Sopopular. Berlin – Punks On Point. An Interview with Daniel Blechman
«Whatever it is, it meets the person’s standards» – that’s how Urban Dictionary describes the meaning of being «on point». Well, when it comes to SOPOPULAR, you apparently can say it satisfies the statement. Becoming increasingly popular phenomenon on the fashion scene, the brand produces sleek and chic men’s clothing and shoe pieces with rock attitude. Just 2 days before new F/W 2015 collection hits the official online store, we caught up with an outstanding man behind the brand and asked Daniel Blechman how it feels to be the creator, the star and the design ambassador in Berlin.
KALTBLUT: You are doing designing for six years by now. Don’t you feel tired? Daniel Blechman: The industry is tiring. Definitely. But designing is something I really love, that’s my passion. It’s more that I’m getting tired of a business side, and of all those «fake» people around me, but I’m still hungry.
KB: Creative professions require your mind to be beyond precious all the time, so at one point everybody could face the crisis when you are out of ideas. You can’t create anything new anymore. Are you afraid of that? Daniel: Honestly, no. Creating something is all about getting inspiration. For me inspiration is everywhere: the city I live in, traveling, everything; so I can have new inspiration every day. Another thing is people have seen pretty much everything in terms of fashion by this day. To my mind it’s impossible to create anything completely different even at the point of sketching. What I try to do, is to find my personal stamp and develop it. Of course most of designers want to stick to the trend and be liked by people, but I don’t care much. I evolve my designs from season to season attempting to make them perfect but also approachable. You always have to keep in mind there’s the other side of the coin. Of course creativity matters, but in the end this is business. You have to sell.
KB: Men’s ready-to-wear clothing is undoubtedly more complicated in construction. Why have you chosen that path, rather then doing women designs? Daniel: First of all, I am a man. Second of all, it came naturally to me. I knew I wanted to create a menswear label from the first day I thought I could run a brand. The Man today is developing. He got the chance to dress more freely, use more feminine shades both color and stylewise. The wardrobe becomes more androgynous and I am really into that flow. I like to put feminine fabrics into men’s shapes and see how it perfectly works. The world is becoming ambivalent so I think it’s a breathtaking time for menswear design right now.
KB: Let’s go back to the genesis of the brand. Six years is quite a time. What did you start with and what have you came to by now? Daniel: The thing is I never studied fashion, but fashion was around my entire life. I graduated as an architect, but started working as a buyer and stylist, so at one point I thought it would be natural for me to set up a label. Of course I had to pay the “dues”. It took couple of years for me to figure out who is my customer, which market I want to target. In the very beginning I used a lot of colors, but slowly realized it was not my thing. Apparently, as you can obviously see, now I came to black and more faded colors. I’m really into monochromes. That also is strongly influenced by my architectural background. What is good about having this education is that you project a very special view. For instance, I like when you don’t see all the details at the first minute. You get the piece and you start to discover it revealing its complexity. Find some hidden pockets, seams and zips. I speak through shapes, not colors.
KB: Do you think you are the best on the market in Berlin? Daniel: Let’s say, I think we are on a good way and we are in the leading community of menswear designers here, but since my goal would be to go international I’m not trying to compete with local brands. I’m also very introverted in terms of popularity. Some designers like to appear on red carpets and show off. They want to be in the spotlight. What I want is people know the name of the brand, but not my name. It’s cool if they recognize the quality and come back to the label again.
KB: Summer 2016. Who is the man of SOPOPULAR next season? Daniel: This guy loves fashion, but definitely not a fashion victim. He is in peace with himself and could be out of creative cluster or a business community. He got a rigorous style, but doesn’t want to wear a suite, he uses fashion to express himself, staying elegant and not over the top at the same time. His character is always in front of what he wears.
KB: What was the inspiration this time? Daniel: One day I went to the exhibition and saw an artwork made out of strings, so I have some ideas of how to transfer it to my clothing. I also addressed to Japanese culture, which I really love, so you may expect some asymmetric styles combined with my typical uniform inspired designs. There going to be a lot of knitwear, but totally deconstructed, very grunge. On top of this I am still playing with a gender thing. In upcoming collection you again will see skirts, which might be put over the pants, shirts made of silk and organza and of course everything of dark colors.
KB: You already had two amazing collaborations with Palladium Boots. Tell us about that experience and if you are going to do that again. Daniel: Actually it came from their side. The PR agency which works with Palladium reached us because they were looking for a menswear brand to come to the German market. The chemistry which happened between our two brands was brilliant. People working in Palladium are really cool and very nice. They immediately recognized my aesthetics. The first season we had like a light collaboration, just figuring out how it works. This season we did a soft launch, where I designed one pair of shoes in three different colors, and the next season we expect a main launch. It going to be six or seven different pairs in different colors.
KB: In your last interview for our “The Male” Issue you told us you are really into subcultures. Which subculture is on point now? Daniel: The thing is all subcultures are changing so fast right now. Especially in Berlin. My main inspiration always was that rock kind of attitude. I am very into music and all alternative bands out there: Muse, 30 Seconds to Mars, Arctic Monkeys… Punks and Goths become more fashionable these days and I love it. So talking about my clothes – Punks on fleek. Again.
Six years is definitely a while, and if we speak about good designing inspiration is vital. But if Punks keep Daniel on top of wave right now, what’s the point for all of us not to find some illumination for ourselves. Our daily life is full of so many beautiful things that might keep us on fleek. Some could find it in a tender breeze during a sunny day, or in a dreamy urban view out of your window; or probably in latest shoes by SOPOPULAR X Palladium Boots? The last FW collection is fully available online starting July 27 so don’t forget to stay popular.
Sopopular S/S 2016 Runway Show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin