Nok Nok is a vibrant new take on the classic denim jean that has sparked excitement in the creative hub of East London. Nok Nok is an experimental take on how we see and wear our favorite piece of clothing, drawing on inspiration from classic British tailoring and merging them with new washes and techniques inspired by vintage punk, surf and skate style. Nok Nok sources their denim fabrics from Okayama, Japan to provide a solid range of T-shirt.
ROOMS had the privilege to speak to the head designer and founder Angel Nokonoko about his denim collection, why he loves Dalston and what advice he can give to aspiring fashion designers.
How would you describe your company Nok Nok?
Nok Nok is an extension of myself, fun, interesting, and fresh, different with an edge as I say.
How did you get started designing, was this a childhood dream, were you always interested in a career in fashion?
Well since my nightlife times in Ibiza as a teen I use to make and customized t-shirts and jeans for my friends before going raving. It wasn’t really a childhood dream to be honest, I wanted to be a footballer, but I enjoyed making clothes, cutting them, putting studs, it was a great way of expressing myself, like a painting or a picture you want to send a friend or recreate a feeling that you have deep down.
You are a designer and a DJ; do you draw inspiration for designing from music too?
I draw inspiration from anything that I connect with in on spiritual a physical level. I will feel an instant urge to wright it down, draw it or taking a pic. But yeah music it’s a great source of inspiration, same as movies, I love dramas! I don’t really consider myself a DJ out of respect of some of my good friends that are masters in this craft. I would say I’m a good tune selector with a good eye to feel what people want to listen. But funny enough lately I’m djing every weekend with a monthly residency for Weekend Gang Party and I have a weekly radio show at Dejavufm on Thursday.
You are based in East London but you are originally from Ibiza, how are the two cultures different and how have they influenced your fashion designs?
I think East London is a bigger Ibiza, there’s so much energy, I love living in Dalston. I feel so energized and inspired whenever I’m out, the mixture of cultures and styles are great from Turkish to Jamaicans, from fashionistas to skaters and rockers... It’s great and the nightlife it’s pretty good, so it reminds me of Ibiza, the happy vibes… the mixture of people. This influences my work constantly, I like to create pieces that people can wear on a night out, cool rock & roll, sexy and also can wear them to the beach during the day.
Are there any other designers or places of interest in London you get inspiration from?
Nowadays I don’t really follow or check other designers I rather check painters, sculptures, dancers, singers! I draw inspiration from their style, personality & aura... London is great for inspiration you can go to Soho and the energy is so strong or you can go to Stamford hill and feel like you are in a totally different country but this is so beautiful and inspiring.
I understand you are a Central Saint Martins alumni, what kind of advice would you give to a young fashion student inspiring to have their own fashion company?
My time in Saint Martins was some of the best years in London. I used to organize parties for all the students and sometimes teachers used to come down so people used to know me for that. But I also worked really hard; I would say work hard but also learn as much as you can, meet people that can give you good advice, be confident in your dream, don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it! Learn from your mistakes, but above all have fun while you are building you company!! It’s so exciting.
You place a lot of value in detail in your denim collection, from floral fabrics lining the interior to good quality sourced fabrics from Japan, how important is detail for you in design?
I love detail; this comes from the fact that I’m a menswear designer first, so I like to focus on small hidden details. It’s what shows that you have been thinking and studying your design, that there’s a balance and reasoning behind it all. I believe quality is very important; it’s a key point on your brand, especially for small brands, the way you are able to compete is by introducing interesting cool details and quality. I have always been in love with Japan, its culture, people and way of life, they are perfectionist when it comes to craftsmanship, and so quality there is very important.
We are doing a big event in Tokyo in June for my brand in partnership with Weekend Gang Party and 6Tribes.com
What are your plans for your brand for the next year?
I have so many plans for the brand, sky is the limit! We want to get stocked at some big retailers in London, we are talking with a few and have meetings; in addition we are working in a licensing deal for a distribution company in Canada so that will help lift the business up. But for me fashion is just one side of the brand, I would like to expand it to entertainment, like a lounge/shop, a radio station and few other things…
Earn some fashion points by checking out Nok Nok denim designs
All photos © Nok Nok denim and Angel Nokonoko