Lucien Clarke recently stopped by Hong Kong to promote his Dark Clarke Views label. As part of his “GOING PLACES” tour, the UK-based creative and skateboarder took his approach to skate culture and lifestyle to the city for a travel-themed installation and pop-up in Causeway Bay’s Hysan Place. Deeply involved with skateboarding since the age of 14, Clarke has worked with Palace, DC Shoes, and rewrote Louis Vuitton’s 168-year-old history books with his very own signature skate shoe.
With the rise of skateboarding in Asia and the reopening of Hong Kong, Clarke brought DCV’87 in a limited pop-up space inspired by shipping containers and an aircraft cabin. The launch saw a capsule of skate decks, hoodies, caps, jewelry, and a vinyl figure.
Linking with us after a few days of meeting with fans and exploration of the city, Clarke sat down with us to discuss where he’s taking his brand, his views on the evolution of skateboarding, and why at the core of what he does, it’s always about “lifestyle.” Those in Hong Kong can check out the “GOING PLACES” pop-up at CWB’s Hysan Place from now until the end of the month.
This is your first time in Hong Kong. How has the experience been so far?
It’s been good. Obviously, I came with my ma and that so it’s been like vacation, slash work, slash having fun really but it has been amazing. I want to come back as soon as possible really. Went to check out Ocean Park and it was a lot of fun. It’s literally just been a week since the city opened up so you didn’t need a Covid certificate or anything. But yea it’s been good and everyone’s been really nice and it’s like 23 degrees in January.
“DCV — Dominate and Create Vision. DCV stands for “Dark Clarke Views” but we’re trying to dominate the ting in my own world so that’s sort of the inside meaning.”
What went into this project and why start the tour in Asia?
A friend, Shing, reached out and actually got in touch with me about the DC Asia situation so then things led to this adventure. I obviously wanted to expand and take it to different places, so it was a good opportunity really. Never been to Hong Kong before, so thought it would be great to come. Hong Kong is an epicenter of cultures that connects the rest of Asia so it’s a great place to start. DCV — Dominate and Create Vision. DCV stands for “Dark Clarke Views” but we’re trying to dominate the ting in my own world so that’s sort of the inside meaning.
You’re in talks for being the creative director for DC Shoes in Asia?
It’s in the talks and I’d love to take on the challenge, but I am still waiting for the final confirmation. Looking forward to that one. Just going to keep it original man. Keep it core to what’s it about and get back to its roots. In the beginning, I had no idea there was even a DC over here, a unit or entity or whatever so.
“There are price points to everything and skateboarders deserve that.”
Luxury houses are all now finding ways to incorporate that skate shoe silhouette into their footwear. What do you see as the next step in luxury fashion footwear?
The reason it works is that fashion doesn’t have to be the old definition of luxury anymore innit. It doesn’t have to be the typical overpriced object and it is more focused on lifestyle. For me, luxury can be about lifestyle and the way things look, feel, texture, and that. There are price points to everything and skateboarders deserve that.
From skateboarding in your youth to now, how has the culture of skateboarding changed through your eyes?
It has changed a lot. Fashion houses have always been on it but it was done badly. The skaters didn’t have any say and it would come out terrible, and corny. Obviously, with Virgil, he made it look exactly how it should look instead of someone who has no idea bout it. I’m trying to paint a story with it but that definitely has been the change. I don’t know how it is now that V’s passed but hopefully they keep it real, I don’t know.
Do you think how the sport has received even more exposure due to the Olympics hurts or benefits the culture, or is the “street/lifestyle” aspect of skateboarding always going to be separate?
I never liked competition for skating but I respect it. It’s good for skating I suppose. You literally have skaters that are just training year-round for those big comps and prizes. Good for them innit but it’s not really my vibe. I’m on the lifestyle side of things.
“For cameras, I just went through it all man just to get into what I like.”
What are some of the things you travel with and what are your favorite cameras you bring with you?
I always bring my notepad, LV loafers, and a pack of cigs. For cameras, I just went through it all man just to get into what I like. Now all I use is the G1 Contax and Fujifilm. That’s all I use now but I had to run through it and it work out. I was always into photography but yeah G1 lifer now.
You work with quite a few brands — high and low — how does that affect what goes into DCV’87? Are you taking elements from each of the brands you’ve experienced and putting them all together into your own label?
Bit of both. It is a bit of a creative bubble for me. Sort of just making stuff that I like as a creative outlet. It’s getting interesting, but taking it to step by step really. Make more clothing but it’s more than that though, there’s photography and video production, but everything is really like an experiment.
What’s your takeaway from this trip? Any interesting findings?
We are actually finding that a lot of the people that are into the brand are from Japan. I mean this whole tour, we only started talking about it just three months ago so it was a fast turnaround. Wish I had more time with it but I think we did alright. It’s still a learning curve and I’m new to it but it’s fun. I have to keep it interesting.
DCV’87 GOING PLACES
G/F Hysan Place (Kai Chiu Road Entrance) 500 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay Hong Kong – Open until January 28, 2023 11:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m.