- Vivian Hendriksz |
Amsterdam - Launching a collaborative collection with a sportswear giant like Puma is something most fashion brands can only dream of. However, for Amsterdam-based menswear label Daily Paper, collaborating with Puma felt so natural that co-founder Hussein Suleiman was already designing the first collection within three days of receiving a call from Yassine Saidi, Puma’s Global Senior Head of Lifestyle.
“The collaboration arose after us sitting together and saying let’s design some stuff together. It just grew organically. I think we even started designing together without even signing the contracts,” explained Saidi during the launch of Puma x Daily Paper debut collection. Although the two were certainly no strangers, having worked together on a few projects in Amsterdam over the years, the idea to create a collaborative collection first arose after the two had dinner one night in Amsterdam, with sneaker brand Filling Pieces founder Guillaume Philibert.
Puma x Daily Paper SS17 collection: an immediate success
When Suleiman was asked what were the three brands he would love to collaborate with his answer was: Apple, Aston Martin and Puma. The rest is now history, as the first drop of the Puma x Daily Paper collection was an immediate success. Now the second drop of the collection is launched last Friday, FashionUnited speaks to Yassine Saidi and Hussein Suleiman to learn more about their unique collaboration.
“We are very influenced by our African heritage and Puma has a huge history in supporting African team sports. I grew up wearing Puma jerseys myself,” explains Suleiman to FashionUnited on the inspiration behind the brand. “When Yassine reached out to us for a collaboration I was very honoured. Of course I really wanted to work with one of the top sportswear brands in the world.” For Saidi, selecting Daily Paper as their next upcoming designer collaboration was a no-brainer.
“When Guillaume introduced me to Yassine and the whole crew, I realised how influential they were globally as well as what impact they had in Amsterdam,” said Saidi. “I realised the pull they had, and where they were going as a brand, so it became a no-brainer for us to work with help and help them grow and leverage the influence they have within their community in Amsterdam.” For the first drop of the collaborative collection Daily Paper and Puma looked to African sports, focusing on Masaai cricketers in particular. Together the two reinvented a series of iconic styles, such as the court platform sneakers from Puma archives to reflect Masaai culture.
“The feedback from the first collection has been amazing, I am happy that press and public has responded well to it,” Suleiman says. “But of course the best feedback you can have is reflected in the sales in stores, which have been tremendous for us.” Puma x Daily Paper court platform from the first drop sold out within a week, a testament to the strength of the collaboration. However, Saidi maintains that a collection or style sell out is never their main goal when creating a collaborative collection.
“What’s important to us is not that the collection is sold out. If it sold out it means that we did not buy enough,” Saidi continues. “What is important is us is that the collection lives on in stores, so people can continue to buy into it for the long run. If it’s sold out, it is a good sign but it’s never our main objection going into a collaboration. But, either way we are very happy with the results.” Both Puma and Daily Paper agree that the first drop of the collection, which launched in February was a success and hope the second drop of the collection will be as successful.
However, developing such a successful collaborative collection does not happen without its challenges. For Saidi and Puma, the challenge in creating a strong collaborative collection lies within successfully merging the designer’s ideas and concepts with Puma’s own values and designs. “We work with different partners on new collaborations every month, like Rihanna, The Weeknd and Filling Pieces, and everybody always has their own ideas on what the collection should look like. Although we go through the same process with every collaboration, defining the collections silhouettes, the garments fit, the prints and patterns, the real challenge it making sure everyone remains on track and on schedule,” says Saidi.
Because Puma is a large, international company, its production process adheres to a tight schedule. A single delay due a difference in opinions on fabric choice for example, could mean a collection launch is delayed by up to two weeks. “The design process with Puma was different to how we normally work, as it was our first time working with a bigger company” agrees Suleiman. “As a smaller brand we have less issues concerning production we need to take into account and are able to be more agile.”
Nevertheless, Suleiman says designing the collection with Puma was fun and educational experience for Daily Paper. “Puma was very accepting of our ideas and designs, so we are very thankful for that.” He adds that the experience has also taught him how to be open to new ideas and points of view. “I used to think that I was always right, what we did was best for the brand. But our collaboration with Puma has taught me how to respect other people’s opinions and given me more insight on how other people do business.”
For example, Suleiman says he was doubtful of one of the designs from the first drop of Puma x Daily Paper. But after seeing how well it sold, both in store and online, he realised that his opinion may not always be the best opinion. “Our collaborations are about managing the balance between the reality and expectations of our partners,” says Saidi. “Over the years, we at Puma have learnt to be realistic as to what is possible and guide our partners.”
Suleiman and Daily Paper are definitely proud of their collaborative collection with Puma. “I am very happy with the concept we developed and the products of course. Puma is very happy with the results as well, as collaborative collections are key to the sportswear brand, as they help the brand connect to a wider audience in an authentic way. “You really are able to get a different creative mindset when you collaborate with others,” Saidi adds. “We are always learning from our collaborations and taking that into the rest of our collections.” Both Daily Paper and Puma are looking forward to the second part of the collaboration launch, set to drop in time for Autumn/Winter 2017-2018. “I can’t tell you too much about it, but I can say that it is inspired by my favourite sport - football.”
Photos: Courtesy of Puma and Daily Paper, Puma x Daily Paper SS17