Dahsar Is Your New Favorite "Whateverwear" Brand
There’s a correlation between environment and creative output that can’t be denied: our exterior space reflects us aesthetically, and vice versa. Rashad Rastam, creator of “whateverwear” brand Dahsar, knows this better than almost anyone.
“Being in and out of NYC has affected my creative process in a very positive light,” he says. “NYC pushes my creativity even further and has me working with other creatives I’ve never thought I’d ever work with.”
Dahsar has been a passion project born out of Rastam’s creative vision since 2012, which also happens to be when he first met NYC-based artist RAE-BK. Finally, in 2018, “the stars aligned,” and the pair were able to collaborate. Prior to All Systems Go and Full Speed Ahead (his collections with RAE), Dahsar started with Nights & Weekends, an homage of sorts to the Greenpoint, Brooklyn restaurant of the same name which shut down in 2017. He then followed the collection with Standard Ace, based on the Ace and Standard Hotels, and New Digs, Old Flame. All Systems Go and Full Speed Ahead are the latest to hit the web.
If it wasn’t already obvious, Rastam has a lot going on and a lot still up his sleeve. We sat down with the creative to talk streetwear, “whateverwear”, and collaborating with RAE; check the full interview below (and the latest Dahsar visuals above).
Tell us about the inspiration behind your latest collections, All Systems Go and Full Speed Ahead.
All Systems Go was inspired by hip-hop, breaking, and the past.
Full Speed Ahead was inspired by space, Blade Runner, and the future.
What was your collaborative process like with RAE-BK?
In 2012, before I started Dahsar, I was introduced to an artist named RAE-BK from Brooklyn, NY from an old flame who admired his work. I was infatuated with her loving his work and that’s how I began creating for Dahsar.
After releasing collaborations we put out with Homeboy Sandman, Stones Throw, Tattooed Mom and our three heavy hitting collections, I was ready to contact RAE. When I first contacted RAE to see if he was able to work on this project, he couldn’t because he was in another bind. A few months past and when I came home from Japan after shooting the ‘New Digs, Old flame’ collection using Japanese fabrics, RAE reached out to me saying he can do it. To begin the project, we met downtown to discuss each others work then he showed me around the Lower East Side of where he put up his work.
We spoke everyday. I moved back from NYC to Philly in 2017 to work on the RAE collection to be closer to my studio and our production factory. I was going beyond my own creativity and started introducing new fabrics to RAE. We were all about heavy communication. We would meet at different restaurants in Brooklyn to discuss how the project was going and updates. The adventures of designing ‘All Systems Go’ pieces in a month for his show at 99 Bowery when he had DJ Kool Herc spinning New Years 2017 to shooting the ‘Full Speed Ahead’ catalog for RAE’s New York Times debut ‘The Storefront Artist Has Nothing To Hide (Except His Identity)’ where he lived at a storefront window at 130 Allen St. for a month was truly one of the most amazing experiences I’ve been a part of.
What role do you think streetwear plays in the larger fashion landscape?
Nowadays I look at streetwear as a 90s era item. Streetwear is that hint of cool to make fashion look wearable.
How has the Dahsar brand evolved since your first collection, Nights & Weakends?
‘Nights and Weakends’ was a romanticism of NYC and when I spent mornings and weekdays in Greenpoint, Brooklyn after going to short lived restaurant, Nights and Weekends. I kept up a similar vibe of each collection evolving through personal experience. ‘Standard Ace’ was a smog cutter when we shot and produced the collection out in LA inspired by the Ace and Standard Hotels. We brought the east coast out to the west. ‘New Digs, Old Flame’ was about being in a new city or new home when your head was messed up from the past. Without the hardships of what I was going through and the importance of growing and learning, I wouldn’t be able to put out these collections. Dahsar kept up with the times, I kept up with the times, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Dahsar means simpler times. Dahsar is a contemporary whateverwear brand and creative design studio. I created Dahsar and made clothes because it was a creative output where I combined many hats I cut my teeth from such as being a buyer for a streetwear shop, designer for a creative agency, and a consultant in fashion, all in one.
How has living in NYC affected your creative process and output?
Being in and out of NYC has affected my creative process in a very positive light. Although I’ve had the support of Philly, LA, and the world over, NYC pushes my creativity even further and has me working with other creatives I’ve never thought I’d ever work with.
The output has truly shown that when I pour my heart and soul into Dahsar, others see the magic it makes and they want that same spark with their projects. Now I’m working with musicians, artists, and designers on various merchandise and album covers using morals from my previous work.
Who/what are your biggest sources of inspiration?
Old flames, the past, 80s noir films, and new wave. Shouts to my previous studiomate Hassan Rahim, the sounds of Naeem, filmmaker Scott Ross, Robert Perry from Moms, Lyche, and Eunice Chun.
What’s next for Dahsar?
Commercial Type for Dahsar with Christian Schwartz. American, Americana.
Images courtesy of Dahsar
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