When tropical house sensation Kygo (Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll) first stepped onto the dance scene in 2013, he propelled his career from college producer to global stage sensation thanks to viral, piano-infused remixes of songs like Marvin Gaye‘s “Sexual Healing.” Now in 2016, the 24 year-old, classically trained pianist is ready for his next challenge: fashion designer.
“I didn’t want to wear anything that I was selling if it had big logos,” Kygo tells Billboard in an exclusive interview. “I didn’t think it was cool for me to walk around with a huge Kygo logo on myself.”
Hoping to offer cooler clothing options he’d want to wear, the DJ teamed up with a design crew in his native Norway to start Kygo Life, his main apparel and electronics line, along with Kygo Vibe, a sporty-meets-urban collection. Pieces from both lines, available on his new online store, include a men’s relaxed-fit hoodie made of 94 percent bamboo viscose ($147), an olive green women’s T-shirt with a white palm tree on the front ($79) and black headphones ($226).
Billboard Dance spoke with Kygo, who just closed out the Olympics with a stunning performance of “Carry Me,” about his new business endeavor, finding inspiration in Yeezy collections, and his search for the perfect T-shirt.
Where did your artistic design influence come from?
I find inspiration in what artists and regular people on the street wear, but I’m also very influenced by what I like to wear since I style myself.
What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
For me, fit is very important. When I go into a store and find a T-shirt that’s well-designed with a great fabric but the fit is all wrong, the T-shirt is ruined for me. We’ve been working on making small, super fine adjustments to our T-shirts and sweaters ensuring they fit perfectly.
How did you select the fabric and materials for the clothing?
Well, the guy I’m working with in Norway has done a couple of other clothing brands before and he recommended I try out some different fabrics. Some of my favorite T-shirts in the collection are made with 70 percent bamboo or organic cotton — both materials just make the shirt super soft.
Which designers influence you?
I don’t really know too many designers. I like a lot of what Kanye West has does with Yeezy, but I think it’s a bit too, how you say, elevated; it’s a little bit too special. Like he’s trying to make something that’s kind of a little bit too cool sometimes. I find some inspiration in what they’re doing, but I want to make Kygo Life more accessible to regular people on the street.
By accessible do you mean cost-wise or mass production-wise?
I guess both. But for me, quality is extremely important and you need to pay more for quality if you want it. Yeezy has the quality, but the design is sometimes too “out there” for regular people on the street to wear. So I’d like to strike a balance.
Your line has men’s and women’s wear. How is your design approach different when designing for either gender?
The men’s collection and the women’s collection incorporates the same ideas and design aesthetic, but they fit differently. I started off with the men’s collection and then designed the women’s, asking designers, my girlfriend, and my sisters for advice on fit.
What is an example of men’s design was incorporated into the women’s collection?
I have a T-shirt with a paintbrush stroke on the back from my Cloud Nine album cover, and we offer the same one for men and women. For sweaters, we were playing around with unisex concepts, like making them a bit longer in the back and shorter in the front.
Your line has a distinct Scandinavian vibe.
Definitely has a Scandinavian look — kind of simple, elegant; like what I like to wear myself. Right now the collection is kind of basic because I wanted to introduce people to T-shirts and sweaters with the right fit, but I’ll play around with more designs in the future.
How can your music be felt in the products?
Pretty literally. One of my T-shirts has a piano-inspired design on the front, another one has my album cover on the back, and then, of course, we’ve created headphones. That process has been incredibly involved because we keep adjusting the sound so it’s perfect. We’ve done a lot of samples on the headphones and have been sending notes back like, “Make the bass a little bit lower.” Small adjustments like that.