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Hook LDN Q&A

We spoke with UKNY boss Zak Biddu on the launch of his new eyewear label

  • Lewis Munro
  • 6 June 2017

HOOK LDN is an East London based independent British label that’s pushing the boundaries of eyewear with intelligent construction and refined aesthetic approach when it comes to creating frames.

Taking inspiration from London’s unique cultural landscape and iconic musical history the brands unique designs have helped to amass a large celebrity following including David Guetta, Julie Adenuga, Nicole Scherzinger and Raleigh Ritchie amongst others.

To find out more on the brand we caught up with UKNY boss and founder Zak Biddu:

Hi Zak, You initially started out in the music business, how did you end up transitioning into the world of glasses and accessories?

I’ve been an artist manager, worked at record labels, produced 100’s of concerts and promoted festivals for the past 20 years and was curious to challenge myself, apply those skillsets, experiences and relationships to the creation of a new brand outside of music. I then started to investigate various consumer products and felt eyewear was an opportunity.

What initial steps did you take in creating the brand?

I worked with a design agency who shared my vision, creating a “Brand Bible” covering the look and feel of the brand, logos, packaging, marketing materials, imagery, brand rules. Once this was defined I collaborated with an eyewear designer on the actual products, who took the Brand Bible and applied it to our frames.

Did you have any previous experience within fashion and accessories beforehand?

None at all.

What challenges did you face along the way?

The required production quality took 12-18 months to get right. Not having any previous experience in eyewear or design, I was initially naïve about the design and manufacturing process, delegating a lot of it to third parties. But I eventually took more control over the process and this has led to great production and quality improvements.

The brand carries roots are deeply cemented in music - from the names of each pair of frames to the regular work with musicians.

How important is it to you that the pair is intrinsically linked?

It’s crucial, it’s the DNA of the brand. I have literally applied the skills I’ve learnt in 20 years in the music biz. I think of Hook LDN like a new artist and have planned it’s launch accordingly, including the artists we work with, they are genuine collaborations.

We’ve seen a few garments surface recently – are there plans to expand Hook LDN beyond sunglasses and accessories?

Yes, but these will be baby steps to begin with as we better understand what our customers want.

On to the music side of things - You’ve worked with everybody from P Diddy to Jamiroquai with UKNY. Can you tell us a little more about what role you play and how it all initially started?

UKNY is a booking agency that specialises in private, corporate and emerging markets. We produce 50+ performances a year, usually with pretty big acts, everything from a massive festival in Asia with David Guetta to an intimate wedding in St Tropez with Lionel Richie. My background of managing some pretty big acts introduced me to lots of other artists and managers, those relationships mean I can often persuade artists to perform the type of unorthodox shows UKNY specialise in.

With so many projects on your hand how do you find time to work across both?

Hook LDN has a great team, who really handle most the day-to- day work, I’ll get more involved in strategy and bigger picture management.

What’s the best bit of advice an artist [musician] has given to you?

Jay-Z told me when I was at Def Jam to “never stop pushing the boundaries”. It’s true, our success has lied in not following rules.

Finally, what advice would you give to those looking to forge a career within music and/or fashion?

Do your research to identify if there’s a real gap in the market for your music or brand and once you commit, stay committed!

Check out the brands new London flagship store at 67 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ - or head over to the Hook LDN website to shop the SS17 collection.

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