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Starting from the archive to design a new streetwear: a chat with SaruGeneral

The founder of one of the most influential second-hand platforms talks about the evolution of the industry and a new fashion collection

Starting from the archive to design a new streetwear: a chat with SaruGeneral The founder of one of the most influential second-hand platforms talks about the evolution of the industry and a new fashion collection

It's been a little more than two years since the last time that nss magazine chatted with SaruGeneral, probably the most influential name in the second-hand streetwear market, fame and success built thanks to the ability to track down and find sought-after items and archive pieces, often by Japanese brands or by the most important names of the industry, in a market controlled by multimillionaire groups. 

The mind behind this reality is that of the 24-year-old enterpreneur Steffan Schulz, who started the project almost as a hobby, spending his free time looking for and finding BAPE accessories, Stüssy T-shirts, and Louis Vuitton pieces. After recording a 75% rise in revenue over the last year only, Schulz has unveiled the next step in SaruGeneral path, a real fashion brand, SaruWorld. Schulz plans on setting up a series of pop-up stores while dreaming of a collaboration with a big brand. 

From 2019 to today the world of streetwear has changed completely, so much so that the very definition of the culture appears empty and not particularly effective, an evolution that has led the most prominent creators and representatives of the phenomenon to take a seat at the helm of the most prestigious fashion houses of the world. An evolution that SaruGeneral has faced by diversifying its objectives and interests, on the one hand by amplifying and enhancing research and the archive, on the other by focusing on a 360° brand, which through T-shirts and accessories can unite a transversal audience.  

nss magazine talked about this and much more with Steffan Schulz.

When and why did you decide to give life to SaruWorld? What was the ultimate goal of this collection?

We released our first design, the "Saru lightning tee", in 2020. It was influenced by both Stussy's popular lightning tee design and Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" logo. Everyone at Saru is a big fan of the work over at Stussy and recognizes the increasing popularity of vintage and retro music apparel, so we thought this would be a fun design to start with. It was always our goal to eventually create pieces and collections of our own. The Saru World ideology is a reflection of the influences surrounding the world of Saru and what we do. It's an ethos that draws from streetwear, pop culture, and personal tastes in music and film, while also paying homage to the history and origins of the brand. 

To what extent has your experience with SaruGeneral influenced and informed the creation of SaruWorld? 

The experience with SaruGeneral has helped massively when curating SaruWorld. It's allowed us to gain a solid understanding of what our customers like, which we always keep in mind when creating our designs. This applies to our graphic styles, patterns, colorways, and even how a product fits and feels.

Since you've been in the business for quite some time now, what are the changes that you've noticed in terms of taste, audience, and most requested items/brands? 

The world of streetwear and fashion is forever changing – and at a fast pace! With trends coming and going in quick succession, we tend not to commit to them without taking our time to analyze which are going to be beneficial to our brand and appeal to our fanbase. We try to stay away from the "following the crowd" mentality. It's always a gamble, not knowing what items or brands could potentially be worthless in a few months or even skyrocket in value. 

We instead pride ourselves on collecting older pieces that we're confident in and know will hold value – even if they aren't easily accessible. We recognize that select social media influencers, celebrities, and musicians can both intentionally and unintentionally influence the popularity of brands, items, and even market prices. A few examples of this include Drake with his newly found love for Chrome Hearts and Travis Scott with his Jordan & Dunk SB collaborations. We've managed to take advantage of developments like these through our in-depth knowledge of both brands and their older collections. As such, we're able to source rarer items infused with more interest and value than ever before. 

Over the past few months, we have also seen a big decline in the hype around Supreme. We believe this is partly due to the $2.1bn sale of the company to the VF Corporation. We feel the brand has taken more of a mainstream direction, especially in terms of accessibility around drops. Pieces are overproduced and we've even seen the re-release of older designs such as the Kaws box logo, which now make the older releases less desirable and – unfortunately – decrease their value. Recently, though, we have seen an increase in demand for vintage Stussy, BAPE, and Chrome Hearts as we previously mentioned. BAPE has kept its position in the market, with the older pieces now proving more popular – even in comparison to BAPE’s newer releases. 

After years of crazy drops and anticipated releases, it seems that more and more people are looking for real archive pieces, one-of-a-kind items quite difficult to track down. Have you noticed this trend too? What are the rarest and most important pieces in your personal collection? 

We've definitely noticed an increase in demand for the older and more sought-after pieces in recent years. This is perfect for us, as we pride ourselves on our ability to track down and locate exceptional items. Some of the rarer pieces and personal favorites we've come across recently are some 90s and early 2000s BAPE college logo tees, older pairs of Nike Dunks such as the Heinekens (2003), the Reese Forbes - Hunters (2004), and many others besides. We've also been sourcing a lot of vintage Chrome Hearts hoodies and tees, as well as the original Bapestas – including the famous College Dropouts produced in collaboration with Kanye West – as well as selected pairs from the original BAPE x Marvel collaboration. Personally, however, there's a place in my heart for some of the older BAPE pieces like the miscellaneous graphic tees from the Nigo era and the OG Bapestas. 

In your opinion, has the streetwear culture changed over the last few years? Is it really going to end and turn into something else as many predicted? 

Streetwear has most definitely changed and will always continue to evolve. Trends ebb and flow constantly, and consumers are always adapting their styles. We've noticed that consumers nowadays are invested in streetwear and fashion from an earlier age. The culture has expanded and is now easily accessible to mainstream audiences, probably due to the impact of social media alongside celebrity and influencer affiliation. Who knows if this could be potentially damaging to brands and certain pieces in the long run? 

The SaruWorld collection is available on the brand's official website