Very creative fashion units often rely on the brand’s world view to convey the artistic concept behind it through concrete design elements. “Signature Design” will invite fashion designers to share the most “labelled” design elements of the brand in their minds, and select the most representative items from previous series to explain behind-the-scenes inspiration and design highlights.
Founded in 2017, the designer brand 8ON8 starts from the imagination of a perfect life︎and uses daily life as a reference︎to build an overhead idealistic world︎. Designer Gong Li Leo Gong studied at the London College of Fashion as an undergraduate, and began to build a retro-futuristic worldview during his master’s degree in menswear at Central Saint Martins. Gong Li evolved the “g” in the surname “gong” into an approximate number “8”, making the brand name look like a designer’s name, conveying the brand concept in a disguised form – originating from life, higher than life, Imagine a better life.
The designer expresses the imagination of the future world in his mind through a humorous and absurd tone. And works of art such as literature and movies that deeply touched Gong Li have also become the nourishment of 8ON8. For example, the 2023 Spring/Summer series uses the French philosopher Albert Camus’s novel “L’Étranger” to convey “ignoring all the absurdity around us from the perspective of an outsider”; the 2020 Spring/Summer series uses one of the episodes of “Black Mirror” “San Junipero” The love between two girls in the virtual world of the 1980s is the main line; the 2019 autumn and winter series is inspired by the 1973 sci-fi comedy film “Sleeper” directed by Woody Allen.
The design element “Jersey Tailoring” throughout the brand’s career has become the most eye-catching label since the establishment of 8ON8. This design approach combines traditional menswear details with contemporary sports elements, using the stretchability of knitted fabrics to create unique silhouettes. Gong Li said that it may look no different from an ordinary suit to the public, but in this way, there are no darts or pleats on the suit, and it is pressed out of a whole piece, which fits the minimalism he has always advocated. In addition, the splicing of knitted and woven fabrics is also an element that can often be seen in 8ON8’s past products. Gong Li also selected the three most representative items in his past works this time to explain the behind-the-scenes inspiration and design highlights.
Gong Li:Initially, 8ON8 started its brand career with the label “Jersey Tailoring”. Since the establishment of the brand in 2017, the combination of traditional menswear details and contemporary sports elements has always been the accumulation of 8ON8 product design, and the craftsmanship has also been continuously improved. A set of Jersey Suit until the 2023 spring and summer series is based on the extensibility of strong-twist elastic fabrics. Through heat-pressing and shaping, a slim-fit suit silhouette without darts is realized, which further conveys the possibility of combining Jersey Tailoring and technology. Sustainability concept.
Gong Li:Sweater knitting is also the main hot-selling category of 8ON8, and the single product that combines needle and weaving is 8ON8’s iconic design, which shows that the brand explores more possibilities in knitting technology and blurs the needlework to a certain extent. The boundaries between woven categories. Cut from wool, this lightweight blazer has a knitted back panel in soft lambswool for added softness.
Gong Li:This mid-length windbreaker also uses a combination of knitting and weaving. The main body is wool tweed fabric, sewn by traditional menswear techniques, and the white yarn can be seen in curls when viewed closely. The A-shaped coat silhouette is paired with loose armholes inspired by medieval clothing, which adds a sense of casual everyday wear, and the pockets are designed with variegated pocket flaps woven from wool.
With Leo Gong
Hypebeast: The “signature design” you shared is more about tailoring and fabrics. In addition, the pattern design of 8ON8 is also very interesting, such as some totems that often appear in previous series, and the mirror image that appeared in the previous cooperation with Asics Asics Logo, are you also in charge of graphic design? How do you generally conceive graphic ideas?
Gong Li:Every element produced by 8ON8 is directed by me. In the past few seasons, the drafts of each season are based on a certain story, to describe a scene and extract more elements from it as design materials. Just like the brand concept of 8ON8, it is to give people a better imagination of life. What we have to do is to visualize and materialize these beautiful imaginations, so that imagination no longer just stays in the mind.
Hypebeast: The suit is a style that often appears in 8ON8, and its tailoring also extends to your design. Why do you favor suits so much?
Gong Li:I am a menswear designer, and 8ON8 is a brand that started with menswear. Men’s suits are the oldest and most ordinary category in the history of men’s clothing. This is my professional accumulation as a menswear designer, so that I can bring more extension and creativity on the product side.
Hypebeast: The superficial retro-futuristic world view has always been a very distinctive label of 8ON8. Why was it touched by retro-futuristic aesthetics? Why have you been designing around this element? Have you been inspired by related works before?
Gong Li:The past is the precipitation of history, while the present is the process of extracting the essence from the long river of history and transforming it into modern products, and the future is the coming present. In fact, each of us lives in the alternation between the past, the present and the future. Being inspired by life, I need to experience this process and get more inspiration from it.
Hypebeast: Could you share the works that most influenced you and why?
Gong Li:Woody Allen movies. No matter how many years have passed or how many leading actors have been changed, there are some works that maintain the same personality. New York and Paris, which will never be separated from him, will always be the trivial life details of a humble but pretentious man and some women who are all over the world, so trivial that you can see your own miniature. This should be a microcosm of himself.
Hypebeast: 8ON8 has launched a furniture series before, why did you use “Nonsense Life” as the theme? Why cross the border from fashion to furniture?
Gong Li:Nonsense Life Pieces are just some of my little tastes in life that flashed through my mind. They are some design works that don’t bring me pressure, just for fun. It’s just that it also has a certain commercial value, and it may be that these little funs have touched the hearts of some people.
Hypebeast: It has been 5 years since the first season. During this process, how do you think your own design aesthetics and concepts have changed?
Gong Li:As the times and society change, the products will of course be adjusted. For example, the sharp increase in female customers also makes me want to be more clear about the female portraits that belong to 8ON8, and the focus of society will also change the focus of product development.
Hypebeast: 8ON8 has cooperated with the sports brand Asics many times, and also launched a joint name with the old Italian men’s clothing Canali, so what is your criteria for choosing a partner?
Gong Li:Like-minded, easy cooperation is what I pursue.
Hypebeast: If you were not a fashion designer, what career would you choose?
Gong Li:I used to want to be a chef because I love cooking. And now I just want to travel around the world, which is the most luxurious thing for me right now.