Six months ago, 24-year-old designer Daniëlle Cathari sat down with WWD for an in-depth conversation about her background, plans and journey with Adidas Originals throughout her fall 2018 collaboration. Toward the end of the conversation, Cathari mentioned plans to postpone graduation and focus on her own collection, adding, “I’m at the beginning of the process — really at the beginning — but whenever I have more and something to show, I’ll let you know.”
Today, Cathari’s future plans become present with the launch of her namesake brand with a debut capsule collection titled “DC Drop 1,” to be introduced exclusively on her web site Daniellecathari.com on Friday.
“I call it a drop because it’s not a full collection; it’s a capsule of six pieces,” the Amsterdam-based designer stated. “Of course I’m dropping my first collection, but it comes with actually launching my whole brand. So everyone gets a first impression of this — not just the items or clothing — but the whole package and vibe….We wanted to be clear, ‘This is the brand. This is Daniëlle Cathari.’”
Cathari has explained her aesthetic to be very much about complementing contrasts, with an emphasis on modern yet simplistic details and comfort. The unisex capsule includes classic streetwear silhouettes — T-shirts, sweatpants and crewneck sweatshirts — all elevated with her attention to detail and unique twists, as seen through her work on the VFiles runway and Adidas Originals collaboration.
“For instance, to have this classic sweatpant, super classic fit but then add more of an elegant detail to it — the hand-braided detail — it’s more already contrasting, but it feels super nice together,” she said of two matching-set sweatsuits with braids running along the sides in place of traditional track pant stripes, offered in soft, tonal beige or steel blue with teal accents. The capsule also includes two logo T-shirts — one stonewashed gray with light gray logo, the other white with lilac. All of the pieces come in heavyweight jersey fabric and non-brushed terry — a detail that Cathari emphasized gives a premium feel — that were washed for a softer touch. For this first drop, Cathari experimented with production in Vietnam, but has moved over to now manufacture in Portugal, where she is also sourcing fabrics. Weights of the clothing will be displayed on Cathari’s web site — another detail she felt important for her customers. Sweaters and sweatpants are offered from sizes XS to XL for 120 euros to 150 euros, respectively, while T-shirts range from S to XL for 70 euros. For this first drop, available worldwide, she chose to sell it exclusively on her web site, but is open to wholesale for the future and she is already working on a second drop.
Being streetwear, logo and branding were important factors. Cathari’s took a more minimalistic approach with outlined “DC” and “Daniëlle Cathari” in elevated, custom gothic and type fonts, printed on the fronts and backs of the T-shirts and crewnecks.
“It is not shouting, the little branding,” she described, emphasizing the namesake logo, which also incorporates a large spider, which is printed most prominently on the back of the crewnecks, but also on the inside of one of the sleeves of the sweater. “It’s not the most visible or conventional placement for a print,” she added, “but these subtle details are important.”
Cathari chose to design a spider into her logo and branding because of its warped appeal. “It looks kind of elegant, but on the other hand it’s also quite scary. ‘Ahhh, it’s a spider!’ It has that double vibe, the double feeling,” she explained, connecting back to her overall aesthetic of complementing contrasts. The designer gives the symbolism’s duality as open to interpretation for her customers — choose it at will as elegant, scary or both.
From the beginning, Cathari’s drive and hard work are what landed her on the VFiles runway, from cutting and sewing her reworked tracksuits on her bedroom floor to working in-depth with the Adidas Originals team (from production and design to marketing and p.r.) for her collaboration that ended up being restocked three times due to high demand. (To note: She mentioned frequent calls to the highly supportive Adidas team, who has willing to give advice and answers to any question along the way).
Her namesake brand is no different.
“My apartment is actually the whole distribution from Day One. I’m really looking into that, but I have someone helping me with production. I really noticed you can’t do this alone — not that I wanted to do it alone — but you can’t. I think it’s good to see how every single step, everything is happening. Most of the things I’m doing myself, but it’s growing and I think it has been growing slowly,” she humbly remarked. “I think from this point, we will be growing super fast.”
“I have big plans now,” she concluded.