DUBAI: From Riyadh to New York and Milan, Saudi streetwear label SULÉ — loved by US singer Jason Derulo — is taking the fashion world by storm.
Faisal Suleiman, founder and creative director of the brand, spoke to Arab News about the steps he is taking to give his Saudi designs international exposure.
The entrepreneur showcased his designs in Italy this year at the Saudi 100 Brands exhibition at WHITE Milan 2022.
During the exhibition, SULÉ received recognition from famous figures in the international creative and fashion arena, including Istituto Marangoni and the Fashion Commission of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture.
“It felt surreal, not just presenting my own brand, but to be with other Saudi brands in one of the major fashion capitals in the world … it felt amazing,” Suleiman told Arab News.
SULÉ was founded in 2016 after Suleiman went on a trip to Miami with his cousins in 2015.
“I saw this guy wearing a cap backwards with a durag underneath,” he said. “Back then, I didn’t know what a durag was and so I went and asked him where he got his cap from. He removed the cap and there was the durag underneath.”
That was the moment Suleiman’s business idea sparked. “I got this idea to merge both. I went to the tailor and he sewed them together for me — the bandana and the cap.”
This was his first design. He then cut out the back of the cap and sewed the bandana within the cap to create his first tieback design.
In 2016, he filed for a US design patent for the tieback hat and launched his brand, which is derived from his name and stands for being “a family-oriented, adventurous, ambitious and passionate person.”
“I wanted something to stand out not just creating a t-shirt with a print or a hoodie. I wanted something unique, a bit funky that you could wear everywhere,” added Suleiman.
And he sure did. Suleiman’s tieback hats received recognition from international stars including Jason Derulo and Russ Diemon.
“Love these Saudi Caps! Good Luck,” Derulo had said.
“Many international creatives wore our products. Some of them were gifted and some were actually purchased. That’s a huge milestone for me and for us as a brand,” said the founder.
When it comes to Derulo, Suleiman recalled that he first met him in 2018.
“I gifted him five caps. Later on, I see a purchase from Jason Derulo to his address from our online store,” said the entrepreneur. “Then, I made sure that the customer service was amazingly done. The products were shipped out as fast as possible and so he commented on that saying ‘thank you, such an amazing brand.’”
Suleiman said Derulo wore the caps during his world tour. “Seeing him wear my caps in front of 50 or 60,000 people … I felt a sparkle in my heart,” said Suleiman.
The brand also received celebrity endorsement from Arab stars including Assalah Nasri, Mohammed Khoja, Fatma Almomen, Maryam Alnasser and Maram Zbaeda.
Another moment in his career that Suleiman says is very dear to his heart is hosting a pop-up in New York during fashion week. “Me doing a pop-up there was such a great milestone for me and having all 400 pieces selling out in a week … it was such a great feeling,” he said.
His other achievement, he said, was opening his first store in Riyadh Boulevard in 2021. “It was my first store. We spent 20 working days just to finish that store, and we opened … in 24 days,” he said.
Suleiman then opened another store in Jeddah at the Art Promenade Formula 1.
Today, SULÉ is a multifunctional lifestyle brand for men, women and children offering caps, hats, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets and more. The website also sells products from like-minded brands including Les Benjamins, Mouty, Alchemist, Air Force and Jordan.