Fashion Talk
Dominic Sondag

Dominic Sondag

Designer
Label - s.k. manor hill

My brand appeals to consumers who like classic attire

s.k. manor hill’s designs are created by its founder Dominic Sondag and are inspired by vintage garments and classic silhouettes from around the world. Conscientious construction and attention to detail are key in each piece of apparel. All items are made in New York City using natural fibre fabrics sourced from Europe and Japan. In an interview with Kiran Sahija, the designer talks about his journey, collections, and shares some style tips for fashion enthusiasts.

Fibre2Fashion: What intrigued you towards the fashion industry and how would you illustrate your journey?

Dominic Sondag:

I was always into clothing since a baby, my mother says. I was always interested in design and art. I always worked in fashion retail starting in high school and throughout college. However, it wasn’t till my last semester of college in 2009 when I just needed elective credits to graduate from my school with my Graphic Arts Design degree that I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. While there, I enrolled exclusively in fashion classes which immediately led to an epiphany where I realised, I was meant to pursue a career in fashion design.

Even though the one semester was sufficient to satisfy my graduation requirements, I enrolled in a second semester and secured a certificate in Fashion. With this academic knowledge base in fashion, I learned the practical aspects fashion design by securing internship positions at two companies, one based in the UK (Chuc’s Dive & Mountain Shop), and the other in New York (Engineered Garments). I additionally worked during this period at a New York clothing manufacturing factory before deciding to launch my brand in 2015.

Fibre2Fashion: How would you define the aesthetics of your brand?

Dominic Sondag:

I really dislike defining my brand aesthetics; if I could, I eliminate this component of identifying where S.K. Manor Hill “fits” in the fashion world. If pressed, I would say that my brand appeals to consumers who like classic attire that is elegant, minimal, thoughtful, interesting, and detail-oriented; pieces that are inspired by a myriad of things, including historical elements, and diverse people and cultures in the world.

Fibre2Fashion: Where do you get your creative nutrition from and what fashion do you follow?

Dominic Sondag:

My sources of creative nutrition are endless. I am nourished from something as innocuous as walking the streets of New York, travelling and experiencing the many and varied cultures that exist around the globe, exploring Instagram, the internet, and most importantly vintage clothing. I look at a wide range of work, ranging from the contemporary to the high fashion world. I generally like the work being done by designers coming out of Belgium and Japan.

Fibre2Fashion: As an independent designer, what challenges have you encountered?

Dominic Sondag:

My major challenge is time allocation. I run a very small business; almost all of it (I contract my manufacturing) is done directly by me or by my father, who helps me to maintain the business structure. Business development, increased sustainability activities, improved support systems that would all benefit from increased attention and effort tend to receive inadequate attention because of the other, more immediate competing demands of the business.

Fibre2Fashion: What are your thoughts on sustainability and how do you include it in your creations?

Dominic Sondag:

I would love to be 100 per cent truly sustainable. I like to use predominately all natural fibres in my collections combined with fabrics that use natural dyes. When I’m successful in that pursuit it’s an amazing feeling (but it is not very common.) I produce 98 per cent of my collections locally, which reduces my carbon footprint and keeps the money in the local economy.

Fibre2Fashion: Can you share some insights about the New York fashion industry and what sets it apart from the European market?

Dominic Sondag:

I’ve been trying to expand my wholesale business into the European market since the inception of my brand. It has been a challenge. Some level of longevity seems necessary; my personal experience has been that the US, Japanese and Korean buyers are more willing to take a chance on a new emerging designer. European buyers seem to be more conservative and very number-driven.

Fibre2Fashion: How would you describe your clientele and what age group your brand attracts the most attention?

Dominic Sondag:

My clientele includes people who are interested in or actually working in creative, artistic spaces. The general age group is probably clustered in the 21–45-year-old range.

Fibre2Fashion: Suggest five tips to slay a basic day in style.

Dominic Sondag:

I would say,

  • Keep it classic
  • Contrasting elements
  • Mixing brands/styles
  • Be yourself
  • Be comfortable

Fibre2Fashion: What are the forthcoming plans with your label?

Dominic Sondag:

To continue to grow my brand and do it in a thoughtful way that reflects my own beliefs in sustainability and doing so in an environmentally conscious way.

What are the forthcoming plans with your label?

Published on: 17/08/2022
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