The new seasonal collections are one by one being released these days, and last week our good friend Olaf Hussein also presented his new set of creations. After opening his first flagship store named ‘The Fitting Room’ in Amsterdam last year, he continues to push the momentum he has created since the inception of the label forward. The new collection, which clearly shows the familiar minimal design elements in its overall aesthetic, allows its wearer to react and adapt to fast-paced modern life through its use of lightweight nylons, wrinkle resistant suiting fabrics, velcro straps and reversible styles. Turning novelty into a tool to express its themes, Hussein also introduces a range of bolder colors in addition to its signature grayscale palette and adapts the new moniker of “OH!” as branding, in line with current streetwear trends and possibly Acne Studios in particular as a great example of elegant implementation of this form of communication. The most striking new item of the collection is The Fundament Sneaker, the brand’s very first foray into footwear – perfectly complementing the apparel – which is available in black and white.
As has been the case for three seasons now, the majority of the just presented collection is available right away. Online, in the physical store at the Prinsengracht 491 and at the select retailers across the globe who carry the brand.
We love how Olaf relentlessly keeps building his brand and collections. To find out where he stands today, we asked him some questions what the new Spring/Summer 2016 collection means to him and how he sees the future for OLAF HUSSEIN.
Having known you from the very beginning of the brand and looking at the development over the years, there is a progressive, yet seemingly organic growth in scale observable. From two denim fits, to on-trend Ø L Å F brand carriers, a full collection, a fashion show in Amsterdam, an online environment and the opening of your ‘The Fitting Room’ store last year.
In this light of progressive development of the brand, what does the current S/S 2016 collection signify for you, where do you stand with this collection?
Olaf: The collection forms a logical new step forward for the brand. Having been able to add footwear to our offering brings the scale in which we operate into a new realm. The specific inspiration for the pieces that make up this collection comes from the way today’s world deals with the lightning-quick exchange age of information. While the timeline moves at great speed, the collection allows its wearer to react and adapt through its use of lightweight nylons, wrinkle resistant suiting fabrics, velcro straps and reversible styles.
I always search for a combination of new ideas combined with existing ones. This season a range of bolder colors are an addition to the signature grayscale palette, yet the silhouettes are showing a continuation of the road we have taken from the very beginning. For the new season we also have introduced the new moniker of “OH!”, which adds a significant element to how we aim to communicate the brand.
What does the creative collaboration with art director Daniel Sumarna (who also works full time as a creative at Droga5 in New York City), who’s been with the brand since the beginning, mean to you?
Olaf: He plays an integral role in keeping the team sharp and focussed. It is good to have such an experienced team member, with such an good eye for detail around. It also truly helps that we have a similar taste in fashion, I’m very sure that it wouldn’t have worked if that wasn’t the case.
Looking beyond just the new collection and your overal operation, I still vividly remember the video shot at Bread and Butter in 2014 where Hussein of Daily Paper, Guillaume of Filling Pieces and yourself sat down and talked about how you all formed a sounding board and source of inspiration for each other.
A lot has changed since then, for one Bread and Butter is no more, but the three of you also have taken your brands to the next level – with Daily Paper opening its first flagship store in Amsterdam last month. How has the relationship grown in the last few years?
Olaf: First of all, we still are a group of extremely close friends that hang out together on a day to day basis. We still form a sounding board for each other and learn from each other in every aspect (business and life in general). Things definitely changed from that last video shot at Bread & Butter in 2014. It feels like we have grown up together and now really have established our young creative businesses. The only thing that has truly changed is that the content of our conversations are much more business orientated, yet we still share our accomplishments as much as our struggles along the road we have taken. A lot has crossed our path since, therefore, even more so than in 2014, we have become like brothers, transcending just being a group of friends.
What has inspired you in this relationship during these years of growth in particular?
Olaf: Seeing the personal and business growth of my friends. The cities and countries we have visited and travelled together. The people we have met along the way, and the friends and family that have supported us from the beginning.
What else has been inspiring you, any new people in fashion or in the arts you’ve met along this journey you want to mention?
Olaf: Youth culture has the answers!
When looking at the future of OLAF HUSSEIN: momentum in contemporary fashion is fickle, hype drives a lot of trends. How are you positioning yourself in this context, what are your plans for the future?
Olaf: Hype drives a lot of trends now a days, but real menswear is ruled by history and tradition. Therefore we take inspiration from the past at one time or another. What inspires me in particular while looking at the past is military clothing. The details in the clothing, the fabrics that have been used to keep someone warm or protect the user from water fascinate me thoroughly. When you keep focussing on things like that, you are making traditional/classic menswear that can be around for quite some time. This in combination with opening our own retail store (hopefully more in the future) gives us the freedom to keep going as we have been doing and continue to be creative in way which makes other people excited to be part of our world.