For more proof that millennials are shaking up the fashion scene, look no further than 23-year-old Houston designer Daze Suave.
“I’m still learning about the business aspect of everything,” said the creator of Yeci Studios. Even so, his designs have been seen on big names in sports and entertainment, including NBA player Kelly Oubre Jr. and rappers like Young Thug and YG.
Though Daze has seen much of his success in the last year, his love for fashion began at a young age. He counts Kanye West and Louis Vuitton menswear designer Virgil Abloh among his influences, admiring the way they "[don't] care what others think." Daze adopted a similar outlook in his youth, making out-of-the-box style choices.
"I was the first kid to wear skinny jeans to middle school. People were looking at me like I was crazy, but I didn't let it bother me at all," he said. "Some appreciated me for being the one to break the barrier. Eventually everyone gradually caught on like I knew they would."
Today, Daze's popular "Ball n Parlay" messenger bags go for $455, though they're not listed on the Yeci Studios website and instead are released only through Daze's Twitter, where he regularly hears from eager buyers hungry for a new release.
Houstonia caught up with the young designer to talk about how it feels to see celebrities in his clothes and what's next for his brand.
When did you realize you had an eye for fashion?
I noticed it more toward the end of middle school. I just remember always having those outfits that wowed people. I was the quiet kid, but everyone knew me. I started off thrifting because I didn't have the budget for the "cool" stuff. I just never felt like it took a name brand to make someone fly. I was making clothes coming into high school, although I didn't have the money to mass-produce them. Just off the responses I used to get, I knew one day it would all pay off.
How did you develop that drive at such a young age?
I love to create. I love seeing people’s faces and responses. Sometimes I wouldn't even tell people it was my design because some people tend to be biased or nice, so I would just wear things around to get a raw emotion.
Do you attribute your brand's popularity to your most recognizable design, the Ball n Parlay?
Yes, in a sense. Back in the day, I used to drop things under my name. When I made this, I wanted it to be the opening of something never-ending. I knew it would be a great start. It’s based off my hometown, which is major. I knew that it would pop from the jump. My main worry was getting it out there and getting it to gain its full potential. [I knew] it would take time, but hard work never scared me.
What's it like seeing your designs worn by big-name stars?
It feels great. Especially the feedback I get from them and how much they wear it. My brand page gets lots of [messages] daily, it’s crazy. I get calls when people are coming in town or when they’re in L.A. I always make sure to keep the relationships, because that’s what matters.
How do you get a celebrity to wear your clothes?
It's very easy. Being that it’s such a popular piece, sometimes people reach out to me or vice versa. It's even better when they know you or the brand and they support you. But the process isn't hard, it’s all about how you move and timing. You always need that supply, that’s most important, because it's meaningless to not be prepared. You have to believe in yourself and especially your product.
What motivates you?
Seeing the positive messages and support. I like to see people happy and feeling good; knowing that I or my brand play a part in that is my satisfaction. That keeps me going, along with the fact that I love to create.
What's next for Yeci Studios?
I'm planning to have some pop-up shops this summer and winter, and I am working on the women's collection. I have a summer collection coming out, too. My winter collection is my main focus right now, which is almost done, so I’m going to be showcasing and posting some things soon. I'm working on a small exhibit to premiere my winter pieces.