Colm Dillane on kickabouts, KidSuper, and String Theory 

Colm Dillane on kickabouts, KidSuper, and String Theory 

by Ollie Cox
8 min

Ahead of our interview, the fear of being faced with a jaded Colm Dillane battered by the brutality of cross-continent Fashion Week jet lag arose. These concerns are put to bed as a spritely and relatively rested character appears on the other end of the call, dialling in from his New York apartment. Despite the early morning appointment to accommodate the time difference, his voice is settled, speaking with a neutral cadence, stemming from a series of completed projects in the run-up to our conversation.

One such feat was the KidSuper Fall/Winter 2024 runway show (but we’ll get to that later), and the other was the launch of KidSuper World in Williamsburg. The move marked a significant milestone for the brand, relocating from its iconic blue storefront to a 10,000-square-foot space after almost two years of planning. “It’s never-ending here at the KidSuper paradise,” he jokes, a response telling his optimistic approach to his work.

Known as a clothing label, first and foremost, KidSuper is the moniker for Dillane’s multifaceted approach, which sees the designer paint, draw, and present art shows. While a worldwide name now, it was birthed in his parent’s basement and has since blossomed into a creative tour de force. 

@kidsuper ©

Initially, we arranged to meet in the immediate aftermath of KidSuper’s Fall/Winter 2024 show, which cooked up a storm during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, bridging the worlds of fashion, art, and music in a jam-packed runway display. The long days and sleepless nights caught up with the designer, leading to us rescheduling for a later date. When we do catch up, he’s back in full form, firing on all cylinders, and excited to speak about his recent show and what the future holds for the KidSuper brand. 

For his most recent fashion show, it was important for the designer to craft something transparent and centred around digestible ideas. “For this one, it started off with that idea of the unravelling look. And obviously, that had the thread, and we were brainstorming,” he explained. “Everyone does these tricks to go viral, but what I loved about the unravelling [was that] it was very tangible. There was no CGI or no science to it. You could understand how it happened.” Instead of tricks, we saw a live ballet performance from the principle dancer of the Bayerisches Staatsballett, Julian Mackay. This performance was the product of exchanged Instagram messages between Dillane and the dancer, which resulted in the casting. The approach reflects Colm Dillane’s open mindset to collaboration, which often uses social media to connect with creative minds. The designer mutes his phone midway through our conversation, following a series of repetitive WhatsApp chimes, before continuing to talk about the show. 

The title of the KidSuper Fall/Winter 2024 show, “String Theory,” is again telling of Dillane’s approach. In case you didn’t know, String Theory is a theoretical idea in the realm of physics that postulates that the building blocks of nature are not particles but strings. The theory has never been proven, but struck a chord with Colm. “It is this unproven [theory] that I am constantly committed towards. We’re always attempting to figure it out or describe, [or] connect what all of our different dimensions [are into] one. Be it my love for soccer, my love for art, or my love for music. That’s what these fashion shows have become for me: a way to collaborate on all of those different fronts.”

It’s surprising to hear a creative talking about scientific theory in relation to their work, but for Dillane, the two have always intersected. The artist and designer studied mathematics at New York University, which has equipped him with the skills to deal with the challenges of running a brand. When asked if his knowledge of numbers is something he applies to running the label, he half-jokes before exclaiming, “I’m not doing equations on a day-to-day basis.” 

Beyond mathematics, football, or soccer, as it is known to Colm, has remained constant in his life and helped him to form life-long connections. “I moved a lot as a child, so [soccer] was always my constant. So I would go to a new city, and I’d join a soccer team, and those [guys] would be my instant friends. I love the idea of the comradery over one item and one goal, and everyone is from different places, and you can go everywhere across the world and play it.”

It wasn’t just his immediate teammates the sport allowed him to connect with, but also its megastars, who shared a love for the beautiful game. “Dinho was my true God because when he played, there was so much joy and swagger and music and everything he did.” For Fall/Winter 2024, KidSuper explored creativity in its clothing alongside wider cultural moments. Between on-brand graphic-heavy topcoats and puffer jackets, Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho Gaúcho took to the runway, donning a mob-style overcoat and his signature backwards Kangol hat. 

