The Founder Of Del Core Discusses Building A Brand And Creating A Heritage

Lindsay Judge   |   13-06-2024

Just three years ago, in 2021, Del Core emerged as an unknown brand when it presented its first collection at Milan Fashion Week.

This unexpected yet disruptive brand was founded by German designer Daniel Del Core, whose career started out at Gucci, working under Alessandro Michele. As a young, independent brand, starting out was always going to be a challenge, but one that Daniel was willing to take on. His vision was to create something that went beyond the norm, offering unexpected designs, silhouettes and materials. Today, Del Core has become a great success. With three stores now open globally and several impressive red-carpet moments (Amal Clooney is a fan, as well as Florence Pugh, Priyanka Chopra and Cara Delevingne), and this young brand seems to be going from strength to strength. Here, we find out more about the journey so far and what to expect looking forward with founder Daniel Del Core. 

Tell us a little about the current vision and direction of the brand.

We started to build the company in 2019, our first show was in February 2021, so its been around three years and I think the identity of the brand is quite recognisable and clear and with every collection, we define it a little bit more. I try to work on the evolution of the brand while being true to myself and sticking to the values that step by step, I am including in the collections. Im trying to push this vision as far as I can, think about what I like and dont like, and be present throughout the process. 

It’s only been a few years since you launched the brand but you have made great progress already – as a new brand, how do you compete with those who have many years of heritage?

This is for sure our biggest challenge. I think the difference between us and other brands is that we are a new, independent brand, and we popped up quite quickly. We are not part of a bigger group, so in some senses, we are limited, but in other ways, we have more freedom. Its about trying to find the right balance and push that forward to reach our customers in the way they are looking for. It can seem very simple, but when youre a brand that is focusing perhaps more on a niche market rather than something more commercial it can sometimes be difficult. 

How would you define the Del Core customer today?

I think our customer is someone who wants to be seen, a woman who is true to herself. I like the personalities of the women who wear our clothes. They are women who have successful careers and a certain type of lifestyle. They are not women who have minimal tastes, and its beautiful to see their personalities stand out. They love fashion and they are looking for something new and different, and that is very beautiful. I think the red carpet element to our brand helps because we have some amazing women who choose to wear our designs. Its not something that we push, its very organic. 

What are you currently working on?

Im a bit of a multitasker, and currently, there is a lot going on! This week, we are officially opening our boutique in New York. Im working on the show thats happening in September. We will release Abstract 5 soon, our pre-collection – its a wardrobe of our womens lives, more day-wear pieces than red carpet. There are some other exciting things in the pipeline for next year, too, but we will know more about that soon, and I cross my fingers that everything goes well. 

What can you tell us about the Fall/Winter 24 collection?

I think what was very interesting about this collection and the show was the inspiration because I was talking about nature and thats something thats very close to my heart. I have spoken a lot about this idea of mutant glamour and an evolution and I think what was nice about this collection is that it was an evolution of this. My concepts are very often tied to trips that I have been on and I get inspired by different places, but for this show, I was more focused on the woman itself and the process of uncovering her. So the first few looks of the show were a little more covered and then as it progressed, there were more revealing pieces, so it almost represented the lifestyle of a butterfly and how it reveals itself. It was very fun and I think it also allows people to slowly understand the brand and get closer to my inspirations.  This is actually another challenge: to really express your inspiration and get that message across to the clients. I think this last show was a big step towards that goal. 

Now, with the Abstract 5 collection, it was more of a challenge for me because we needed pieces that were more like the basic products for our store. So, I wanted to create a clearer line between the pret-a-porter and the couture, a more elaborate part of the brand. So in that collection, you will see more of the essence of what the product for me is when I talk about my collections. 

What can you tell us about your choices of fabrics and materials?

I like to take something thats maybe a little more classic, like classic beautiful silk or cashmere, and then give it a bit of a twist. Mixing fabrics that are different, using fabrics in different ways, and controlling them in ways to create sculptural pieces. I think the challenge is to start with high-quality materials and manipulate them. For example, in the last show, there was cashmere, which we treated in a rough way so it looks a little more alive, almost like felt, and then you touch it and are surprised by the softness of the fabric – its unexpected. 

