Depop Superstars: In Conversation with Asal aka Susamusa

14 Jun 2022
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Introducing DEPOP SUPERSTARS, our latest series where we chat to some of our favourite Depop sellers! First up we are talking with Asal, the creative force behind cult brandSusamusa,beginning on Depop Asal now makes clothing using vintage and deadstock fabrics.

Georgia Taylor-Stidwell: What has been your biggest pinch me moment since starting Susamusa?

Asal: My biggest pinch me moment is hard to pick out, there have been several but what really stands out is Bella Hadid wearing Susamusa! I still don’t think that has sunk in! It was this time last year that she first wore some of my pieces, I woke up and my mum had sent me a screenshot of a silk skirt she had bought. A month later she wore something else, and then two months later she wore more pieces and recently she commented on one of our posts of our Oring pants saying ‘these are the best pants’! It is so cool seeing someone who can have any item of clothing in the world choosing to wear my Oring pants twice! 

Bella Hadid wearing Susamusa Oring pants

I think she must have just found Susamusa on Depop, I get a lot of messages saying its her stylist but Bella doesn’t have a stylist she buys it all herself.

There have been some really incredible moments since I launched the brand, last year I did a pop-up with my friend Bella and there was a huge queue. It was so amazing to see girls IRL come and show their support! I still find it surreal when I see girls out and about in Susamusa, my friend actually texted me just the other day from Berlin saying she had seen a girl there wearing my clothes! 

G: Susamusa has always maintained a very specific aesthetic, can you tell us a little about what you look for when sourcing vintage or fabrics for your designs? 

A: I started sourcing five and a half years ago, it was just as I started uni. Depop has changed a lot in the past five years, back then there was much less competition and only a handful of top sellers. I started out looking for individual pieces, flares, or anything that really caught my eye. I was also looking to buy deadstock items in bulk. I really remember the first bulk I bought was from a brand which went out of business 30 or 40 years ago called ‘Why Not’, they had these amazing colourful high waisted flares. There were 200 of them deadstock and it was all of my savings to buy them! It was such a good decision as everything Susamusa really took off from there, they sold so quickly! 

There is a deadstock factory I go to now to get all the materials for my brand. The fabric there moves so quickly, if you see something you like you actually cannot sleep on it because it won’t be there the next day! When you buy deadstock fabric it will say on the tag why the fabric is there, a lot of the time it says ‘not claimed after cut’, meaning no one ever collected the fabric! It is crazy as it is actually cheaper for this fabric to be thrown out rather than stored in a warehouse, if it isn’t sold deadstock it is binned. I often see these 100m rolls and the reason the entire roll has been deemed unusable is because 40m in there will be one tiny hole!

Funnily enough my statement fabric (which I used for Bella’s co-ord) I loved, but at the time I saw it I just didn’t have the space to store it! I hid it in the factory under so many other fabrics and came back a month later to collect it, I was so happy it was still there! The fabric is from 1999 and I love it! 

Bella Hadid in Susamusa Paperclip Shirt and The Bella skirt in floral mesh

A: Could you tell us about how you moved from vintage resale to designing and producing your own products? 

With vintage you have that one item and then when it sells you’re done. There is a beauty to this because the pieces are so unique and one off, but I would get so many messages once something sold asking if I had anything similar! 

I started experimenting at home with my sewing machine, I started with the Oring trousers and it was really a process of trial and error, I would put things up on Depop or Instagram and see what the response was. 

When I started making my own items it was all made to order with really small quantities of end of the line deadstock fabrics. There was so much demand for this that it was natural to move to a larger production and keep some items in stock. I don’t have a fashion background, I studied Chemistry at uni so this is not something I saw myself going into! I think being around so much vintage really educated me on what shapes and styles were flattering and popular. The beauty of my process is I can be a little experimental. If I make something and it doesn’t sell, it doesn’t matter, I’ll just wear it myself! There aren’t these huge runs being made! We make limited runs in vintage fabrics. I think if you have one good product it is best to do it really well in different colours and fabrics, it isn’t necessary to be making huge volumes of loads of different clothes! 

G: What is your favourite design you have made and why?

Gina Top

A: It’s got to be the Gina top, it’s just taken off! The reception for it has been so nice. I also love anything that is in my 1999 deadstock mesh material. Motel Rocks have actually ripped it off, the only thing they have done is added some butterflies into the print!

G: Girlboss/ hustle culture can be very intense! What do you do to relax? 

I don’t really relax! I have actively been trying to relax in the past few months, I think I have been experiencing burnout from the past 6 years and it has hit really badly in the past couple of months. 

It is so hard with Instagram and this comparison culture, it always feels like someone is working harder or doing more!

I have started to take weekends off which is something I didn’t do before! It has taken me so much time to realise it isn’t cool to work 20 hours a day. Before I felt so guilty when I wasn’t working, but I realised life is not just to work! I just want to grow Susamusa one customer at a time.

It is so important to take a step back sometimes and think, everything is okay!

Make sure to follow @susamusa on Instagram to keep up to date with all the fabulous designs!