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Counterculture Couture

Washington native Will Sharp is taking his cutting-edge meets preppy-chic sensibilities to the masses with an up-and-coming clothing line.

Will Sharp launched online clothing company DURKL in 2010. Next up is a retail space in the Atlas District.

“We spent a lot of time in the early days of DURKL trying to find the perfect niche,” says Washington-area native Will Sharp of the clothing company he founded here in 2005. “I have a rebellious side, so when we didn’t find it, we decided to build our own.”

What followed was DURKL’s 2010 launch of its unique prep-school streetwear line of jackets, shirts, pants and accessories for men. “We positioned ourselves at an empty intersection, where we hoped to attract both the counterculture kid who wants something higher-quality and the preppier guy who is looking to be edgier,” says Sharp.

The decision has been good for DURKL, which does a thriving business online and is now sold in more than 100 stores internationally. Last October, Complex magazine, a pulse monitor of contemporary men’s fashion, called the company a streetwear heavyweight.

Companies in DURKL’s position usually race for distribution deals with large chains, but Sharp is rebelling against that trend, too. He’s currently focused on unveiling DURKL as part of the Atlas District’s Maketto development. The space will also feature culinary trendsetters, including Toki Underground’s Erik Bruner-Yang, who’s a longtime DURKL loyalist.

“The old four-season approach to fashion doesn’t work anymore, and the store will allow us to respond more quickly to what our customers want,” said Sharp. “What’s even more important to me is giving people in DC who love fashion and culture a place to find community and a brand they can call their own.”  

Sharp’s Hots
Toki Underground, Vigilante Coffee, FEDERAL menswear on 14th Street, DGS Delicatessen, Theodore Roosevelt Island

Sharp’s Nots
Copycat food trucks, bars that don’t serve Budweiser, insane commercial and residential rent prices, red tape