How Designer OJK Stays Inspired Even in Isolation
Words by Bella Engalla
Meet Johan Kyle Ong. A 18-year-old fashion designer disrupting the Philippine landscape. CONVO decided to interview Johan to learn about how he's been coping with quarantine and some tips he has for upcoming creators!
Q. For those that don’t know you yet, can you give a 10-second elevator pitch on who you are?
A. Hello! My name is Johan Kyle, I’m a filmmaker and soon-to-be recording artist but you most likely know me for my eponymous clothing line OJK.
Q. How are you doing? People have had many different experiences with quarantine. What has your’s been like?
A. My life is very busy so I found the seclusion cathartic. I’ve spent a lot of time marinating in my ideas and reflecting on the future. Although the current situation is also very scary and difficult for my family and millions of others, so I’m just as excited for things to get better as everyone else.
Q. Describe your brand in one word. How does your description reflect in your projects?
A. Me. Once you get to know me, you’d see how my personality reflects through my clothes. I cannot think of a better way to describe OJK other than myself.
I think a lot of creatives can relate with the fact that there’s only so much inspiration you can get in isolation. Do you find that it’s harder to be productive now or have you found some unexpected creative influences?
A. I’ve found myself getting more inspired in quarantine. I’m usually very impulsive with my ideas but with COVID19, I’ve had the chance to thoroughly think things through before moving ahead. The more time you give to a project, the greater the quality it has. Some feel that they inability to actually do things make quarantine unproductive, but when a concept grows stronger, that is time well spent.
Q. Can you walk me through your creative process?
A. I don’t have a formula to coming up with ideas, I just do what I feel.
Q. From the moment you were recognized by Poor Taste, your personal brand has only grown. Has it been more difficult to maintain your success or keep up with the times?
A. It was difficult in the beginning because I felt more pressured to prove myself, but the longer I stayed here, the more comfortable I’ve become. I don’t feel the need to prove to people that I’m successful, if I am happy doing what I love then that is success.
Q. Seeing that our magazine is meant to reach creatives around the world, what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs to build a successful brand?
A. Try to maintain high standards for everything you do and never compromise your vision.
Q. What’s next for OJK in a post-COVID world?
A. I wouldn’t wanna spoil the surprise!
JULY 19, 2020
This interview was conducted by Gigi Engalla
All images courtesy of OJK