Meet the Depop Seller Responsible for Some of Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid's Best Looks
We caught up with SUSAMUSA to find out more about where it all began.
What began as a humble Depop account has quickly become one of the fashion world’s favorite rising stars, and that’s only partly because it’s been worn by Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. The now fully-fledged brand, Susamusa, was founded in 2020 by Persian designer Asal Tehrani, born out of a love of vintage clothing and silhouettes, and directly inspired by her experience of growing up in Iran.
“Persian women inspire me. Growing up in a Persian household, the women around me always looked so effortlessly chic,” Tehrani tells Hypebae. “In Iran, women have to wear mandatory hijabs in public, so indoors, they would take extra effort to dress for themselves and around their friends and this was a big influence,” she adds.
Since the brand began, it’s garnered a cult following amongst the it-girls of Gen Z, and it’s not hard to see why. With a focus on responsible design and timeless silhouettes, the brand prides itself on creating pieces that last. “I want to design clothes that make women feel confident and beautiful for themselves, but if I’m creating something new in a world full of clothes, then I want to be intentional about it and design something that you would want to keep and wear forever,” Tehrani tells us.
We caught up with Asal to find out more about the rise of Susamusa, the significance of her Persian heritage within the brand’s design ethos, and plans for the future.
Scroll down to read the full interview.
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We know Susamusa had its start on Depop, tell us a bit about how the brand came about and the inspiration behind the name.
Having looked through literally hundreds of thousands of vintage clothes to source for Depop, I became confident in my eye for silhouettes, shapes and fabrics and I wanted to experiment with my own designs. I started small, sewing our first designs myself on a made-to-order basis. The designs proved popular and I couldn’t keep up with the demand and so I hired our first seamstress and one thing led to another and now we work with two manufacturers in London. The inspiration behind the name comes from Iran. Susa is an ancient city in Iran and in Persian, we play on our words. So Musa is a play on the word Susa.
What do you think has contributed to your success?
In the first few years of Susamusa I wasn’t focused on building a brand so I just went for it, having fun experimenting with designs and this allowed me to take risks and develop my own sense of style. The day-one mindset of being fearless is something I am trying to keep as we grow. I think our community has been really important to our success. A lot of our customers have grown with us since Depop and they have really supported our story.
Minimal silhouettes and conscious consumption appear to be a big part of the brand’s ethos, why is that important to you?
We live in a world of over consumption and I feel like I have a responsibility to not contribute to the problem. So, if I am creating something new in a world full of clothes, then I want to be intentional about it and design something that you would want to keep and wear forever.
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How does Susamusa incorporate sustainability and responsible design into its practice?
We don’t launch big collections every season and aren’t driven by trends. We release limited designs each year. Our designs are timeless and seasonless that you’ll want to keep forever. We have been selling our first design, the Gina silhouette for nearly three years now and we have no intention of discontinuing it. Because we don’t design for seasons, we don’t overproduce and have the need to do end of season sales.
We manufacture everything in London just 10 miles from our studio. I work really closely with our manufacturer and I am there at least once a week and involved in every step of the process. In every decision we make, we try to make the most responsible one. For example, how we mark out our patterns when fabric cutting, we do so in a way that has little to no fabric waste. I was shocked how much fabric is wasted in this process. All our fabric is sourced in London and we use vintage fabric, trimmings and buttons as much as possible. As Susamusa grows, it’s important for me to continue these practices.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Persian women inspire me. Growing up in a Persian household, the women around me always looked so effortlessly chic. In Iran women have to wear mandatory Hijab in public, so indoors, they would take extra effort to dress for themselves and around their friends and this was a big influence; I want to design clothes that make women feel confident and beautiful for themselves.
Our Suri dress was inspired by Persian parties. There are no clubs or bars in Iran, so people would host their friends and family at home. When designing the Suri, I looked at old photo albums of my mum and aunties and used that as reference.
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Can you tell us a bit about your process when creating new pieces? How do those ideas come about?
I design with our SusaMuses in mind. I think about how and where they would wear our pieces and how it would make them feel. I go from idea to sketch to making our first sample pretty quick and will then develop the sample from there. I source through a lot of vintage fabric, sometimes I find the fabric first and know I want to make something with it.
Finally, what’s next for the brand?
It’s a really exciting time for Susamusa. We have been working on our next collection, which we are launching this month. I can’t wait to finally see it come to life and see how our community wears the new silhouettes. We also have a few collaborations in the works that I can’t wait to share!
While you’re here, check out our interview with celebrity stylist Kiera Liberati.