Colm Dillane is having a moment, and he knows it. After receiving Vogue’s “Emerging Designer of The Year” award in 2022, the designer behind KidSuper Studios was tapped by Louis Vuitton to guest design the fall/winter ’23 collection along with the LV team—an experience Dillane says boosted his confidence as an artist. In fact, his, Look mom, I made it! moment came while trying to find an assistant to help with the collection. “I was like, ‘Ok, if I could hire any creative or designer, who would I hire?'” Dillane recalls.”Then you look around like, ‘Fuck, maybe I am pretty good.'”
So, what happens next? How do you top that kind of moment? For Dillane, the next order of business was figuring out how to share his art in a new way. Enter the KidSuper x Ugg Coachella collaboration, a vibrant reimagining of the new Tasman Sport slip-on featuring Dillane’s original paintings. “You have to be a certain type of person or in a certain mindset to put these on,” Dillane explains as we sit on a couple of benches at the back of the Villa Royale in Palm Springs, California, the night before the festival kicks off. “And that mindset is kind of cool.”
The new shoe is bright and expressive, a fitting representation of the designer who believes fashion should be a conversation-starter. Even in his early days, Dillane says he admired fashion’s ability to unite people and form unlikely connections. “What I loved and felt super excited about with fashion was the amount of doors it opened up, the amount of interest it got from different people. There are very few fields like that.”
Last weekend, Dillane was able to watch two world collide in real-time when his shoes were revealed at the Ugg Feel House party in Palm Springs, ahead of the Coachella Music Festival. Below, Dillane tells Esquire more about the collaboration, what it’s like seeing people wear his designs, and how he tried (and failed) to preform a DJ set over the weekend.
Esquire: So you started designing as a teenager, and have since become a well-respected and highly sought-after artist. How does it feel to have reached this moment in your career?
Colm Dillane: I mean, you really don’t feel it in the moment. I talk to people that are more successful than me sometimes, and it’s like, yeah your life obviously changes, but the core elements don’t change that much. I’m no different of a person, even though I did, you know, the Louis Vuitton show. But, the way you see me is different. Not you, but like, the world has changed their perspective. I’m still kind of like, “Holy shit, I can’t believe this is happening.”
What do you love the most about this collection?
I like that it’s clearly KidSuper. You know, Ugg’s silhouettes, it’s a very common shoe, but I tried to add this spice to it. Obviously, everyone’s wearing them here [at Villa Royale] because they’ve been given to them, but I love the way they’ve become the statement part of an outfit. It’s pretty cool.
Did the shoes turn out how you envisioned?
You know, when you’re mocking these up it’s on a CAD. Like a vector file or a drawing, it’s very computerized so they don’t look real. And you’re like, “Ok, the all-over print, is it gonna work?” And these surprisingly look way better than the CAD. So that was really nice. I posted them on Instagram and I have real friends who know what I do, and they were like, “Dude I need these.” I’ve done a lot of stuff where they were like, “Oh, that’s cool,” but they really, really wanted these.
I was really surprised by how vibrant they are. Were you drawn to any specific hues or materials?
Yeah, I’ve painted many paintings but for this one, I knew it was going to be during Coachella, and I knew there was a summer vibe. I love the way the color scheme screams summer. And the material is rubber. There was an option to use the suede one, but [with] the fur, and Coachella, and sand — they were like, “We want to try to work with this material,” and I was like, “Yeah, it probably works better.”
What is it like seeing other people style your creations?
Not only do I like seeing it on a creative front, but, I like it being the statement piece in their outfits. I’m wearing all KidSuper but it almost works better when you don’t, because like, this shirt, with black jeans? Now you’re loving this shirt. These shoes with a black outfit? These shoes become the focus point.
I like it more when I see someone styling it and I get to talk to them. I’m like, “Wow, this is cool. Now we’re friends. What do you do?” The loudness is not only because I want it to stand out as a designer, but I like the idea of clothing being a conversation-starter. And it means something.
How long did it take to pull this collection together?
Because it was a small run, and it wasn’t made for manufacturing, and because they’re rubber, it’s a little bit quicker than usual. But these collaborations take a shit ton of time. But because it’s not mass-produced we were able to do it quicker. Had we wanted to mass produce these and sell ‘em, it’s another seven months because you have to all the retailers that will be selling it. The actual manufacturing of stuff isn’t always the slow part. It’s the distribution and how it gets sent out and stuff like that.
This one was very quick because there was a very specific thing about it. It was Coachella. There was a drop event already instilled, a vibe, a color, that made it move fast. When I’m doing other collaborations or even in KidSuper drops, I try to put on similar barriers like, “This is the concept, this is when it drops,” that can drive creativity. Because once you have no rubric, it’s like anything is possible and then you sit at your desk and you just think. But it’s hard to execute that. You need an outline. If Ugg said, “You can do anything,” it would have taken longer. Maybe it would have been cooler, maybe not. But I think constraints actually drive creativity and execution. I’m Colm Dillain and I believe in that message!
Dillane with Coi Leray.Jason Sean Weiss/BFA
Is there anything else you want the readers of Esquire to know?
I was gonna convert this UGG collab into getting my name as a DJ on the [Coachella] poster. I requested that. Didn’t happen, I got denied, but that was one of my requests.
Hey, at least you shot your shot!
I was like, “Just put it small, and I’ll DJ something!”
Source : Esquire