Daniel Blechman – Head of design of SOPOPULAR – was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1971. In his early childhood, he moved to Berlin with his family and his sister, where he grew up. Attracted by the cultural gush rising in London, Daniel Blechman moved to UK in the 90ies, where he graduated from Richmond University, with a bachelor of Interior Design in 1996. Back in Berlin, he guided his sensibility toward fashion and started to work as a Managing Director for the Public Image Store, introducing the first collections of edgy designers such as Raf Simons or Alexander McQueen.
In 2000 he started to work as a stylist for international agencies such as Gimme 5 from London, House of Orange from Amsterdam or M4 from Berlin.
During this time, the desire rised in him to start his own label. In 2008 he launched SOPOPULAR. The label stands for a reduced and pragmatic style of men’s fashion. Classic cuts and narrow silhouettes are broken with edgy streetwear elements and futuristic design details. Collections that reflect the desire for fashion and individual needs of the designer Daniel Blechman. His creativity is influenced by many and diverse artistic fields and is constantly enriched by everyday life and the simple things in life, but especially by friendships and family….
FilepMotwary: Daniel, may I ask you which experiences helped you form your own aesthetics?
DanielBlechman: My love for fashion already existed since I was a child. Before, I decided to start a brand I had long time experience in the fashion industry in different areas which helped me later to shape my own aesthetics.
When I was living in London, next to my studies in interior design, I worked in fashion for the agency Gimme 5 which was specialised in Japanese streetwear like Bathing Ape and Hysteric Glamour. This was a most creative space, where I learned a lot from the love of the Japanese for fashion and detailing. Next to this, I worked as a fashion buyer for a store called Public Image in Berlin. For which I scouted brands like Raf Simons with his first collection or the likes of Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan.
This also was an integral experience. After my time there, I worked as a stylist for a couple of years which gave me the understanding of how to put a complete outfit together from head to toe. Therefore I also like to design through conceptualising complete outfits. It is always my intention for each collection to be inter changeable with your existing wardrobe.
FM: What is your new collection for SS14 about?
DB: The collection is about architecture, which means to me, clear lines and hidden details. The main inspiration for this collection was the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, which I admire. Henceforth, another big influence for each collection is my passion for music in this specific case 90ties grunge music, with the intention not to do refer to this too obviously. The collection therefore is called “Black Hole Sun”. The whole range is maintained in different shades of grey; black and white.
FM: Why did you choose menswear and not womenswear?
DB: I chose menswear for several reasons. First of all, I wanted to fulfil my own desire for good quality garments. Next to this, there are still a lot of possibilities in the menswear market. I’m a bit uninspired by the huge plethora of street-wear brands where 90% look identical to me. For SOPOPULAR, I wanted to approach the urban elements differently, presenting a sartorial mix of high fashion in terms of quality; fit and textile.
FM: In your opinion what are the differences between men and women?
DB: First of all women are more willing to suffer for fashion, than just aiming to achieve looking good. Personally, I think to design for men you need to be more precise and uncompromising. People don’t understand that an impeccable suit jacket is much more difficult to design than an evening gown, yet the jacket maybe doesn’t have the same ‘wow’ factor. Clothes for men need to have a superb fit and need to be constructed of good quality fabrics. Everything simply needs to be on point.
FM: What makes a designer important in your opinion in order to last? How does really longevity mean in this business?
DB: This lies within the patience to perform each collection. Development also means finding new ways for construction, usage of fabrics and textures. To me, collections need to capture their audience, without excluding anyone. The key is in presenting garments that are well made and that have a sense of lasting identity imbedded within them.
FM: How did you form the hero – the man you dress?
DB: At the studio, we do not work with a single image or role model. It is more a general concept of manhood we adhere too. Men need to dress impeccably, without loosing a sense of self and their confidence. The SOPOPULAR man can be anyone, anyone roaming the streets and exploring life. We aim to design for men who appreciate quality and lasting garments that fit well.
FM: How do you think fashion responds to the financial crisis – if there is one? Is this the moment of creativity?
DB: In times of restraint and challenging economics, I always find, fashion has a way of bouncing back. After years of rather demure collections, designers have rekindled their original creative ways of developing garments. Especially in menswear, the crises led to reflection and composure. A return to quality over quantity if you well. This also goes hand in hand with a sense of reinvented free creativity.
FM: How relevant is creativity to the way the fashion industry today?
DB: It is paramount to maintain a sense of creativity within fashion. Garments are worn by people, hence they are art pieces coming to life, shielding us from the element. It is within this personal interaction between cloth and humanity, creativity thrives.
FM: Is fashion changing? Towards which direction?
DB: Fashion is always evolving. Yet it is hard to predict, which makes it so fascinating. In the menswear market a lot more freedom and possibilities can be noted over the past seasons. Quality and precise tailoring are valued and embraced by men all over the world. In many ways, such statements allow for an intelligent reflection on what fashion actually stands for. In many ways it is irreverent.
Credits Art Direction: Floor 5 Fotograf: Vincenzo Laera Styling: Dennis Blys Stylingassistenz: Katja Barth Haare & Make-Up: Dirk Neuhöfer (Nina Klein) Model: Bastian Thiery (Nest Model Management)
Thank you Marlo Saalmink