We’ve taken time with designer and creative director Terry Shin to learn more about the true essence of BLACKMERLE. Explore the mysterious world of BLACKMERLE with Vathir in our exclusive interview.
For the full experience, we recommend to play the accompanied noise while reading. Enjoy.
BLACKMERLE NOISE – INCARNATION
When and how did your interest for designing begin?
I was always into clothes ever since a child. I started customizing clothes when I realized they lack certain details that I wanted. Then it naturally led me to start designing clothes to 100% fit my wants & needs. I design clothes because I want to wear them myself.
What is the origin story of BLACKMERLE?
BLACKMERLE [blăk-mûrl] – A dark coated dog with irregular streaks and speckles.
It is a persona I created to reflect my inner-self. The current collection is dated as A.C. 001. It is short for Anno Canis, the year of dog (as a play-off of A.D. 2017). I want this season to be the true birth of the BLACKMERLE and aim to examine deeper and deeper into what goes around the dog’s head in upcoming collections.
How would you describe the core essence of the dog?
The dog is a non-conformist and a day-dreamer. It always stands against the norm and questions the pre-defined boundaries. The dog is also a maximalist. It believes in the motto of “more is more.”
BLACKMERLE NOISE – RECRUITMENT
You’re based partially in Vancouver and partially in Seoul, how does that affect the influences of your work?
Being able to travel and be influenced by different culture is definitely a synergistic experience. It really helps me to stay outside the box.
Your collection A.C. 001 has a very interesting fusion of various aesthetics. What are some of the most influential elements that have shaped this collection?
The vision I had for this collection can be beautifully summarized into two words, “military grunge.” I wanted to incarnate the dog into a true Dadaist by accepting values of Dadaism, particularly inspired by the work of Tristan Tzara. With that attitude in mind, I visualized the Dadaist BLACKMERLE in a post-apocalyptic setting. Another very important motif is functionality & versatility in every pieces that I design.
What can you tell us about the poem present on the pieces of A.C. 001?
The “Tzara Poetry” detailed on each garment acts as a manifesto of BLACKMERLE. It represents the ethos of BLACKMERLE and is a constant reminder of the values and influences of Dada. Myself starred in this “ritual” to make the poem and you can watch the short film below.
A.C. 001 encompasses several mediums of creative expression – all from the actual clothing pieces, to the music, imagery and dadaist poetry. Can you tell us a bit about what the process is like in your works of creating a collection?
The noise that we created in collaboration with my friend, Jashan Makan, was actually the first thing we created after conceptualizing. I wanted to capture the emotions I had when I was inspired. It was a very critical step to constantly listen and remind myself of those emotions while developing the collection. Similarly, when I create a collection, I first conceptualize through intangibles such as the music or a concept video before moving into designing actual tangible garments.
What does your creative process look like?
I daydream a lot and spend my day researching about the most random topics. The most recent inspiration I had was on the A.I. works by Ray Kurzweil, which my next collection will be based on. I focus on the “attitude” a particular theme or motif gives off and build the vibe of a collection from there.
What are you passionate about aside from design and fashion?
I am into music, particularly the industrial techno scene. Also, I love films. I enjoy creative directing and producing for film projects.
BLACKMERLE NOISE – SALVATION
What are you currently working with at the studio?
I am working on my next collection, collaging inspirations and sketching ideas. A.C. 002 is titled “To Athens.”
What has been your biggest challenge in your work with BLACKMERLE?
It is and always will be incarnating and translating what’s in my head into a tangible goods that are both functional and versatile. It is the biggest challenge but I triumph over it every time.
What has been your most notable memory in your work with BLACKMERLE?
It would be my debut runway during Vancouver Fashion Week FW17. It was a really cool experience being able to combine all my interests from styling to creative directing. You can watch the runway video here.
In what direction do you think you will take your brand next?
I will continue solidifying the persona of the dog and push my vision of military grunge. It will always be about expressing the BLACKMERLE’s views on intriguing philosophical questions or stories.
BLACKMERLE [blăk-mûrl] – A dark coated dog with irregular streaks and speckles. BLACKMERLE is a menswear brand evolving around their vision of “military grunge.” The designer and creative director, Terry Shin, always emphasizes functionality and versatility in design. Each piece of the collection manifests BLACKMERLE’s signature exaggerated yet functional detail that can be played around to be worn in multiple silhouettes. The designer continues to push boundaries to innovate in the niche between Avant-Garde & technical design.