At a recent press conference at I.T Hysan One, design duo Dan Single and George Gorrow are living up to their reputation as enfants terribles. A bottle of shiraz is quickly emptying and it's hard to make out what they're saying between all the cursing and mumbling to themselves in heavy Australian accents, and whistling at beautiful women passing by. But that doesn't stop hordes of hipsters, journalists and bloggers flooding the space to worship the co-founders of Australian cult haus of fashion, Ksubi. Flown in from Sydney, they're here to officiate at their latest collaboration with local fashion empire I.T. They've set up Der Face, a retrospective exhibition of sunglasses from their previous collections, including frames created for the Black Eyed Peas, Weezer and British design wunderkind Richard Nicoll. Their sunglasses have a list of star followers including Kate Moss, Scarlett Johannson and Carine Roitfeld. They've also arrived with their custom-made denim range. All pieces are one of a kind, featuring hand-stitched studs, paint splashes and sandpaper fraying. Of their signature denims, Gorrow says they've been experimenting with 'future primitive' techniques. 'We try the really futuristic printing techniques and also the really old-school methods - rock bashing denim, sandpaper, brick and mortar. Simple and basic stuff, but nobody really does it these days.' The boys, with two other in-house designers, Toby Jones and Gus Carmichael, pose for the camera in front of a conceptual installation as if they're meditating. The 'Jean Machine' was created for the occasion - a pair of jeans stick out of a vending machine bought earlier from Sham Shui Po and filled with odd objects like bottles of Victoria Bitter, 'space food' and packets of Marlboro. The installation reflects typical Ksubi creative style. 'It's all a blend,' says Gorrow, hiding tired eyes behind his aviator shades. 'Our slogan T-shirts are actually poetry; fashion shows we do can be seen as contemporary art installations. Everything is involved. Ksubi is a platform so that we can do everything together.' That's how they started the brand. If you'd met the boys a decade ago, you'd find Single as a photographer's assistant with pink-dyed hair, polished nails and vinyl pants - 'pretty much a half-fag who loves fashion,' says Gorrow. Single bonded with then graphic designer and graffiti artist Gorrow after escaping from a bar fight in Los Angeles. They decided to create something together when they got back home. They got their opportunity at Australian Fashion Week in 2000. For three days before the show, the self-taught designers locked themselves in a garage studio on the outskirts of Sydney with a large supply of wine (which they exhausted), paint and fabrics to create their collection. While they didn't manage to finish all the clothes the night before the show, they did create a stir - by unleashing 200 live rats down the runway. In the melee a curtain collapsed and a model stepped on a rat and killed it, but the show became legendary nevertheless. It launched Ksubi on a lightning fast ride to fame. And you might think, after all these years, they would have become more discreet and grown up - or at least more organised. But 'this is how we roll', Carmichael says. The leather jacket Single is wearing during the interview, from their latest autumn-winter collection, was not finished until the night before the show. Gorrow hand-painted it, then shovelled it into a corner. It was later salvaged by Single. 'This jacket is sick,' says Single. 'He [Gorrow] finished it so late in the night and he thought he did a sh*tty job and decided to hide it in a corner until I convinced him to show me. When he finally did, I was like, 'yeah dude, I f***ing love it'.' The jacket now has a long waiting list, which includes British heartthrob Orlando Bloom. The boys reckon that they owe their rocketing popularity to their originality. 'I think we just want to come back to do things that we enjoy doing and do best, and be real, as they say,' Single says. 'The hardest thing to do is to be someone you are not - and everyone can tell that it's just not you.' Who do they design for? 'Our babes and our friends,' says Single, now dating A-lister model Bambi Northwood-Blyth. 'There's no grand plan. There's nothing we aspire to do design-wise. We just want to make good s**t that we actually like wearing.' Their 'no plan' plan seems to work for them. They won the 2008 Interior Design Award by the Design Institute of Australia with 'The Bombed Mache' - basically a shop constructed of cardboard. 'Every other nominee [had] very sleek designs and we were like this cardboard shop,' Single recalls, laughing. 'We won anyway, and they were so pissed. You know how long you have to go to school to learn architecture?' Everything was going their way until last year, when the business was hit hard by the credit crunch. Things became so bad that the brand was placed into voluntary administration last January and was purchased by clothing manufacturer Bleach, which also owns Australian surfwear brand Insight and contemporary brand Something Else created by Natalie Wood. 'Like a roller-coaster ride would be an understatement,' says Gorrow, referring to the crisis. 'Not even close,' Single says. Even under such circumstances, the duo didn't lose their self-mocking sense of humour. 'Successful Business' was the name of the collection they brought out during the financial turmoil, and they created an installation featuring countless glass jars hanging from the ceiling, filled with shredded financial statements. 'You gotta laugh at these things. You can't take it too seriously,' Gorrow says. But they learned a hard lesson. The designers decided to stay away from the business side and stick to what they do best. As a result, this year has been a prolific one for them. They've launched the Kolor denim range in stores worldwide, including Hong Kong's Lane Crawford and Selfridges in London, with filmmaker Daniel Askill on board for the campaign video launched in May. There are many projects on the boil for Ksubi, Gorrow says, adding that they will collaborate with Richard Nicoll again to create sunglasses for his September show in London. 'It's good to work with things outside Ksubi, with people you admire, and get inspired,' he says. They've created a capsule collection called Sex! & Fashion and collaborated with photographers and artists for the online campaign. They've also been kept busy with their custom-made denim service in their atelier in Sydney. 'It started as a little project but now we've got three full-time staff and still we struggle to meet the demand,' Gorrow says. 'It's a mess in the back of the store.' 'A beautiful mess,' Single adds. The Ksubi exhibition runs till the end of the month at I.T Hysan One.