THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM
How LOCAL HEROES Became Global Heroes
By Eden Herbstman
The rise of fashion brand Local Heroes is something like a fairytale. Once upon a time two young girls in Poland had a dream to create street wear that spoke to their generation. T-shirts and beanies with catchy slogans like Bad Outfit Day, Take Me Back To Bed, and Doing Real Stuff Sucks (mine and Justin Bieber”s personal favorite) coupled with savvy social media posts gained them popularity and exposure across the globe. With a little help from the social media gods, the powers of Tumblr/Instagram/Twitter verse, and a few new cool celeb friends along the way like Cara Delevingne, Rihanna, and “Bad Boy Bieber”, or rather post D.U.I Bieber, Local Heroes became a reality and a real business. But these designers aren’t the damsels in distress in this fairytale, they’re the heroes to save the day.
I talked with Areta Szupra, half of the two part duo behind Local Heroes, and these girls definitely caught the “can’t knock the hustle” bug. Proving hard work and fun fashion can generate success, Local Heroes internet and social media presence has evolved into a lifestyle hot spot for the international young demographic. Anyone can be a local hero now. Hot girls flaunting their love for McDonalds, pizza, cool clothes, and beach days are just a glimpse at the daily life of Local Heroes (sign me up.) From clothing to accessories, Local Heroes offers an arsenal of attitude and rebellion. Areta shares with PMc her travel stories from Poland to California, what its like to chill with Rihanna on a beach for the day, and bigger and better dreams for Local Heroes.
Eden Herbstman: How did you come up with the brand name Local Heroes?
Areta Szpura: We had the first designs and the only thing that was missing was a name. I was in New York at the time, and one day I just woke up and decided I had to do it today. I was wandering through the streets of SoHo and found this little coffee shop called LOCAL. I liked it so much I knew I had the first part of the name. After the whole day of brainstorming and texting with my friend and business partner Karolina, we decided on LOCAL HEROES. To be honest, now our name makes way more sense than it did at the beginning. After all the crazy stuff we’ve been through and what we’ve done we somehow became polish local heroes, proving and inspiring young people to follow their dreams no matter where they are from and that’s what I’m proud of the most.
EH: That must feel pretty good being a young designer with a successful brand and following inspiring other young designers around the world.
AS: It’s such a huge responsibility! I think that we’ve only started to realize this now. We used to spend so much time working in our apartments and office that we never saw anyone wearing our stuff! When we finally got outside, every other teenager was wearing a “bad hair day” beanie. Every time I see somebody wearing Local Heroes I can’t stop smiling. The most surreal moment was when Justin Bieber had a concert in Poland and almost half of the venue was wearing something from our brand. I got so emotional I almost cried.
EH: “Doing Real Stuff Sucks” is a fantastic life motto! But on the contrary you have evolved into serious business How do you think you’ve grown as a designer?
AS: Started from the bottom now we’re here! Haha. We never planned for this to get so big. And we never went to school for managing or designing so we had to learn everything on our own. (School of Life!) But DRSS has always been my motto, and as soon as I discovered that I wanted to work in fashion I started interning, assisting, blogging and doing everything I could to get more and more experience. Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Well, let’s be honest, even the coolest jobs have some downsides. We have to do paperwork, pay our taxes, look for missing orders, answer hundreds of emails a day and make decisions. But we’re doing all of this for ourselves. Being your own boss is the best thing that has happened to me and I wouldn’t change it for anything else. When it comes to designing, I think we’ve evolved a lot! Our first t-shirts were just blank Chinese t-shirts that we would cut-and-sew on our own. Now you can get a Local Heroes iPhone case, mesh panel sweatpants, cropped hoodies, skirts and the list of what’s to come is even more exciting! We want to literally be local heroes and support our local community so we try to manufacture everything we can back home in Poland.
EH: What was it like growing up in Poland, and how did that influence your style?
AS: I was traveling all around the world when I was a kid so I knew there were places where people wore something other than just black and grey. I remember being shocked when I was maybe like, twelve and saw people walking their dogs in pajamas somewhere in LA. This would never happen back home because Poland is very gloomy and people like to blend in. Luckily, the new generation that has been brought up on the Internet is way more open and curious when it comes to fashion and I have very high hopes that they will help me change how others see Poland. I have a sixteen-year-old sister, Emma, and her and her friends dress so Tumblr-esque that I’m amazed every time I see them. During winter we all live our lives online because it’s too cold to go outside. Also, it’s way more harder to make a living there—the minimum wage is three times less than in U.S. and prices are almost similar so people are way more conscious about their spending but it makes us more creative too!
EH: Cara Delevingne and Rihanna are huge supporters of Local Heroes. What”s it like having all the cool girls represent your brand?
AS: INSANE! And the best part is that we did all of that on our own. Just two crazy teenage girls making their dreams come true and proving that you can do whatever you want. Never say never! We found Rihanna’s address on Google Maps and sent her a package. Then she started following us on Instagram and posted our famous lighter so we knew she got it. She knew who we were when we met her in London and knew so much about us (try to imagine our faces, priceless!). Then we hung out with her on a beach when she came to Poland. Not bad, huh? Cara was a different story. We didn’t have enough money to go to New York for Fashion Week so we took advantage of the cheap European flights ($20, hello) and went to Paris. We knew that Cara would love our stuff; we just needed to find a way to get to her. And we did. We snuck into the huge H&M fashion show and gave her this huge Local Heroes goodie bag. She wore it everyday for the rest of Fashion Week.
EH: That all sounds pretty surreal! Can you spill any details on upcoming projects or future plans for Local Heroes?
AS: We want Local Heroes to go GLOBAL! We’re working on our new products (underwear, jewelry, shoes, denim), new designs and a lot of very exciting collabs!
EH: Aside from knowing your fashion you know your top of the line fast foods. What”s your fave?
AS: PIZZA! duh.
Local Heroes is a street wear brand sold internationally online.
Written by Eden Herbstman
Photography Courtesy of One PR
Design by Mina Darius
Photography Courtesy of One PR