Build What You Want, They Will Come
There’s a bit of a misconception that the brands or products popular today all came about due to a specific demand. This isn’t true, of course, even ideas we think of genius sometimes took a while to catch on, to become “sticky”, and reach general popularity.
We spoke with Maru Asmellash for a recent edition of our Skandl Talks podcast series. His own development in Amsterdam’s creative industry demonstrates this. Asmellash is a co-founder of The New Originals, or TNO, a brand that sells itself as making “performance clothing for creatives”.
TNO’s output can be recognised as being based on classic, stylish streetwear shapes that have eye-catching design quirks. The six-dot square, often prominent on their Tees, can be seen being worn with pride around Holland’s capital. They’ve also been involved in a range of exciting collaborations, such as with Dutch author and illustrator Brian Elstak and Sexyland, one of Amsterdam’s best subcultural venues.
“People appreciate the hustle and the character of the brand,” Asmellash says, “and how we work on our projects. We show someone else what we do is something they could do, too.”
It’s not only clothes. The TNO Milkshake Bar has been making an appearance over the past couple of years, including at festivals such as Lowlands, and even Skandl’s own MERGE FEST in 2018. Before they even started designing, TNO was a collective of friends who wanted to work collaboratively to make a host of plans come to life: they started with a blog discussing topics close to their hearts, before first arranging soundsystem parties.
Asmellash spoke about how TNO’s core fan base hasn’t been built by them jumping on the back of influencers with large social media followings, or planning projects about what they think people expect or want. He says: “When we work on a project we really work on what we think is right. The result might not be that polished, but the people around us want to stay focused on the potential and character of the brand, and for us all to grow together.”
In other words, TNO fans understand and empathise with the brand and the people behind it. They’re waiting for the unexpected, and are excited about the unknown. When TNO started, it was a group of friends discussing ideas, wanting to start something without knowing what the finished product would be, or even specific goals in some cases. The brand’s success comes down to the fact that people can recognise the passion and energy put into its projects.