Dillane edges up from his seat and speaks with enthusiasm when discussing the football ace. “He could dance when he celebrated. He was such a creative, free-flowing soccer player. I was like, ‘This is how I need to live life. This is how I need to be with KidSuper.’ His personality was what I wanted to be, so it determined a lot of my decision-making, and that’s why, I hope, you can see so much joy and creativity and love in KidSuper, and that’s how I play soccer as well, so yeah it was everything.” Long before walking on the runway, Ronaldinho was part of the KidSuper brand, which Dillane is keen to emphasise. The midfielder featured on graphics and early product tags, contributing to the sense of a full circle moment. 

A week before the presentation Dillane teased the theme on Instagram, performing some killer keepy uppies with a ball of string at the KidSuper HQ. The crossovers from the soccer pitch to fashion shows are clear in Dillane’s creative approach, which sees him apply a fourfourtwo mentality to fashion. “I think there’s a competitiveness towards one goal, which I think is very much what I try to [do]. What makes soccer so amazing and so easy to get into a flow state is there’s a very clear goal and initiative, and everybody knows their roles,” he explains before continuing, “All the bullshit that you have gets left outside, and when you’re playing, it’s like everyone can benefit. You can’t do it alone. This is our goal and our mission, and we’re competitive towards something. I think that [is something] I try to include in how I attack fashion.” 

As part of his design-meets-art attack on the runway, Dillane weaved music and fashion with a multifaceted sleight of hand. The show opened with a live violin performance before progressing into a punchy, hip-hop track featuring UK rap mogul Giggs, who he describes as one of “the fucking coolest guys ever.”

When the legendary rap-meets-fashion link-up comes up in the conversation, Colm speaks with reverence and rejuvenated energy. The partnership arose organically, with Giggs first appreciating the KidSuper brand, which has long been a favourite of the hip-hop community (previous wearers have included Young Thug and Mac Miller), before collaborating professionally. “He came to the shop in Brooklyn, and he knew a little bit about KidSuper but not a tonne, and he was shooting a music video with Dave East, and they all came over, and I think it was serendipitous. We kind of hit it off, me and Giggs, and he’s such a cool dude and so down. He just loved the clothes. We kept in touch and would always Facetime,” he reveals. 

The FaceTime calls blossomed into what became an integral part of the show. “I was working with a producer at the time producing the whole thing, and you know there are violins involved, and I’m like dude, I’ve got this idea for Giggs, and I sent it to him. Within a day or two, he was like BAM, here’s the song back,” Colm explains. Now, what was originally a track made for the show has developed into a fully-fledged record. “Yeah, he got Quavo on it, which is crazy and now it’s a real song that happened from KidSuper at Paris Fashion Week. I’m assuming we’re going to call it Paris Fashion Week or something.” You heard it here first, folks. 

This collaborative approach was extended into the clothing seen on the runway, including a partnership with Canada Goose and the Brooklyn Nets, where the designer applied his colourful designs to premium outwear pieces. While undoubtedly a symbol of the brand’s commercial success, these collaborations effortlessly slotted into KidSuper’s runway offering. “For this one, [we were] more inclined to put it on the runway, and I was like “Is this going to work?” and it actually worked incredibly and was a perfect blend for us because we had these elevated moments, and at the heart, KidSuper is kind of a streetwear brand, and those moments gave a wearability to the collection.”

Colm Dillane is a daring creative mind who remains unfazed despite his brand’s increasing kinetic energy, bouncing between ideas much like the theoretical strings which informed his most recent runway show. For most people, this would lead to a sense of nervousness and overwhelm. But for Colm, this is not the case. “People ask me if I’m nervous. I’m not nervous when I’m prepared.”

Cover Image: @kidsuper

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