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#ChatRoom with Hussein Suleiman (Daily Paper)

Posted by Meenakshi Singh on

  1. What was the inspiration behind Daily Paper?

    The way we started the brand was, we’re three kids from Amsterdam with all African roots. We didn’t know a lot about where we were from, so we said Let’s go on this voyage of learning more about where we’re from and use fashion as that vehicle.
  1. How does it feel having a true representation of African culture in streetwear being worn worldwide?

    When we started the brand we felt African stories were underrepresented in street wear. I believe that the best art comes from self expression. We found a way to blend our Western upbringing with our African heritage through the products we make. Against all odds this has been embraced globally. We are extremely proud and grateful for this. 
  1. What would you say was your first break, when did Daily Paper go from a passion project to a business?

    I think when we moved into our first office. This was about 2 years after we registered our company. Before then we were working from a local cafe. After we moved to our first office it felt we were a proper business.
  1. How big is the Daily Paper store in Amsterdam now? What brand of sneakers do you guys stock?

    We have 2 stores in Amsterdam. One is 240 Square meters, one is 120 Square meters. We only sell Daily paper items and we currently don’t produce any footwear.
  1. Since you're 3 creative people working together, how do you work around differences in opinions?

    There is a lot of mutual respect between us as founders of the brand. We understand that all founders truly want what is best for the company. Differences of opinions occur, but we also give each other the space to try new things. We have created an environment where there is space to convince each other of new ideas. We are very open minded to new ideas and new perspectives. That makes for a good base to solve differences in opinions.
  1. How big is your team now?

    We started with just the 3 of us. Today we get to spread our visions with a team close to 60 people.
  1. Which has been your biggest challenge till date?

    We started the business with no outside investors. Our biggest challenge was to grow organically with limited funds in a very competitive industry. We just grew at our own pace. This is something I’m still very proud of.
  1. How did the concept for your last two collections, Afrofuturism, come about?

    The simple reason for why we connect with Afrofuturism is that my partners and I are African, we know our history and our potential and we channel it through our brand.  Currently, Afrofuturism is more accessible as a fantasy, an idealization, a utopian world view. Our ethos has always centered around this notion that there is true power in coming together as a community, sharing resources and skills and propelling each other to a unified goal. Many people say that we are all we have, we proclaim that we are all we need. In terms of aesthetics we look at Afrofuturism as the process of embracing the history of our lands, its people and culture and applying them to our process. That which is timeless can never get old.
  1. We see a lot of collaborative spirit between the streetwear brands and creative local businesses in Amsterdam - was it always the case or did you have to foster it?

    We are a product of our environment. Our story doesn’t end with the garments that we design, it is also being told through the partners we work with and the community we foster. We work with businesses and creatives that we respect. Not with the ones with the most reach, but the ones which vision aligns with ours. We could work with a musician that inspires us or our favorite lunch spot in the city we grew up in.
  1. How did the Van Gogh collaboration come about?

    The Van Gogh Museum was the first to reach out to us about a potential collaboration. They were drawn to our multicultural background and our ability to connect with Amsterdam's youth. On the other hand, we were also attracted to the story we shared with van Gogh himself, we had no formal training or prior knowledge of the industry, much like the Dutch artist in his time. In school we learned about his work, but not too much about him as a person. This collaboration taught us that we resonate with the artist in many ways.

  1. The Western Union inspired line was hella cool. Can we expect to see more from this collection?

    Would love to, unfortunately we received a cease and desist from Western Union and we removed all items. I don’t think they realized we were paying homage to them. So for those who have an item, consider yourself lucky.
  1. Which one would you say has been your favourite collaboration till date?  

    I would say our collaboration with Filling Pieces. People that know our story know that we have been very close friends. For us to do a collaboration like that meant a lot for us as friends and for the city.
  1. Congratulations to the Daily Paper team on completion of a decade! What is your vision for the brand in the next 5 years?

    We would love to open more retail locations outside of our home territory. We believe that opening stores in new territories is of great significance when you have an ethos, an ideology and a message worth spreading. Expect to see more Daily Paper stores in the future.
  1. Is the brand ever going to push into other kinds of merchandise, besides apparel?

    We definitely want to add more items to our offering. We are currently exploring ideas in home wear and jewelry.
  1. Have you visited India? Do you like Indian food? What is your favourite cuisine?

    Unfortunately we haven’t been to India yet. We were planning to come, but unfortunately this has been postponed. People who know me well can tell you that Indian is my favorite cuisine. Can’t wait to have some in India.
  1. Lastly, is there any advice you would like to give new aspiring designers who wish to create a brand?

    There are so many brands out there already and the competition is fierce. Start if you feel like your brand would make a valuable contribution to an already saturated market. Start if this is your true passion, because the process to get your ideas out is very challenging. If you believe you have what it takes then start small and grow organically. Seeing your ideas come to fruition can be very rewarding. Stay determined.

 

Thank you Hussein, for taking out the time to answer our questions. We loved getting to know Daily Paper a little bit better.