DAMAN welcomes back soccer athlete Marc Klok to grace the pages of our June/July 2023 issue, in a special collaboration with Swiss watchmaker Hublot
The name Marc Klok definitely rings a bell, especially among soccer enthusiasts in Indonesia. Starting his career in 2013, the Dutch-Indonesian athlete wore various jerseys before joining Persib Bandung as a midfielder. However, Klok is more than just a soccer player. Outside the pitch, he is known for his impeccable style and exquisite taste, establishing himself as a man of fashion. His unwavering passion eventually led him to launch his brand, MK the Label.
Unveiled earlier this year, MK the Label is a sports-lifestyle brand infused with Klok’s distinctive character and aesthetics. The brand’s story began with a collaboration between Klok and a sports brand, inspiring him to establish his own brand identity. Running a business can come with its fair share of challenges, but Marc continues on his label’s journey with a great deal of perseverance.
A few months ago, DA MAN had the opportunity to interview the professional soccer player for the magazine’s February/March 2023 issue. Fate, however, has brought us together again for a collaborative photoshoot with Hublot. It’s genuinely a serendipitous moment as the Swiss luxury watchmaker, known for its unwavering support for sports, shares the same spirit of soccer that forever lives within Marc. We sat down with the soccer star to talk more about his foray into the fashion world with MK the Label and the progress of his foundation’s development.
DAMAN: Great to see you again, Marc! How was your recent family trip to South Africa?
Marc Klok: It was an amazing trip! South Africa is not an average holiday destination. You have to plan the trip well and, as a soccer player, it’s sometimes hard to plan a vacation. This one worked out well, though, and we were also there with our little one. We wanted to take her on a safari trip and see animals in the wild. Everything about the country—the hotels, the vibe, the food—was miraculous.
DA: Let’s talk about soccer. As someone who’s been a part of Liga 1 Indonesia for several seasons, how do you think the league has progressed in recent years and what are your hopes for its future?
MK: The progress has been really great. Soccer has become more mature and professional compared to when I first came in 2017. And it will improve in the coming years as it receives more attention. More players want to join Indonesian soccer and the rules will change slightly with Erick Thohir as the new president of the Football Association of Indonesia. So, I have big hopes for the future.
DA: The 2022-23 season of Liga 1 Indonesia had its ups and downs. What were some of the key takeaways for you and what areas do you think could be improved?
MK: Honestly, I felt disappointed because we didn’t finish the season as we expected. I even carried that disappointment to my holiday; but I just had to take it on the chin, think about what was wrong and how to fix it. That’s good sometimes, because it pushes you back to the ground and makes you realize that not everything will go well, so you don’t take everything for granted. You need to keep working and pushing forward to win. That’s a wake-up call, I would say. The disappointment became a wake-up call for the team and me.
DA: Can you share any memorable moments from the past season that stood out to you?
MK: The first would be the bronze medal we won at the SEA Games at the beginning of the season. It was one of my first tournaments with Indonesia. Next is the qualification for the Asia Cup. We haven’t qualified for 17 years, so finally being a part of the qualification was very special and memorable. The AFF Mitsubishi Cup also stood out to me. We played in Gelora Bung Karno Jakarta in front of 70,000 people, including President Jokowi. Scoring a goal and filling the stadium with a great vibe was just crazy! For me, those three moments were monumental.
DA: Last time we talked, you mentioned your plans for the Marc Klok Foundation. Any updates or developments related to this initiative that you can share with us?
MK: With the Marc Klok Foundation, we are building and renovating a special education school for orphans in Bandung. The construction is estimated to finish around September, so the kids can have new hopes and dreams and a place to study and learn. I’m excited to see what it will bring for them.
DA: Besides the special education school, what other programs does the foundation support and why are they important to you?
MK: We support education to make the children believe and dream. The thing is, not everyone can afford even to dream and believe in their own future. By providing them with better education and sports facilities, they can have joy back in life and, at the same time, learn. I sometimes invite them to my games or other activities as well. That way, I can get to know them better while giving them a better insight into life—what to expect and how to reach specific targets.
DA: Moving to your lifestyle label, as someone primarily known for their soccer career, what challenges did you face when branching out into the fashion with MK The Label?
