Blogs that sell t-shirts aren’t necessarily morphing into global clothing brands, but The Daily Paper has never been the kind of brand to walk the normal path. Whether it’s an early screen-printed t-shirt or a sweater, Daily Paper clothes are more than clothing: they’re a medium for learning about and connecting cultures. What shines more about the brand’s rise over the past decade, however, is its steadfast commitment to uplifting its community. In a landscape where many brands see “community” as a trendy marketing buzzword, Daily Paper has positioned the term as a brand cornerstone.
With founders Hussein Suleiman, Abderrahman Trabsini and Jefferson Osei being of Somali, Moroccan and Ghanaian heritage, the brand’s foundation further reflects pan-African pride and community. When the three friends started their brand in 2012, their goal was to use fashion as a means of cultural exploration and acceptance. It is the same today.
“When we started the Daily Paper, we said, ‘We don’t know enough about our own history,'” Suleiman said. “We grew up learning a lot about Dutch history, English history, American history and Italian history. But my friends are from Morocco and Ghana and I have no idea where they are from, so we use the Daily Paper as a vehicle to learn more about culture outside the West.
But what does promoting society as a fashion brand look like in practice? For Daily Paper, it is their philosophy to work with African creators and present these collaborative efforts on the world stage. One example of the brand’s concrete efforts is the artist collaboration, which has been part of the brand’s ethos and will continue to permeate its collections for seasons to come. “I love working with outsiders because that’s our strength as a community-oriented brand,” says Trabsini. We want to engage our communities and make sure that if we have a collection inspired by a country or style, we work with an artist that represents that.
“Fashion is about emotions, and to strike any kind of emotion with someone, we need to understand their story.”
“Fashion is about emotion, and to strike any emotion with someone, we need to understand their story,” explains Sulaiman. “It’s not one size fits all for a brand anywhere in the world. That’s the challenge. [finding ways] Leaning on what people accept and that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years. “The founders’ talent sourcing is an incredibly involved process, and the same focus and passion for African creations extends to their annual work program. Currently, the brand works with Bubblegum Club, a cultural organization in Johannesburg, to select a team of designers from Africa to intern at the brand’s headquarters for a month. Although the program only allows one intern per year, the team plans to expand the internship with multiple interns throughout the year.
Daily Paper’s community engagement is not just about internships and collaborations. In December last year, the brand unveiled its first skate park in Ghana in collaboration with Off-White™. Called Freedom Skatepark, the venue’s launch pays tribute to the late Virgil Abloh and will serve as a focal point for promoting Ghana’s skate culture. Whether it’s working with artists, opening a skate park or joining the non-profit organization Elman Peace, fostering community and giving back are the same for the founders.
“‘How can we share our blessings with others?’
“The question of ‘how do we share our blessings with other people’ is embedded in this company and the mindset of everyone who works here,” Suleiman said. “Individualism is not our philosophy.”
All these initiatives have really improved the design of the brand. Core pieces like t-shirts and hoodies laid the groundwork for Daily Paper’s streetwear-focused designs, but the brand has elevated its clothing style every year. Now when anyone searches the website or walks into the brand’s flagship store in Amsterdam, London or New York City, they’ll find an array of knitwear, high-waisted bodycon dresses, trendy tailored pieces, printed coats and puffer jackets alongside signature streetwear staples.
Whether mainstream or creative collections, everyday paper pieces are a reflection of heritage. This inspiration is echoed through garments such as the FW22 wool coat and leather jackets, which feature custom branded armor graphics and embroidery. The symbol depicts the founder’s root consisting of a lion, tiger and eagle.
From its outfits to its extensive list of community-oriented activities, the Daily Paper has built a reputation that is not only respected but also well-loved. To celebrate its 10th birthday this past weekend, the brand threw a packed party at Amsterdam’s Paradiso music venue. Filling out the lineup were international DJs, musicians and record producers including Amare, Andre Power, DJ Dowap, Jules, Tiffany Culver, Moriba, Young Sour, Walsh Fire and more. If the line-up wasn’t proof enough of the brand’s success in growing its community, the audience was. Friends and family of the brand from around the world filled every inch of the space with smiles and squeals of joy.
So what’s next for the daily paper? “Ultimately, you want to pass the torch to people you trust and who understand the brand’s DNA and vision,” Trabusini said. “I really want to build a brand that can move on its own and doesn’t rely on its founders.”