Daniel Essa had to leave Syria and became a refugee. He went to France, built up his own sneaker brand and is now selling his shoes all over the world.
The brand aims to create a purpose driven ethical business model, combining profitable growth with positive contribution to the planet, society, and community. By using sustainable and recyclable elements, the brand produces durable and timeless products that create a long-term change.
The versatile product design inspires customers to express their individuality and celebrate the diversity of the modern communities.
“It’s been my childhood dream to launch my own brand and make a lasting impact in the fashion industry”.
What gave you the idea for a customizable sneaker?
The “Nous” collection comes as an innovative response to the global state of the fashion industry. Following a challenging and unprecedented year, I did a lot of research and I wanted to offer both retailers and clients a safe option with minimal risk. Yet, I wanted to give them something bold and very unique and that’s how Nous was born.
In addition, I wanted to create a product that engages the client. The customizable sneaker allows the client to express their style and individuality in a fun and personal way. They can make the shoes their own and take part in the design process.
The customizable sneakers we offer also reflect our minimal and sustainable approach to fashion. The idea is that you can customize the sneaker for every occasion, every season, and every outfit.
What are the key design principles that are important to you?
Minimalism is part of the brand’s DNA and signature. When I started the brand, my vision was to create a product that is distinctive with its minimal details. I wanted designs that can’t go unnoticed without making them loud. Achieving minimal luxury is challenging because it requires a lot of innovation to maintain a strong brand signature while keeping the shoes durable and comfortable. It’s extremely important that when a customer invests in new sneakers, these sneakers offer them both comfort and functionality and not just a pretty design. I create timeless pieces that are trend-proof and I want them to be an essential timeless piece in every wardrobe and for that to work you must always consider comfort and functionality and never compromise one for the other.
Your aim is to offer more than just a sneaker - can you tell us a little bit more about that?
It’s an experience, it’s a way of life to wake up everyday and look effortelssely good. This collection reflects the brand’s vision to connect with customers on a personal level. We are offering more than just a sneaker. We’re offering an experience that allows customers to instantly personalize their sneakers and transform the shoes for any occasion. We are giving the customer a canva to paint in their own colors and show their unique style.
The leather straps are a standout feature – can you tell LN readers something about how they can be used?
The first of their kind “Nous” sneakers feature 8 hand painted leather straps that can be easily changed with the additional strap packs available in a variety of basic and fun colors. We will continue to launch new strap packs every season.
The idea is to wear the same sneaker but make it look different every time and have it match any look or outfit you go for. It’s a way to make dressing up more fun and more versatile. So the idea is to show your unique way of using the straps and highlighting your #NousOfTheDay.
Why is it important to you to use leather for your shoes?
Quality, durability longevity. It’s important to reflect my minimalist and sustainable vision through every detail in the product. And leather is a huge component that makes this vision true, because leather shoes will last you a lifetime and that’s what I am offering my clients. A product for life.
In addition, one of the brand’s signatures is the leather layering technique and how seamlessly we have managed to accomplish that.
Leather is breathable, heat-insulating, stretchy, tearproof and abrasion-resistant and acts a barrier against moisture evaporation. It is also robust, making the shoe more stable and functional. Leather is also eco-friendly as it is a natural material and no harmful chemicals were used to create it.
On your website you take care to explain your values and commitment to sustainability, how does leather fit into this ethos?
Our ateliers in Italy combine traditional techniques with the latest state of the art technology using AI. This technology scans and positions the pattern in a way that minimize the waste of the leather. Our certified leathers are hand tinted minimizing their impact on health and environment during production as well as the recycling and disposal phases.
Our products promote a more sustainable and minimal lifestyle with their design, durability, and high quality. The brand does not follow trends that will fade. I create timeless pieces that are in style now and will be in style for years to come and leather is a core element of this, as it ages so well.
Sustainability is very important to me and considering the planet is a priority for the brand. We are working constantly to improve our sustainability metrics – starting from responsible sourcing of raw materials, to designing, sampling, manufacturing, and distributing our products.
Any future plans you can share with us?
We have many exciting plans in the pipeline. I can’t share much at this point. I will just say that you can expect more than sneakers from Daniel Essa in the near future.