails found in the docks of Sausalito (San Francisco Bay area harbour front town) to bright vibrant colors inspired by the fruits and vegetables found in our local San Francisco farmer's markets. Orange, Red Yellow, Green and all varieties of Blue continue to be important as are the classic neutrals of tan and grey.
Image from Dockers
Image from Dockers' current summer lookbook

What are your sources of inspiration for SS13 design?
Despite being a "global" brand, we draw our inspiration from the city Levi Strauss & Co. call home. San Francisco. San Francisco's rich culture, varied geography and fascinating history provides endless inspiration. For Spring 2013 we were inspired by various "craft cultures" of the bay area. Stone Masons, Shipwrights and Local Produce Growers. Each inspired very specific color, pattern, style and finish choices.

What are the key styles for summer?
Well for one, Dockers Alpha khakis paired with a bold check shirt and a pair of deck shoes - no socks! The Dockers reversible short is a "must wear" - perfect to pack for a summer vacation since it offers a dressed up and casual look in one garment.

Do you see denim style as a competitor or as an addition to Chinos? Does one complement the other?
Today I would say that denim is indeed a competitor to chinos. Once upon a time this was not so, however. With the innovative fit and color offering of our Alpha Khaki for example, you can now achieve the cool attitude that was once only reserved for jeans. Of course in the end, there is a need for both, but by pushing the boundaries of conventional wisdom with respect to what khakis are and what they aren't, we're starting to see some blurring of the lines of distinction.

What's your favourite personal style?
Casual refined perhaps?
Actually, that's a pretty accurate description of how I dress. I love the to mix my favorite casual pieces like the Alpha khaki with tailored pieces and the occasional necktie. In the end, style is the most important thing. Whether I'm wearing my Alphas with a vintage t-shirt and sneakers or with a Harris tweed blazer and hand-made loafers, style is the key.

What are your favourite stores and why do you like shopping there?
The one thing all of my favorite stores have in common is that they have a specific point of view. For me, the stores that do not try to be all things to all people work best. Whether it's furniture, books, music or apparel, my favorite stores have curated their assortments based on the owner's point of view. In Germany, for example there has been a small resurgence of speciality retailers, selling beautiful individual items one can't necessarily purchase in a regular department store.


There's a relatively new store by the name of Wingtip in San Francisco that occupies the original Bank of America building and uses the original safe deposit boxes to store customer's size information and the original bank vault has been repurposed into a barber shop. In addition to fine men's clothing you can also purchase pens, knives and unique accessories. The environment as well as the assortment is quite unique and worth the trip.

What makes a store a 'shopping destination' for you?
Again, it goes back to knowing that the assortment offered in any given store is unique and special to that store - that the shopping experience is different and inviting. I take the example of the heritage menswear store B74 in Frankfurt. The environment as well as the assortment is quite extraordinary and worth the trip. Dockers K-1 Collection sells very well there.
When I'm in Berlin I always try to stop by Burg und Schild - again another great store run by guys with a passion for design and style. They have a knack of just getting the right kind of product at the right time.
When I'm next in Europe I want to visit Switzerland. A colleague of mine swears by VMC. He calls it 'legendary' so how could I not go and shop there!

In our new Sportswear International Magazine #251 read the whole interview with Doug Conklyn, Global Senior Vice President Design at Dockers and learn more about Chinos, Khaki and the meaning of heritage.

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