G-Dragon discusses the clothing brands currently in his style rotation.
Brand loyalty can be a tricky thing for a style chameleon like G-Dragon. When you have the power to boost the profile of any label you wear, you have to be judicious with your co-signs. That said, GD is neither a blind trend follower nor captive to his stylist’s whims. “Because I love shopping, my house is overflowing with clothes,” he says. “Most of them were bought by myself.” A simple Google Images search (as well as our digital cover story) will reveal that GD is a man of many, many looks. But being so experimental means that his wardrobe is forever changing—and so, too, are his favorite brands.
As unique as he is, G-Dragon is quick to credit his style evolution to different influences over the years, from his mother customizing his jean jackets as a kid to older YG Entertainment artists in the early 2000s who rocked the Phat Farm and Sean John that he coveted. These days, GD acknowledges Pharrell as an inspiration: “It’s not his clothes that make him cool, it’s just him as a person,” says GD. “It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you put on, if you’re a stylish individual, you’re going to preserve that.” With that in mind—and also the fact that this list could be entirely different by his next album—here are G-Dragon’s Favorite Clothing Brands.
G-Dragon: “I didn’t really like it when it was YSL, but I’ve been a fan since it became Saint Laurent because I’m a huge fan of [creative director] Hedi Slimane. I’ve been a fan of all the brands Hedi Slimane was a part of—I really liked Dior Homme when he was there, and bought a lot of pieces from Dior. And when Hedi Slimane left [in 2007] and Kris Van Assche started working on it, I kind of stopped wearing Dior. And then when Hedi started working on Saint Laurent [in 2012]…I mean, personally, I shouldn’t really say this, but Saint Laurent right now just looks like Dior Homme. [Laughs.] It’s Saint Laurent, but it’s just like Dior Homme. It’s just a unique trait of Hedi Slimane. Plus he took the ‘Y’ in YSL. It’s supposed to be Yves Saint Laurent, but he just took out the ‘Yves.’ I think that’s really admirable.”
G-Dragon: “If you look at the brands that I like, there are brands I like because of the clothes, then there are brands I like because of their attitude and mentality. Like, certain brands I’m just like, ‘These motherfuckers are crazy.’ Whether it’s a designer or a brand itself, I get inspired by the attitude and approach. Like Rick Owens. There’s this certain sense of hip-hop in his clothes. It’s really dark and when you look at his shows—the music, the stage, and everything is just so well put together. I saw it when I went to Paris, and it was really impressive. Another thing I would say that’s really great about [Rick Owens], is that once you start wearing the pants, you don’t want to take them off. They’re so comfortable and they look so nice.”
G-Dragon: “When I was young, I didn’t know anything about Chrome Hearts, but I first saw Teddy from 1TYM wearing it in the video for ‘Do You Know Me?’ . The concept was real L.A. Chicano style and Teddy was wearing a Chrome Hearts hoodie and bandanas. At the time, I was just like, ‘Wow, it’s really cool.’ But it was just so expensive, and I didn’t have any money at the time. I would just pick up one or two pieces whenever the older heads would give them to me. And I’d be so excited. Then, as I found a bit of comfort financially, I started to purchase small silver pieces. But even when I purchase them now, I curse to myself like, ‘Bastards, how could they sell this for this much?’ And then I hate myself for buying it. [Laughs.]
“You know, I even did a collaboration with them. And although I worked on it, I hate the fact that it’s being sold at that price point. How could you sell a sleeveless shirt for $3,000? It’s just a sleeveless shirt. And then it gets sold out. Even though I curse about it, I still feel the need to purchase it, ’cause I just got to have it. The pieces I worked on, I should get them for free, you know? But I ended up buying them myself. [Laughs.] They don’t let me buy everything, of course, they’ll give me smaller pieces here and there. But the more expensive stuff, they told me I need to purchase them.
“So, yeah, I asked. Someone from our team hit them up: ‘We worked on the collabo together, isn’t it a bit extreme for us to buy them from you?” And they said, ‘The Rolling Stones had to buy their own pieces, too.’ And you know, it’s like, if the Rolling Stones had to buy it, then…okay. [Laughs.]
“Whatever, I still like it. I started purchasing small silver bracelets, and then I kept buying more and more. Now I’m at the point where I’m purchasing furniture, too. My mom hates it so much. She’s like, ‘You’ve gone mad. Why do you buy this stuff?’”
G-Dragon: “Probably all of the photos of me in suits are Thom Browne. I have a very small physique, so it’s a little hard to find suits that really fit me well. I have to wear sizes that are really skinny. And especially in Korea, when you order something it takes a long time for me to get it. Luckily, Thom Browne has all the right sizes. And it’s not like I’m tall and have a very fit physique—when certain men wear suits, they have a look that just make things look better. But Thom Browne’s fits are short and more on the cutesy side. It’s kind of like a little kid wearing a suit. That’s why I like it. And I really like the shows for Thom Browne. I personally think all of them are incredible, and he’s a genius. It’s really inspiring.”
G-Dragon: “I had no interest in high-end brands until [childhood friend and current model/2NE1 stylist] Yanggaeng pretty much put me onto that whole world. He’s always studied fashion, so he knew who was who, and what designer was doing what at the time.
“Right now, although I don’t have specific point of reference that I would call a major source of inspiration since I can pretty much get my hands on everything I want, I always look at lookbooks and pick up on trends and patterns.
