puma's latest collaboration brings amsterdam street style to the world
Daily Paper is the Amsterdam-based streetwear label inspired by the three founders' different African heritages. Collaborating with Puma on a line of apparel and trainers, we met two of the masterminds behind the collection.
Hussein Suleiman, Jefferson Osei and Abderrahmane Trabsini
"The collaboration thing between fashion and sport started with Puma. In 1998 Puma signed a deal with Jil Sander. That was the first collaboration between a sport brand and a fashion house." Yassine Saidi, Global Head of PUMA Select, knows a thing or two about the symbiotic relationship between sport and fashion. But while the combination of the two can be a wonderful, "the risk that we have now is that everybody's dropping collaborations. Every day there's something new. We are reaching saturation."
So how does a sportswear behemoth like Puma keep things fresh, in the face of so much competition? By enlisting fresh, young talent, embedded in their local culture to work with, and bridging the gap between the local street and the global street. Introducing Daily Paper, the Amsterdam streetwear label that began life as a blog in 2010, only to become an in-demand, high coveted label in 2012, founded by friends Hussein Suleiman, Jefferson Osei and Abderrahmane Trabsini, of Somali, Ghanaian, and Moroccan descent respectively. As their cricket-inspired collaboration with Puma launches, we sat down with Yassine and one third of Daily Paper, Hussein Suleiman, to discuss the past, present and future of sport x fashion.
How did Daily Paper start?
Hussein: So five years ago we started Daily Paper, the clothing label, but we already existed a long time before that as in 2010 we started a blog, which was mainly to cover our lifestyle. 'I'm into these sneakers, I'm into that musician etc.' Whatever I was into, we would cover on the blog. We were the curators of cool. To promote the blog to get more traffic, we started making T-shirts which we designed and started giving away, and telling people to check out our blog at the same time. But at one certain moment, more people were actually asking about the T-shirts and were actually visiting the blog and so in 2012 we thought maybe we should change our business model and just focusing on creating an apparel line.
How did the collaboration with Puma come about?
Yassine: It was pretty organic because we share the same values. When you start with someone they have to understand who you are as a brand and we understand them and what they stand for. So when we realised we had a lot in common so then we came about with, not necessarily we're going to work together but understanding each other and trying to learn from each other and then reached the point of let's do something together. Daily Paper represent Amsterdam and for us as a brand we want to tap into that culture, so we leverage it by creating something unique.
It seems like collaborations drop every day at the moment. What's the key to staying exciting?
Yassine: I think it's all about new faces, working with up-and-comers. We might not have a lot of hype but we'll have a lot of coverage with the Rihanna collaboration. But we'll have a lot of coverage with Daily Paper because it's a new face, it's a new brand. That's what the kids and the consumers want to know about. Everyone collaborates with the same brands and the same names, what we want to do with Puma is go after the new ones, the ones that are going to be big tomorrow. It's become a business model for some. It's become a focal point for press. It can also sometimes overshadow what you have inline. So what can make a difference is how organic your collaboration is.
What other smaller streetwear brands are you interested in right now?
Hussein: I love what's happening in Korea. I love Ader Error, a brand from Seoul. I love what they're doing. Same as what's going on in London, and in Japan, and in Russia, what Gosha is doing. The up-and-coming brands I look at.
Yassin: I think it's a good point about the up-and-coming brands, something I always look at is if the brand has the backbone to support a collaboration. When you work with a small brand, even if the aesthetic is good, sometimes they can't handle it. There's a risk of killing brand if they get too big. We know that with Daily Paper they're going to keep growing. It's not just about leveraging a brand, it's watching them grow. It's an obligation to help smaller brands grow. There are brands that I really like, but they will not be able to manage it.
Is Daily Papers an Amsterdam brand or a global brand?
Hussein: It's global, but because Amsterdam is such a global city. We tell a story about heritage and it doesn't matter where you're from, just be proud of where you're from. That's the message. It doesn't matter if it's Africa or wherever. We feel an obligation to show people a side of Africa that people don't usually see. Our next collection is inspired by skate culture in Ethiopia, which a lot of people don't know about. There are skate crews, graffiti crews, hip hop crews just like in Amsterdam. I feel like Africa has been dehumanised, we want to tell the true story of it. South Africa is one of our biggest markets, people really us there. That's because we represent the culture in an authentic way, which has not been before.
In music Afrobeats in becoming increasingly popular across the world. Are you seeing this permeate through wider culture?
Hussein: Definitely. I think cool is in the eye of the beholder and if I say I really love something then the rest will follow. Drake making a track with Wizkid, that opens that sound up to so many people. Us doing this collaboration with Puma emphasising this culture is only a good thing.
So is Daily Paper x Puma going to be an ongoing collaboration?
Hussein: Yeah you're going to see some more drops coming over the rest of the year!
Text Ryan White