We sat down with s.k.manor hill's Dominic Sondag to talk about his brand and inspirations in 15 questions.
Gentry: Tell us about the brand. What is the idea behind it? What inspired your to start s.k.manor hill?
Dominic Sondag: The idea is simple: make beautiful clothing. I don’t really like to talk about the brand in a conceptual way. I prefer the consumer to make their own opinions about the brand based on what they see and feel. I make clothing I want to wear. I’ve always had an innate passion for clothing, not sure what got me into it but I never thought it was a possibly career choice until I went to fashion school.
G: So you studied fashion in Florence.
DS: Yes, Florence still remains one of my favorite cities in Italy.
G: Great brand name by the way. What does it stand for?
DS: S for my last name Sondag, K for kindred for friends and family, Manor is a large house and represents the fashion house, and 'hill' represents nature and a journey to the top.
G: Who is the s.k.manor hill person?
DS: A person who has an appreciation for clothing
G: What is your favorite part of the design process? What inspires you most?
DS: My Favorite part of the design process is that I am always designing. It is being able to put on that perfect sample and see my dreams in the physical.
G: What contributed most to the aesthetic of s.k.manor hill?
DS: Combination of everything, my experiences. I don’t know what people would like to call my aesthetic but I like to get inspiration from vintage pieces. I like a lot of different designers. It is a melting pot, a mix of influences. I help out vintage dealers too, like John Gluckow. I’ve been trying to learn more and build my own vintage collection over time because it is really the basis on the inspiration.
G: Any specific eras?
DS: No specific era or areas for my inspiration. I’d like to get it from around the world and from many time periods.
G: Any artists or designers that you take inspiration from? Who are some of your favorites at the moment?
DS: I consider fashion design to be a form of art and there are many designers whose work I admire, particularly from Belgium and Japan. Dries Van Noten, Daiki Suzuki, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto are a few of them. Daiki Suziki is one of my favorites so I went to work for them. I got a greater appreciation of vintage by working with Daiki too.
G: How does “Made in NY” contribute to the brand?
DS: Being in one of the fashion capitals is great. New York is important because I’m based in NY and I get to oversee everything about S.K. Manor Hill. I like to be able to do that, rather than outsourcing. I feel like New York has one of the best manufacturing, skilled sewers, patternmakers. All your fashion needs are walking distance so it is very helpful to be here. I learned a lot about the Garment District in New York from previously working at Engineered Garments. I am comfortable with the area.
G: You use a lot of neutrals in your palette, linens and fabrics with a natural feel. Is this the future direction for the brand? What do you look for when picking materials?
DS: I like to use natural fibers, it’s been a focus of mine when selecting fabrics. I also use natural buttons. I like the idea of “nature” and “natural”. I get the fabrics from Japan and Italy mostly. The best fabrics in my opinion comes from these two countries.
G: You introduced a cool print this SS17 season. Maybe from Morocco? What brought the idea of using this print or prints in general?
DS: That one comes from India. I felt like the fabric fit with the vibe of the collection. I wanted something fun and eye catching.
G: First time using prints too..
DS: Yes. My first season I used solid colors so that I can focus more on the design of the fabric rather than the pattern. I would still like to go with solids mostly.
G: Where would you like to travel for design inspiration?
DS: Let’s think.. I haven’t been to Vietnam. I would like to travel to Vietnam for inspiration because I ever heard great things about it, I also have a book called “Indigo: The color that changed the world” and there is a section about Vietnam that I liked a lot. The traditional Vietnamese jewelry and clothing looking very interesting to me as well.
G: Indigo? Do you use indigo?
DS: I’ve never used it but it is a very special color. You have to read the book to understand better.
G: Who would you be really stoked to see wearing your stuff?
G: Ah! Really?
DS: Yea, Rihanna. Who is going to get my brand more out there than her. I want women to wear my clothes, men’s clothes look great on them. I did shoot with women before too.
Also it would be really cool if my favorite designers wore my clothes as well.
G: Let’s talk about you now. Where’s your favorite place to spend a Saturday in NYC?
DS: Soho is my favorite because of all the shops.
G: What are you wearing now?
DS: Converse One Stars, s.k. manor hill Cinch Pant, Stone Island Sweatshirt, s.k. manor hill Folk Robe, s.k. manor hill Pile Beanie.
What are the items you are most stoked to wear from your collection this winter and how do you style these?
DS: Cinch Pants, Folk robe, Wallace Robe are among my favorites. I like to wear them with Paraboot Michael.
G: Your favorite items at Gentry.
DS: Everything in my collection is my favorite; Cinch Pant, Folk Robe, Pullover Parka, Wallace Robe, Kalamazoo Shirt, & the Darwin Blazer.
Not from my Brand? Engineered Garments poncho, Needles One Button Cardigan Shirt.
S.K. Manor Hill