MK: I would say it’s not common for a soccer person to venture into the fashion world. People usually ask questions like: “Why can’t he just focus on soccer?” However, fashion is a passion for me. I always wanted that and still think we need to stay close to who we are—our passion and interest— in whatever we do. Fashion is a way of living. Since childhood, I have liked to dress well and watch fashion news. It’s another big dream of mine outside the world of soccer.
And speaking of difficulties, running a company comes with various challenges. Distribution, for instance, has to be on time. Time management is a must. You also need a team of people to manage all of the operational aspects. Sometimes, I don’t really have time to handle everything myself because I am a soccer player. So, for me, finding the right balance is also a significant challenge.
DA: How would you describe the character of your label and what sets it apart from other fashion brands?
MK: I won’t call it a fashion label but would label it more as a sports-lifestyle brand where people can get to know me better by wearing the products. They can see it in the style—the patterns, colors, everything that represents me and my character. I’d love to present my aesthetics in a sporty way. People can wear our workout clothes to the gym or as simple as a T-shirt to the mall. Our products truly represent the sportsman in me and the label’s DNA allows people everywhere to embody my character or personality.
DA: Speaking of fashion and looks, a must-have piece in menswear is, of course, a watch. What does a watch mean to you?
MK: For me, it is something you cannot miss. People will base their opinions about you on their first impression. And a watch tells a story about us—a more impactful one. Coming with or without a watch can make a big difference in people’s first impressions of you. A watch can say a lot about you without you having to say anything. It is a representation of you.
DA: When it comes to choosing a timepiece for yourself, what are your preferences?
MK: Well, this is quite a difficult question, to be honest. When you see something, you have to think about what it does, how it looks on your body, its color and even the story behind it or its design. It’s not easy to look at a watch and say: “This is my dream watch.” But sometimes, what captures our attention is the story behind a timepiece because it makes the piece much more valuable and memorable.
DA: Let’s talk about Hublot. What are your thoughts about the brand? Are there any qualities or values you share with Hublot and how did those similarities influence your collaboration with them?
MK: Hublot is a very established watchmaker and what I really like about it is its connection with sports— soccer, to be precise. They have always been there—in the World Cups and Champion Leagues. Hublot has always affiliated itself with soccer and it suits me. Working with such a big brand is a dream come true and I’m really proud every time I wear their watches.
DA: How does Hublot’s DNA resonate with your personality?
MK: The elegance and the sporty aesthetics. I see how Hublot, as a brand, has greatly supported sports, particularly soccer. Hublot and I share the same undying passion for soccer and that’s how the brand’s DNA resonates with me.
“I think we need to stay close to who we are—our passion and interest— in whatever we do.”
DA: On a more general note, now that there is some time before the next season starts, how do you like to spend your free time and unwind?
MK: I like to travel and explore new places and cultures. I like being with my family and friends and disconnecting from sports. I use free time like this as a period to reflect, dig deeper within myself and reconnect with my loved ones. When I was busy, I could only talk with my family and friends through WhatsApp or FaceTime and I even missed some birthdays. So, with the off-season finally here, it’s definitely good to have some time to reconnect again with them.
DA: Can you share any upcoming projects from the Marc Klok Foundation or MK The Label?
MK: With MK the Label, I have a huge project coming: a collaboration with Mills, a sports brand supporting the national team. As for the foundation, we would like to focus on the school project first and see what we can do from there.
DA: Lastly, what are your personal goals and aspirations for yourself and the next Liga 1 Indonesia season?
MK: To be able to improve myself. To reach new heights, deal better with loss and be at peace with my journey. And for the upcoming Liga 1 season, I still miss the trophy in my wardrobe! [Laughs] That’s a big target for me to reach. I think everyone has the same dream, but I really wanted it, so I am going to work like crazy for it.
PHOTOGRAPHY ZAKY AKBAR
STYLING PETER ZEWET
STYLING ASSISTANTS BAGOES ABYOSO & ISABELLA HARAHAP
DIGITAL IMAGING SATRIYA WILDAN
Presidential Suite,The St. Regis Jakarta, Rajawali Place,
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. B/4, Setiabudi,
Jakarta 12910; +62 21 50948888
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