Getting Virgil Abloh, Marcelo Burlon, Yoon Ahn and Sita Abellan around a table isn’t a small feat, especially not during Paris Fashion Week, the most important and busiest week of the year for the fashion crowd. But DJ and fashion figure Peggy Gou has always had the credibility that allowed her to navigate between fashion’s most elite.
It’s resulted her in gaining over 580,000 followers on Instagram, who come to Gou’s page to see her in the newest fashion — most recently she starred in Nike’s global campaign for its recently released Air Max 720 — DJing sets around the world and at far-flung tropical destinations.
Having a fan base of that has given her the ability to speak directly to her audience, which has attracted the eye of New Guards Group, the Italian contemporary accelerator of popular street-luxe brands including Off-White, Palm Angels, Heron Preston and Marcelo Burlon. Like it works with its other brands, New Guards Group will head up the production and distribution side of KIRIN.
With the brand itself, Gou fills a big void for high-end women’s streetwear that goes against the often used "pink it and shrink it" method applied by big sportswear and streetwear brands tackling womenswear. For KIRIN this means more less typical streetwear, more high fashion steeped in relevant references, as seen with the bold colorways found on vinyl trenches, sliced and track jackets, mythological Korean motifs and club culture graphics printed across workwear two-pieces and baseball jersey-kimono hybrids as well as a twisted gun print designed by Jae Huh that takes a stance against gun violence.
Speaking to Highsnobiety, Gou explains the intersection between music and fashion, her partnership with New Guards Group and the wider plans for her business going forward.
For your first collection, how have you approached fashion? How was it different than your approach to music?
Peggy Gou: I’ve always been into fashion, before DJ’ing I had a fashion background. It’s actually very similar to my approach to music as I want to be eclectic, I want my music to be energetic and happy and I want this to be reflected in my fashion brand too.
How was your partnership with New Guards Group established?
Peggy: KIRIN was able to happen because of Virgil [Abloh] and New Guards Group’s Andrea [Grilli] and Davide [De Giglio]. I met them at the Mytheresa x OFF-WHITE event where they approached me and asked me if I wanted to create a brand with them. All they needed was my vision. They were there since the beginning to support my direction, they got me a great team who have helped me every step.
This was very important as I have a full-time job as a DJ and producer. So even though I always thought about starting a brand, I just didn’t have enough time to think about putting a team together, learn about the production or the whole process behind a fashion label.
What inspirations did you draw upon for you debut collection?
Peggy Gou: I’m a person who gets inspiration from many different things. From sound, the different artists and musicians that I like as well as the exhibitions I visit. This collection has a lot of different inspirations. I wanted to have a good presence of mythological Korean animals, I also love color-blocks which are in the collection too.
What’s your wider vision for the business going forward?
Peggy Gou: I’m a person who always wants more and better. In fashion or in music. I’m a person who always looks back and thinks, "I can do better than this and I will do better than this." I am already looking forward to being better and having an improved output for the next one. My goal for KIRIN is not to be just a fashion brand but a lifestyle [one as well]. I would like it to reflect everything that interests me as a person. Expand my vision.