#50: How Millinsky Went From Making Dad-Hats to Designing Merch for the Rolling Stones
This week marks the season finale of HYPEBEAST Radio. We’ll be taking a brief hiatus, but we’ll be back soon, with bigger and better content. In the meantime, here’s our season finale: an in-depth interview with Alexandre “Millinsky” Daillance and Will Jarvis of the ‘cult Instagram brand,’ NASASEASONS.
Readers may not be familiar with Daillance’s name (or his fashion-world pseudonym), but his products are instantly recognizable: dad-caps emblazoned with photogenic phrases: ALMOST FAMOUS, NO PICTURES, and the ubiquitous I CAME TO BREAK HEARTS.
The brand started three years ago, when Alex was a senior in high school in Paris. “The idea came out of my interest in streetwear and my desire to not just go to college, but to also have a project on the side. I decided that I wanted to put out a product that would be successful, but would also be very simple.” Taking inspiration from other Instagram-forward brands like Anti-Social Social Club, Millinsky cites a “very distinct theme that people can relate to, and I thought that the dad-caps were good because they weren’t that fashionable when I started, but it was starting to be fashionable.”
Millinsky also explains how the hats practically marketed themselves. ”You can go to a party and put a cap on someone, like a celebrity for example, they can wear it for one minute, take a picture and it’s done.” Caps were also easy on the production side: one-size-fits-all, and simple embroidery. “It was an easy way to start off as a brand, I didn’t need much funds to do it when I was in senior year of high school.”
But the brand well and truly took off when Millinsky got the hats into colette. “When you’re French, colette is the Mecca of fashion,” Alex explains, using the present tense when referring to the now-closed store. “It’s where everything happens. It’s the only very good store in Paris, and even Europe, sometimes.” Millinsky proposed the NASASEASONS caps to Sarah Andelman, “like, twenty times and she said, ‘no, no, nononono.’” Undeterred, Millinsky kept pitching. “She thought it was interesting to work with a brand that came up off of Instagram.” Andelman’s theory was that the system of followers was a good analytic for predicting the potential commercial success of a brand, so eventually she caved and gave him a try. “It’s kind of like a label producer working with a Soundcloud rapper.”
Then, in November 2015—just a few months after the brand was stocked at colette—Alex woke up one morning, hungover. “I opened Instagram and there was a lot of people tagging me on one of Rihanna’s pictures. I thought, ‘I’m not such a Rihanna fan, I mean it’s not a public fact about me, so why would people tag me on Rihanna’s post?’”
“So I open the post really drunk and I’m like, ‘Oh shit! That’s my hat.’ The pictures were very blurry, but eventually I found some good ones [on the Weeknd's Facebook page].” The next morning, Rihanna wore the hat again, this time with a different outfit. By Alex’s count, she wore the hat approximately six different times over the course of the year. Anyone in fashion, beauty, footwear and music will tell you, there are few things better than a Rihanna cosign. From there, Alex started sending press releases, complete with candid pap shots of celebrities like Beyoncé wearing the hats.
In the interest of global expansion, the brand put out a legitimate showroom collection (again, of dad-hats) in 2016. “We were between to Off-White and Marcelo Burlon, the New Guards brands,” Alex recalls. “And then there’s this weird cap showroom with nothing… just white walls and six caps on the floor. It was very Yeezus, he says with a smirk, “very minimal.”
Since then, Alex and Jarvis took a step back, looked at the history of the brand, and perhaps most lucratively, started lining up collaborations with some of fashion’s biggest names. They’ve also expanded their offerings into apparel. When we discuss the brand’s fascination with Hollywood excess—the Chateau Mormont hotel is a recurring motif—Alex repeats the Jim Morrison lyric emblazoned on the front of his crewneck sweater: “The West is the Best.”
Meanwhile, Alex’s work as Millinsky attracted the attention of Lucas Jagger, son of the Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger. Their relationship—again, birthed over Instagram DMs—spawned a creative collaboration: Millinsky designed the merchandise for the Stones’ current European No Filter tour.
Listen to the episode to hear all of that and more. While we take a brief break, make sure to revisit some of the HYPEBEAST Radio back-catalog on Podcasts, Soundcloud, Overcast and wherever else pods are found.
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