Behind The Shield with Riyaadh, winner of the International Fashion Exchange Program with Bubblegum Club

Oct 24, 2022

Behind the shield

Behind The Shield with Riyaadh, winner of the International Fashion Exchange Program with Bubblegum Club

Behind the shield

Oct 24, 2022

Riyaadh walk our readers through the moment you first came across the Bubblegum x Daily Paper International Fashion Exchange Program, to touching down in Amsterdam to begin your internship with Daily Paper.

It’s such a crazy journey to attempt to recall because if felt like it happened so quickly, I seen the competition a day before entries closed, on someone who had reposted it’s story. Upon seeing it, I told my girlfriend I was going to enter and she immediately cried, saying “I know you’re going to win”. All I wanted was to see if I made to top 10, upon receiving the news that I made it, I immediately prayed, when the voting process began for top 5, I knew if I could make it to the interview stage, I’d have a chance. Reason being, I think my intention was genuine and all I wanted was the access to the priceless knowledge I’d gain, but most importantly similarly to Daily Paper, my goal is to tell untold stories of disregarded communities through beautiful garments. Upon winning, I ran to the nearest praying facility and prayed while bursting into tears because I knew it would be an opportunity of a lifetime, a life changing one at that. The next day Bubblegumclub began my preparations and after a couple of passport mishaps, I finally got my flight details and a couple of weeks later. I landed in Amsterdam, my first time in Europe, for an opportunity I thought was out of reach.

Describe the tasks you performed during this month.

At first, it was solely design, so just differentiating DPs process and tech packs to that my own, working closely with the menswear team, shout-out Fola and Ezra for embracing me with their work, was really the affirmation I needed to see that I’m capable of doing this at the highest level. So really a big confidence boost for me personally, thereafter it was sitting with separate departments, like production, merchandising, sales and the creative team, where I learnt a lot about how to upscale creativity to commercialise it. I also participated in an upcoming campaign shoot which was really good, I was in my habitat as I do a lot of styling and creative direction back home, so was nice again to differentiate the process and affirm my skills.

Internships are not only about soaking information but also about bringing the very best of you. What contributions did you feel you brought to Daily Paper’s design team that they could learn from you?

I think my first hand knowledge of the story’s and message Daily Paper aims to translate to the world, my raw streetwear approach to design, my point of view. As well as my hunger and drive to showcase my work which maybe motivated the DP team individuals that we can always do more.

Is there anything you learnt about yourself during your time in Amsterdam and with Daily Paper?

I learnt that I’m capable, I learnt that my dreams are valid and in reach, I learnt that it’s important to be ready for your blessings because I think if I got this opportunity a year ago, I wouldn’t have been as ready for it mentally. This opportunity changed my life.

This was your first time in Amsterdam, how did you find the city?

Beautiful, everyone was super friendly, everyone maybe more at DP head office expressed their individuality through their personal style, which was really good for inspiration, the transport system was amazing, Bubblegumclub and Daily paper really took care of me and I’m forever grateful. It helped me realise my work is capable of being in Europe, which was a dream that seemed out of reach, but now it’s a road heading towards.

Summarise the most important aspects of this experience that you will carry with you to your future endeavours.

I don’t think I could shortlist it to one aspect, but in short it was life changing in every sense of the meaning. I think personally, self-confidence, the reassurance that I’m doing what I’m meant to do.

For those readers who may be interested in applying for next year’s International Fashion Exchange Program, what advice and tips would you give them?

Believe in yourself, work hard and pray. I truly hope this initiative carries on for as long as possible to change more lives just as it has mine. Also to realise that opportunities like these can change everything, so don’t doubt your ability and just go for it. You never know where you future lies.

What’s next for Riyaadh Ismail?

Firstly it’s focusing on the upcoming release of my SS23 collection “Forgotten”. However most importantly it’s sharing all I’ve learnt, it’s so important to me. If I don’t do the most with what I’ve learnt, I think it’s important to spark the brain of someone else who can do the most with it. Thereafter and for the inevitable future, it’s about upscaling my creativity into a force within the industry.