DopeKoto has always been a labour of love, a passion project and outlet for us to share the things we are into, with you guys, the readers. We’ve grown (and grown up) a fair bit, which is why we’re super excited to talk about our next chapter.

First off, we’re sorry that we have been very quiet with creating content as of late, and admittedly, that we started drifting away from our core focus. So after a fair bit of soul searching and some seriously long skype calls interstate, we’ve decided its time to revitalise DK. More on that later – first of all I’d like to tell you a bit of our story and how we’ve gotten to where we are now.

The Beginning of a Family

Dopekoto officially launched on May 4th, 2015. A few months before that, Ray and I discussed rebooting our photography, but we had done that many a time already. So, we decided to do something different, something I’ve always wanted to do since I was 19. And that was to open up a coffee shop involving sneakers, cars and streetwear. But I knew it wasn’t going to be as simple as opening a store and throwing money at it, no. I knew we had to build a reputation, to gain supporters, and what better way to do that than to tell stories about content and culture I was 100% passionate about.

We sketched out several ideas for a few months trying to figure out who we needed and what our niche was. After a while, we worked out what we wanted to do, but it was the name that came quickly and just stuck. Dopekoto. It was joining both American and Japanese terms together. Dope being the typical slang for “cool” in America and Koto meaning “subject, matter, or thing”. It described what we were aiming to do very well as we often drew inspiration for styling of cars and streetwear from these two countries.

After the name was knuckled down, we focused our attention on finding a few more key individuals to bolster the team. Ray had mentioned Louie was really into the same interests, particularly in the streetwear and sneaker department. He was a guru and knew a lot about the history of the subculture, so we approached him. We pitched him the idea of DopeKoto, and he loved it! We started off doing what every man and his dog were doing, and that was re-posting content. But we quickly realised that this wasn’t what we exactly wanted to be doing. What we wanted was, to be Australia-centric and support the little guys to give them a voice in a scene that is otherwise outward looking to the extreme.

As we started to gain momentum over the next 18 months, DopeKoto began attracting the interest of other friends who were keen to get involved. So our team grew from 3 up to 7 guys, bringing a range of skills and experience. We started to round out a multidisciplinary offering with multiple photographers, a dedicated designer for our brand & platform, with everyone helping out and contributing by writing content or through behind the scenes work.

The Reality and True Passion

Being an organisation of volunteers, however, DK is fueled by spare time. For a few of us, this has become increasingly difficult due to their other commitments in their professional and personal lives.

Ever since launching, it has been a second job we’ve done whenever we have free time. DK has never made a single dollar that didn’t go back into supporting the platform with every member going unpaid. Every tee, sticker, snapback and laser etched coaster (lol) bought by you has helped us pay our hosting bills, or put money into making new products. So a huge thank you is due to everyone who’s copped along the way. We love you guys!

As our team grew, our momentum did too. Suddenly we had brands like New Balance and Nike asking us to collaborate, kids asking to do work experience, local brands and the sneaker community – all hungry for coverage. This excited us a lot, but being driven to help nurture the local streetwear and sneaker community meant we were often conflicted, as this meant diverting our limited time and resources in competing directions.

The truth is that we just can’t (and don’t want to) maintain an always-on news cycle flow of editorial news. We give this sentiment more weight in light of the high production value video and photography work we love doing. This content is what we’re best known for yet it is also time-consuming to produce. With time being a limited resource, we hate cutting corners to ensure that our crafted media, interviews and features out. Even worse, we’ve hated having to pass these activities up in to maintain a regular flow in our other news channels.

The Immediate Future of DopeKoto

Right now we’re in the planning stages for a complete overhaul. Without giving too much away, we’re going to be focussing our platform and brand more around us as individuals, our talents, strengths and what we love. We’re still going to be heavily involved in the local street culture scene but from a slightly different angle.

Perhaps most exciting is that we’re also tired of how the site looks and feels. So you can expect a complete break-the-mould redesign to launch in the coming months! A small hint: It’s going to be fewer words and much, much more imagery. Things are going to be a lot tighter in presentation, and we’re thinking hard about our products and how they can be part of our content and stories rather than a thing we do on the side.

We’re also going to be making some changes to our team and how it operates to move towards a platform more geared around collabs. So if you’re keen to team up as a web developer, designer or artist, photographer, writer, sneakerhead, brand or just have some dope ideas – hit us up!

From Kenny & Dave and the rest of the DK squad.