Spotlight: 10 Questions with Daniel Tupara, culture curator

Spotlight is a segment that shines a light on local Kiwi guys doing cool things, chasing down their dreams and owning life. Every spotlight will feature 10 questions to uncover a little about who these guys are and of course a bit about their style. 

Dan is one of the most humble, genuine and engaging guys you'll ever come across. Dan already has a full-time career, yet he spends an equal amount, if not even more of his time doing what he loves; connecting people together through the mutual love and appreciation of streetwear culture and particularly bloody cool sneakers. 

As a blogger, I get a real kick out of being able to meet and talk with like minded people like Dan who seek to chase their passions and in doing so helping others follow theirs. Dan is a man of many talents, he's behind Sole Central, a community of sneakerheads, operates a brand consultancy called R26, who work with some of the biggest names in the sneaker industry, as well as maintaining a full time career.  It's a balance that's driven by the very core of him and it's infectious. For all you sneakerheads out there, get familiar. 

Dan Tupara

Here's 10 questions with Daniel Tupara the sneakerhead

1. You studied fashion and design in the early 2000’s - what was one of the key learning points that you’ve translated into your career?

I took on-board so much from both studying and being exposed to industry during that time that it's hard to talk to a single point. But I'd have to say trust your gut instinct, set your standards high and back yourself. I've always been humbled and taken back by positive responses to projects that I've had creative control over to the point it's hard to take the praise on-board. But the truth is when you know you are delivering over and above on an idea at your personal standard, then it's sure to be a success when viewed by the masses. Be original, and do things bigger and better than anyone else has - trust yourself.

2. We're heading into NZ Fashion Week next week, what's your view on how we're doing?

I'm always excited by the evolution of NZ fashion, for both men and women. We have such a great talent pool and creative vibe that the level of product and execution is top tier at a global level. We have carved out a niche market in NZ being known for delivering innovative and fashion forward trends with a cool persona behind it which comes across as effortless. If we do something new and it's received locally then it seems to translate successfully in global markets. We are doing good things.

3. Where do you draw most of your personal fashion inspiration from?

I look for inspiration in different markets, Northern Hemisphere, South East Asia, and locally. I'm a sucker for detail and execution so it comes down to materials and finishing for me. Color palette-wise I'm fairly reserved as are most Kiwi's in that I am a massive fan of black. I tend to pull inspiration from those around me as well as what's trending in the streets. I'm a firm believer of supporting NZ brands and business as well as subscribing to the saying it's not what you wear, it's how you wear it - but it still needs to look good!

4. You were heavily involved in one of the freshest streetwear labels to launch recently called Among Equals. How did that come about?

I was introduced into the conversation via a recommendation by a friend who sits on a number of street fashion brand boards. He was approached regarding an idea for a project, and knowing my passion and background working in and around streetwear brands and culture, he then organised a coffee catch up with the project manager. At that stage it was simply an idea. Over the following months we worked closely on project boards pulling the concept together with a wider team from which I became the Creative Consultant on the project and is now the "Among Equals" label available exclusively via Cotton On in hundreds of locations across the world. I believe it's the first NZ based fashion project to be launched globally with Hypebeast who we worked with exclusively creating the global launch and campaign. An amazing experience and project to be a part of, and a great team behind it.

5. What app should all guys have on their phone?

Hypebeast App - it's packed with great content from fashion to architecture, cars, music and art to name a few. Basically, anything you want to access in terms of past, current and future culture, then you will find inspiration.

Dan Tupara_New_Balance1.jpg
Dan Tupara
Dan Tupara Among Equals

6. Who’ve you just recently started following on the gram? 

Recent follows of note would be:

- @thelocalproject - a design/interiors and architecture account which I reference for lifestyle design inspiration.

- @joe_walsh_ who is a New Balance Designer responsible for the 247 model pushing boundaries between design and comfort.

- @bobbyanwar who is a close friend, amazing photographer, sneakerhead and global traveler, who does cool shit that I love to see. 

7. How many pairs of sneakers do you have?

That is a question I am genuinely unsure of. The best I can answer would be to say I think I have under 300 pairs these days. I have attempted to cut back over the past few years but offloading is usually balanced out by onboarding. I also know local collectors in NZ who exceed literally thousands, so I am safe to say I have a humble collection.

8. You helped start up a sneaker community here in NZ, what was the driving force behind that? 

I think the main driver was the community and bringing like-minded people together in a single location where you could talk everything sneakers regardless of your age, occupation, collection size etc. If you are an enthusiast wanting to share info or wanting info, our community is unique in that we are very active in our FB community as well as physically. We regularly hold meet-ups large and small where people can come together, hang out and share some laughs, talk kicks and put a face to the name. We have a separate enthusiasts forum as well as a marketplace. Both of which are the largest and longest running groups in the country with over 15k active members across a spectrum of ages, nationalities and style preferences. Sole Central NZ is the premium forum for anything sneakers.

9. Have you got any exciting projects in the pipeline you can give us hint at?

I've got a couple of really cool projects I am excited about coming up over the next 6 months. Both with different well-known sneaker brands and involving the global launch of a new sneaker model as well as something very unique to the NZ sneakerhead on another project. Besides the sneaker and fashion projects I am working on something special which will allow me to work with a wider range of companies and brands in the creative space which I am really looking forward to announcing in a few months time.

10. What trends are you vibing this Winter season?

Winter always brings a great excuse to layer up which we will see continuing this Winter in the colder southern hemisphere regions. Military inspired trends continue to come through with earth tones such as olive/khaki/tan as base colours with pops of colour adding to the layering story. Monochrome colors are also very strong as always for NZ but keep an eye out for the evolution of tech wear and street tailored finishes being introduced into urban ranges as well as distressed and pigment dyed fleece inspired by the likes of Jerry Lorenzo and Mr West continuing on as part of the hip-hop influenced evolution of urban culture.

Dan Tupara

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