[Post by Eena Acuña]
“What is the other duck? You know… It’s the other duck. The outcast, thee underdog, the other. The Ugly Duckling. Embrace that inner other and you will discover that at the right time, your ugly duckling will transform into the beautiful swan in time. Don’t force it. Don’t avoid it. Embrace it. Be proud of it. It’s who you are. Your essence. Don’t let anyone take it away. Ever.”
“Just watch the Dougie video.” We all have our stories to tell – and the best part of this is getting to share your story with people we meet randomly in life’s mini adventures and often, in the most bizarre times or beautiful places. The first five minutes upon meeting Cheryl I already knew that passing up on an afternoon surf sesh is going to be worth it. What I’m saying is, opportunities to spend time with people who are your kind of crazy and more – you just don’t make them wait.
With the creative concept of mixing art, music, and fashion, Cheryl Koo, founder and brainchild of The Other Duck Clothing, takes center stage as her team tours around the globe collaborating with brands like New Era, Spoons, etc.
SM: What’s the story behind the name of your clothing line? How did you go about forming your team?
It’s the Ugly Duckling Story. As adults, when you look back to the childhood stories you used to listen to, you find greater meaning in such a simple truth. I never understood this story for the message that it sent until my mid 20s! And when it dawned on me, I felt a powerful connection with it, thus led to the theme and basis for my company. THE OTHER DUCKLING’s the Other one: the outcast. The unwanted. The overlooked. The different. But regardless of how we look, and where we were raised, we all have dreams. We all have aspirations and goals. If YOU yourself believe IN yourself, no matter what your surroundings and environment, you WILL transform into that Swan. Your inner beauty will surface and in the end, that’s what really matters. That you stand true to Who YOU Are. We all have that potential to become the swan in a group of ducks but if you don’t believe in yourself enough, how will you achieve that? Because even if you do become the swan, and you don’t believe it, you will not be able to unlock your inner most potential.
So this story really rang a bell. And with this message, it has become the foundation of my company. [[We have all been the ugly duckling at some point in our lives. We have all the potential to become the beautiful swan we all have inside of us. But over time and through experience, most people close off to the possibilities of life and opportunity. Our creative hub gets capped and we are forced to it in. as long as you believe in yourself, no one can tell you otherwise. You must be on a genuine quest to explore your own true potential without letting your environment and surroundings cloud your destiny. We are all unique human beings that should not be bounded by the strains of society and should strive to live outside of the box. Individuality defines us and makes us who we are. Stay focused on being the BEST YOU and you will become the swan you were always meant to be. Life is a journey. A process. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. All that really matters, is that you Do You!]]
My team has been an ongoing process from the day it started. How fitting, since The Other Duck is all about process and journey. Currently, it is still growing and there is more to finesse. But it has always been with amazing people who really believe in the same things and who also have their dreams and aspirations. It started off with all dancers, because I wanted to form a team that represented amazing respected dancers who were also capable of other talents and skills. But as the company grew, as my ideas grew, I’ve been transitioning out of dance and more into the fashion world. Everyday is a learning experience! But I can safely say that my team is at its best today and I have no doubt that it will only get better. We will only be stronger.
SM: How did you get into fashion design? Did you undergo formal schooling (what are your thoughts on this)?
Since I was a little girl, the 2 things I wanted to do was Act, and Design. I always drew little dolls in different outfits and I guess from then it was written in the stars. In undergrad I studied Graphic Design and Psychology. But once I was finished my BA, I went to study fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York City. I think schooling is great to aid with the development of mental skill but working in the field develops the physical skills so I think both are very equal in importance. I did a 2 year program in 1 year so things were extremely accelerated. If I could go back I’d take my time. Because then I’d be able to fully apply my learned skills and remember them!
SM: What were your influences to come up with your design creations? How do you define your style?
I am extremely inspired by music, architecture, photography and nature. My style is uncategorized. It’s eclectic, chaotic, artistic, collaborative, and usually a fusion of a mix of things. But the main word I’d use is contradictory. I love mixing two juxtaposed concepts together. In everything I’ve done so far, contradiction has always been a recurring theme, whether its in the fabric, the concept, the structure, the silhouette.
SM: What are your everyday sources of fresh and unique ideas?
The world. Wherever you look, you will always find beauty in SOMETHING.
SM: What are some unforgettable highlights from your current SEA tour?
SM: If you could work for or collaborate with another designer/artist/brand who would it be?
There are so many! Yohji Yamamoto, Commes Des Garcons, Rei Kawakubo, Victor and Rolfe, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith Brands I’d love to collab with: Adidas, Nike (for a special ed dunk or sb)- although it’d be pretty sick to come up with a high fashion line with them something totally different), Le Sportsac, SkullCandy, Diesel, Apple, Incase, Burton, Supra
SM: If you could choose any celebrity to rock your stuff, who would it be?
JESSIE J!!! Her message alone is what i love. we both stand for the same things. her simple yet classy British style is perfect in anything outfit I’ve designed.