CEO of DRKN Carl Bofeldt has been named “Best CEO in the Digital Fashion Industry” and “Most Innovative CEO of the Year – Sweden” in the 2020 Business Worldwide CEO Awards. Here we learn about its history, response to the Coronavirus pandemic and plans for the future.
Visionary clothing brand DRKN has been merging gaming culture with quality streetwear for half a decade. Founded in Stockholm in 2015 and now run by Carl Bofeldt, the label has gone from strength to strength and gained a loyal following of fashion conscious gamers in the process.
The brand produces a range of quality apparel and accessories, from sweatshirts , outerwear and t-shirts to pants and hats, along with extras including skateboards, gym bags and stickers. All DRKN apparel is designed and made from scratch at the HQ in Stockholm, using only premium materials. Customers are guaranteed the highest quality garments, thanks to the team’s attention to detail and commitment to excellence – the raw materials are lovingly cut and sewn on site, giving the peace of mind that doesn’t come with mass produced items from third party suppliers. The overall effect is one that encapsulates the balance between the rough and the refined, with high quality products embellished with edgy technical details for everyday wear.
At the heart of everything DRKN does is a genuine passion for gaming. This is a brand that was borne out of a love for computer games (including Call of Duty, Warzone, Rainbow Six/6Siege, The Division and CS:GO, which was the first game the company worked with) and is clearly about fashion that’s made “by gamers, for gamers”. In just a short period of time the company has become a leader in its field, and is now well on the way to becoming the go-to brand in its category.
Among the most popular products right now is the Call of Duty® Warzone collection, made in collaboration with Activision. The range features a special edition long sleeved t shirt with a map of Verdansk, two Warzone Legacy Hoodies featuring a unique ghost print and new regular fit t shirts. All are made in super soft, 100% brushed cotton for maximum comfort and quality.
Products coming soon include a new jacket for 6Siege, which will appear in the game trailer before it has actually been released in real life, and during Autumn will come the launch of achievement based products, which only become available once players reach a certain level.
Carl and his team work closely with connected businesses, collaborating with the gaming industry to release branded apparel for new releases. By joining forces, the collaborators are able to achieve a larger market reach and achieve targets that wouldn’t be possible otherwise – whilst also building trust among consumers.
The company operates solely online and has no physical stores, which adds to the quality and choice available to its fan base. This is particularly important when you consider the target audience – avid gamers who want to access quality products from the comfort of their own homes. Operating in a digital world saves today’s consumers time and hassle, whilst also allowing for online relationships to be forged – another important element of the gaming community.
Building Relationships Around the World
With over 30 million players around the world regularly logging on to Call of Duty alone, the gaming industry is a highly lucrative one that’s set to top $159.3 billion by the end of 2020. But although there are so many players, there’s a strong sense of community to be found online too. Gaming brings people together, across diverse backgrounds, ages and experience levels; all uniting to do something they love.
Online gaming communities vary from small one off interactions to lifelong friendships, with clan networks, forums and huge real life events along the way. They play an important role in millions of peoples lives, especially so in recent times when we have been forced to spend more time alone in our homes. For many, online gaming has represented an invaluable link to the outside world, allowing them to stay connected with friends in a fun and engaging way.
As you would expect, DRKN has a strong social media presence, as well as an influencer program working with big names in the community. There’s also a strong emphasis on the future. The data that the company collects both prior to and post production creates a number of opportunities for sustainability, and they connect with second hand markets to ensure their products are enjoyed for many years to come, not just the short term. Technology also allows for positive integration with customers and prescription as well as offering added value with things like game assets, API connections, haptic and more.
Unlike other fashion brands DRKN doesn’t work with seasons, instead focusing on a strong base collection that can be personalised. All products feature a velcro patch system which gives customers the ability to customise their garments for a totally unique look that makes their purchase feel even more special.
Helping Those Who Help Others
Due to the significant shortage of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic, DRKN is collaborating with Metathreads and Ubisoft to help support their community, economy and care staff. The company is making special gaming themed masks featuring limited edition designs, including Six Siege based on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6. The three layer masks come in two sizes and include a PM 2.5 filter with Polygiene’s Viraloff® treated fabric, for supreme comfort, fit and protection. All masks are FDA registered and have been approved for general and healthcare use.
The profits of all masks purchased will be used to fund the production of two more masks, which will in turn be donated to hospitals, medical services and other key workers. This is a further example of how the close knit gaming community comes together in times of trouble, and at the time of writing over 33,000 masks have been donated.
It’s often said that the key to a successful business is passion, and that’s clearly something that Carl has in spades. He explained how his enthusiasm for gaming culture has brought him to where he is today, and how it will remain so throughout the long term future of the brand:
“Our vision grew out of a collective passion for gaming and computer culture which remains the core inspiration for the brand. For every collection we aim to build upon that legacy. DRKN encapsulates the balance between the rough and refined, combining high quality fabrics with technical details to ease our everyday adventures.”
For further information about DRKN visit the website at https://drkn.com/