Can you share a little about the brand in the Middle East and whats in the pipeline for this year?

Dubai is one of the most important places to be as a brand today. What was really beautiful for me is that when I started the brand I immediately got the support of the people there. The press coverage is always great, people are really willing to see designs with a twist. There is a respect for freshness and a brand thats open to experimenting, and which was something I was very surprised but happy about. I worked in Beirut for six or seven months and I knew that people are very friendly and welcoming and always positive which is a super beautiful characteristic and I have to say it was really nice to experience. 

We have started to do trunk shows and to present our products directly to the customers in the region which was really important for me to do because I like to have a close connection to my customers. There is still a story to tell which can be a challenge but I like that and by connecting with customers on a personal basis, I can tell that story, and so far, they are very happy to be part of it. 

How did you get your passion for design? 

I was always very interested in sketching, painting, and sculpting. Im from the Black Forest in the South of Germany, but I have Italian origins. When I was growing up my parents challenged me a lot to do different activities from sports, to camping, to art – they wanted to always keep us busy. I wanted to learn Italian because my grandfather was Italian and we had many vacations in the south of Italy, in Puglia, where hes from and that was my first introduction to Italy. I went there more I started to learn more about art, ceramics and sculptures and it became a passion, but in terms of fashion I really didnt even know what Gucci was – my town in Germany is really small! Then one of my teachers recommended me for a place at a university in Milan, I got a scholarship, and I started studying fashion. My passion for art got really strong, and I visited museums all around Italy. I really like to understand things, especially if I dont like something, I want to understand the whybehind it, so there is a lot of research and thought into what I do. 

What inspires you?

It is a mix of everything. I have a lot of friends working in the music field, so I look a lot at what theyre doing, and we have a lot of conversations. I like to go out into the world, I go to the jungle for 10 days at a time and explore new places, look at the colours and shapes, and try to understand the place that Im at. I try to collect photos and things I discover, and then I bring it all back to my team and we start to create something from there. Obviously, architecture is very important to me as well, so I look at that too, especially the differences in styles of architecture from different places. When I visited Dubai for the first time, for example, I was completely blown away by what could be done in such a short amount of time, and then, when comparing that with the old part of the city, the contrast was so interesting. There is a really deep history in the country which is amazing, but then you also have these incredible new buildings. 

Whats the biggest lesson youve learnt throughout your career?

Stick to your own mind, do what you think is right and try to challenge yourself and thats when the lesson comes. Sometimes you need to go with the flow, and sometimes you do not. You have a dream and expectations, but what you need to understand is that you have to work a lot to achieve even a small part of that dream, you need to be prepared. If you have your own company you need to be able to multitask and to have an overall vision and understanding of where you want to go and what you want to do.  

How important to you is sustainability as a designer and as a brand? 

For me, sustainability is always a very tricky topic. We have to do our best to be as sustainable as we can, but I would be lying if I said that its possible to have a completely sustainable company. I think it should be a goal that we want to arrive at, and we should try to do that as much as we can. I love couture because you can be really sustainable with it because it is artisanal work, and thats also why I push so much to create couture pieces, but obviously, the industry, in general, has many issues when it comes to sustainability as many others do, and we have to try our best to do whats right for our planet. After all, this is our home and I think we need to pay it respect and be conscious of our actions.

Long term, where do you see your brand? 

The most challenging thing for me was positioning the brand in the right place, which I think happened in the right way. I just hope I can keep that position for the brand long term. I hope to create more workspace for other people, have a bigger team, make better products, and create our own history and maybe someday a heritage. We are a little plant that grows with time, and in the future, I hope to be a big tree. 

What would be your message to your customers in the Middle East?

The thing that surprised me the most about the Middle East is that people are really curious about the brand. I hope that will continue, and I promise to try to create the most beautiful gowns and clothes for them. Its a journey that we all have to do together.