SOPOPULAR, the Berlin-based Menswear label, only strolled onto the fashion scene in 2008 and has already won an award in Germany’s biggest fashion awards ceremony. The brand cuts a fresh, clean silhouette with a rough ‘n’ ready edge; taking inspiration from both London and Berlin, respectively. This rejuvenation of timeless ‘high-end tailoring’ (with a generous helping of grunge for good measure) has reworked the relevance of such classic shapes in every day high street fashion. Read on as designer Daniel Blechman talks musical inspiration, dark times on the way to the top and what to expect from the SOPOPULAR AW14 collection.
So, the brand name SOPOPULAR sends out quite a strong message. Can you explain how you came to choose this name?
It’s a quote from Kurt Cobain. During an interview he said, “It’s tough being so popular!”
To you, what is the epitome of a ‘SOPOPULAR boy’?
It’s a boy – or better, a man – who has both feet on the ground. He knows who he is and confidently expresses that through his style.
You have talked a lot about music inspiring your designs. Can you describe exactly how you go about translating the sound of a song or band into material goods?
It’s more the attitude or the visuals combined with the music which inspires me. In my eyes, the Arctic Monkeys represent cool British guys.
Is the (mostly) monochrome colour palette reflective of the grunge style of the 90s that you are a fan of?
No, not really it just fitted the task but I’m always into a more settled colour palette. We just add one more colour from season to season- we’ve added two dark berry tones to the upcoming AW14 collection.
How have you managed to make classic, ‘high-class tailoring’ relevant to the younger generation of today? Was this a key aim of the brand for you?
The key aim is to create classic street wear with a more fashion forward approach- clothes that the younger generation and older folks, like me, can identify with and wear without feeling overdressed.
It seems the success of SOPOPULAR lies, at least to some extent, upon the unique combination of German and British style. Which other countries do you admire the style of and do you ever take inspiration from them?
Japan, especially Tokyo.
What has been your proudest achievement with SOPOPULAR since you founded the brand back in 2008?
This year, we came second place in the biggest German fashion award ceremony- SYFB (Start Your Fashion Business). I also just love the development and experience. We grow and get better from season to season.
Have you had to overcome any real difficulties on the way to becoming an established brand?
Yes, I had to overcome very dark times, I realised business can ruin the strongest friendships; people try to screw you over but you grow from that and become better than ever. The saying applies: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Has the style of SOPOPULAR changed much over the years or have you had a very clear picture in your mind from the start?
Yes, it has changed. I had a clear vision from the beginning regarding style and visuals. But you have to learn from your mistakes. Right now we are where we always wanted to be, but there is still a lot of ahead of us.
Would you ever consider collaborations with, or capsule collections for, high street brands like many other designers previously have done?
Of course! I find it very challenging and interesting design wise. Let’s be honest; it’s also a good opportunity from a financial point of view. A white label can give you more elbow room with the development of your own collections.
I absolutely love the clothes and would definitely wear some myself – particularly the clean cut, printed shirts. Do you think you might ever move into Womenswear and why?
Maybe, never say never but not right now. I always say, you have to be supreme and established at one thing before you can start another.
Finally, where do you envisage the brand in 5 years’ time?
Hopefully established worldwide with a very good selection of retailers. Maybe even with some flagship stores!
Words: Lizi Woolgar
Photography: Maren Mueller