I met Tauseef Nawaz over coffee (and English tea) near Shoreditch High Street – workplace of DreamWear. A clothing company designed to go beyond T-Shirts (and we’re not just talking about baseball caps and hoodies).
Tauseef’s early tale will be familiar to many young people. Dropping out of his hometown college, he found himself at a loss for not only direction, but confidence. Confidence in himself, and in his skills as a person.
The long list of rejections from potential employers which followed could surely have been enough of a toll on anyone in the same position, to give up or to lose hope. But Tauseef claims he knew he had to persevere, to do something greater, to believe in himself.
Today, with unemployment and disheartenment sweeping the lives of the young, Tauseef’s message is important: “Believe in yourself and in your abilities – never give up on yourself”.
The line “If we can do it so can you” is a well-known and dare I say it overplayed message, however Tauseef is determined to bring this to light in his brand (as well as to sell t-shirts of course.)
The highlight of Tauseef’s range, the ‘Born To Inspire’ t-shirt, seems to define exactly that – their aim as a company: to be inspirational. When explaining the purpose for his company, his speech nonetheless seems genuine: “I want to be a symbol of hope and belief to individuals – I want them to believe that regardless of your current situation you can persevere and achieve your dreams”.
A little too high a claim for a t-shirt one might think? But Tauseef’s own brand of inspiration comes in the form of music and events; inspired in turn by individuals that Tauseef himself finds remarkable, from great artists such as Kanye West to Radim Malinic his award-winning graphic designer. He goes on to speak of organising workshops and events designed to give young people the tools and inspiration they need to succeed. But further social enterprise is now for the future, as Tauseef believes that people respond to success – and there is no doubt that he aims to succeed.
There is no pretence here then that selling t-shirts is not the main objective. The brand launched in September of last year selling exclusively via their site and has already experienced great sales. Now he plans to branch out gradually by establishing strategic partnerships with selected stockists who share their vision, aiming one day to open his own ‘DreamWear’ physical space.
But this is a guy with his feet on the ground. When I asked if his plan was to hit Selfridges by 2020, I was met with a jovial laugh and the response “anything can happen”.
By Angharad Eynon-Soto