“I like to do a lot of mix and match. I like stuff that’s either really established as a brand, like Prada, or stuff that has no real brand value at the moment. If I buy shirts, I usually just buy plain, no-logo shirts these days. And I tend to buy more jeans and pants than shirts. After a certain point, I just can’t wear stuff with excessive logos. I just look for stuff without any logos or marks. Even if I go to Balmain, whereas before I’d purchase a whole batch of really colorful and noticeable stuff, now I just buy like 100 white T-shirts. If I like it, I just buy the same thing over and over again. It’s becoming more and more for me that way.”
G-Dragon: “Ambush is definitely a brand I like, but more than that, I’m really good friends with [Ambush husband-and-wife founders] Verbal and Yoon. We’re trying to help one another out [with our collaborations]. I’m learning a lot through the collaboration process. Verbal’s a hip-hop artist, so a lot of his accessories are very blunt and mostly excessive.
“But at one point, that was the trend. So I found that very appealing, ’cause it’s different. I’m not going to do a necklace with a very thin chain and small initials. [Laughs.] If I’m going to do it, I’m going to go big and get noticed. So the idea of making something so flashy and stand out really inspires me.
“Also, I think the quality of their products is very on point. I don’t know much about accessories, so I wanted to wrap my head around the art of making something look heavy, but light in actuality. Like, even if I’m making a jersey, I need to know what kind of leather I should use to make it look sturdy and fit. I definitely don’t want something that’s too loose and light. Those are just some really good lessons for me to learn and explore. They’re kind of like teachers for me. If they make something for fun and they like it, they’ll send it to me. This is the second time I did a collaboration with them, and I really enjoyed it both times.”
G-Dragon: “Whenever new Human Potential products come out, Robin [a.k.a. YG producer Choice37] always brings them to the studio and gives them to us. Their latest products have these prints with metal chains connected and intertwined. When I’m in the studio or the office, I usually wear Human Potential stuff. The clothes are really light, and it’s really comfortable. And most of all, it’s Robin’s wife’s [YK Rebekah Kim’s] brand; I try to help out whatever ways I can. I take photos of myself wearing them and post them online. It’s steadily growing, and I feel like it’s great. I want to help out more, and it feels good to see that it’s getting bigger.”
G-Dragon: “Personally, I like JUUN.J a lot. I’ve seen his stuff from the very beginning. A good friend of mine is a model, and he participated in the lookbooks, so I checked it out without thinking too much. I was really proud when I went to Paris recently and JUUN.J had a show. You know, if you’re going there as a fellow Korean and you thought the show was wack, you’ll have to kind of lie to him, like, ‘Hey, I enjoyed the show.’
“But it wasn’t that. It was literally just, ‘Oh, this is really good.’ In that sense, I felt proud; it was a real prideful moment. Like, I saw many different shows in Paris, and not only as a fellow Korean, but just in general, this guy’s show is really awesome.
“The clothes are really well put together, too. So as a result, I started to purchase more pieces by him. And they’re also very hip-hop. They do stuff that’s out of the ordinary, a bit more left field. [Fellow Big Bang member] Taeyang and I both wear a lot of their stuff. Taeyang was in Paris for the latest show and he told me it was really awesome. For now, I think I would say JUUN.J stands out to me the most out of all the Korean brands.”
G-Dragon: “I’m a fan of leather these days, whether it’s leather pants, leather hoodies, or leather jackets. So I tried out En Noir, and the fit worked for me. I wouldn’t say it’s a brand I really love, but I enjoy wearing it. And it’s a brand that’s new and popular for the time being, so I wanted to give it a try.
“Before we go into any project, our stylist purchases a bunch of clothes that are popular. So I have an option of picking and choosing during the promotion of the new album. We just buy a whole bunch from multiple different brands. Even if we don’t wear it, there are so many people in the company who’ll probably wear it at some point or another. If the designer of the brand likes the fact that we wear them, then instead of us buying it, they send it to us from that point on. It’s cross-promotion—once we kind of become friends, we exchange a lot of stuff. So this time, I think we’re receiving a lot of new stuff from En Noir.”
Pyrex/Hood By Air
G-Dragon: “Since [Pyrex and Hood By Air] are new brands that are out at the moment, I just wanted to purchase them and try them out. Before, if you bought it, you bought it—whatever. But now, whether it’s through Instagram or whatnot, once the photos circulate, the people behind the brands start to take notice. And if they approve of it, they’ll just send a bunch of stuff. We end up doing collaborations, and it works out like that.
“I never studied fashion design. I’ve done music for 10 years now, and there are many people that worked and studied fashion design for more than 10 years and it didn’t really work out for them. So I don’t think it’s in my place to just go into it without much background. You know, Pyrex is more event-driven. They have a whole set of pieces with Pyrex as the theme and they’ll probably make another set with a different theme. I thought about doing something like that, which is more event-driven, more of a one-off. In a way, purchasing all these clothes is a way of studying how things work. And when I think I’m ready to put out my own stuff, I’ll have a better understanding as a whole.”
G-Dragon: “I like clothes in general, so it doesn’t matter what kind of brand it is. I still go to Dongdaemun Market [famous shopping district in Seoul known for high-quality knockoffs]. I go when they can’t recognize me. [Laughs.]
“A long time ago, I went to Dongdaemun with [YG producers] Kush and Teddy. We came across a store and it was nothing but photos of Big Bang and me. All the clothes were based on stuff we wore, but in so in many different color coordinations. [Laughs.] Even pieces that only came out in one colorway, this store had it in every color possible.
“I remember walking by the store going, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ And then the store’s owner popped out of nowhere and grabbed me by the arm and said: ‘Hey, you have a similar figure to G-Dragon. Why don’t you come into our store. We have clothes in every size.’
“So I told him, ‘I’m okay, I hate G-Dragon.’ Then he said, ‘You kind of dress like him, too. Come on.’ We just walked away.”