Dominnico, the millennial luxury brand beloved by pop stars
Domingo Rodríguez is a perfectionist. This becomes evident backstage at his latest runway show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, held in early November. A force of energy swirls around him, as the 24-year-old Spanish designer behind the Dominnico brand makes sure models are dressed and ready to strut the runway wearing pastel-hued tulle dresses from his Harajuku Kids collection. The collection was well received by the international press. And later, in a more quiet setting, the fashion designer, courted by pop artists, met with FashionNetwork.com to talk about his journey here.
“The collection is a step towards a more sophisticated woman, with more loose-fitting silhouettes. We kept the brand’s classic elements, such as the use of leather and fur, whilst introducing 3D [printing], laser cutting and innovative fabrics,” said Domingo Rodríguez.
Inspired by '90s club kids and a trip to Japan three years ago, the collection also includes elements from “the new era of social media, that sort of immediacy that is being championed by digital influencers like Lil Miquela and Ruby Gloom and audiovisual artists like Six N. Five.”
He first unveiled Harajuku Kids on the Samsung EGO runway during the last edition of MBFW Madrid, and the collection won the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent award. The win gave him the opportunity to travel to Tbilisi, Georgia, to stage a larger showcase in front of an international audience.
From ironer to Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift
His brand has come a long way since its inception three years ago. From a support programme for emerging talent in Budapest to be sponsored by the Alicante Fashion Week, before working as an ironer on the 080 Barcelona Fashion Week, which he ended up joining thanks to a pop-up store. Then came a big break and international success. “In my case, the inexplicable happened thanks to social media,” he said.
Beyond his background in haute couture, Dominnico's talent lies in understanding how today’s world works. “This is not only about someone wearing your clothes. My [success] has been built on hard work, working with the media and magazines on a daily basis, meeting people,” he said. Understanding the codes of this new digital-first world has been key.
“For example, I’m happy to be featured on Glamour, it provides advertising. But if Dulceida wears one of my designs, I get 400 new followers. If Rosalía, does it, I get 600. They have that kind of following. Afterwards you need to distinguish between those who follow you because they are their fans, and those who are in your target group,” he explained.
The next step was to become a designer to the stars. “I think that [in order to succeed] in the fashion industry, you need to have a niche. You have to study it and know what you have to do [to nurture it],” he said. He knows what he’s talking about, after all, he managed to get the support of one of the youth icons, early on. “She was my idol. It was very important for my brand to reflect that, adapting to our current needs,” he added about the dialogue of maximalist and minimalist influences that runs between the designer and the singer.
What has he been up to since turning his dreams into reality? He said work has continued at his atelier, where things have stayed busy due to his celebrity partnerships. In February, for example, he designed hot pink stage outfits for music artist Rosalía. And this sort of work will continue “soon” with Taylor Swift, he revealed. “At the end of the day, when you create fashion you generate an impact on music artists, and you end up understanding them, their codes and what they want to express at a particular moment in time.”
Beyond the spotlight, the brand caters for a well-heeled audience of 35 to 45 year olds. “I work with Cratacos, the best luxury fabrics house in Spain. If you disassemble my clothes, you can see that they are top quality. All pieces are exquisite and if I do a tulle dress, it won’t be a costume,” he said. This year, the brand has lived on collaborations and the footwear range, which is now distributed in 40 countries via a partnership with Art Company Shoes. New products, including high heel boots, will launch in January.
Accessories are also key for Dominnico. “Currently, I’m working closely together with Virgil Abloh’s leather goods designer at Louis Vuitton and Off-White. In a few months this could be taken to new heights,” he announced. And there are plans to drop the use of animal fur.
“My background is in luxury goods, animal fur and bespoke projects, so [fur] was something I believed to be very aspirational. But the next collection will be cruelty free,” he said. Who knows if his designs will be presented in Paris in the future. “I think [Paris] will be ideal for me in a few years, but I still have a long way to go.” He wants to further improve quality and enhance his techniques, he adds, summing up a formular that will almost certainly taking him to the big leagues.
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