Kyle Ng is best known as the co-founder and designer at Brain Dead, a creative collective of artists and designers with a disruptive, graphic-led approach inspired by punk, underground comics and subcultures. He is also the persona behind Social Fabric, a new series by Red Bull TV, that explores the latest trends and their origins. We talked to him about his take on fashion and the world we live in.
Kyle, were you exposed to any subcultures in your youth?
I pretty much grew up in punk rock. Back in the days, I used to go to the Gillman Punk Club every weekend and hang out. Another huge influence was skateboarding, and both taught me a lot about style and individuality.
What’s the current state of subculture? Does it still exist?
I think what we saw as subculture, like alternative music or skateboarding is now mainstream. That being said, as these subcultures became more mainstream, new subcultures have sprouted. It's funny to me that a lot of people say subculture is dead, when in fact these people actually just got lazy and don't really seek out anything. For me, there are so many different communities and subcultures that I love and that are growing in my hometown LA - and all over the world. During my travel for the show, I was able to meet a lot of different people from subcultures that I didn't even know existed.
Is it possible to borrow elements from other cultures without turning them into a mere fashion statement?
I think anything that you take from your journeys can inspire you and become part of your own world.
Does fashion connect or disconnect people from each other?
Both. Peoples use fashion as ways to create their own tribes. That said, nowadays a lot of people don't care as much and fashion blends in more, so you can't tell as much as you used to. But it's still a combination of trying to be inclusive and exclusive.
What do we desire the most these days?
The feeling of belonging. I feel like our lives run very quick and move very fast due to technology, and we need to have experiences that make us feel like we belong and are just…alive.
How can things make us happy?
I think things are part of the human condition. As humans, we love the idea of idolizing things or creating idols. And we put importance on these things, desire them, almost worship them – therefore our live has meaning. That's not necessarily good or bad, just the way I see it.
"The things you own end up owning you“?
There's no easy answer to that, it really depends on how you view the idea of ownership or the idea of materials. Everyone's perspective on materialism is different. Some people want to buy things superficially, but then I wouldn't call a nerd, for example, materialistic just because he's buying a bunch of Star Wars toys. Yet he is owning things. I think the obsessions with materials or things are just another form of expression. Again not good or bad.
What impact would you like to make?
I would love to showcase and spotlight things that I love to a wider audience.
What bores you the most?
The status quo.
Interview Christina Rabe
Photography Chris Lomas @ Red Bull Content Pool