BPLVS MAG: “Loyalty initially royalty infinitely” is the slogan for Frontrvnners. Essentially it means to do what you love and stay dedicated to it if I am not mistaken? How about the brand name itself: Frontrvnners? What is it to be a Frontrvnner?
ATIF SAAD: A frontrvnner is someone who is loyal to their craft. Their craft embodies who they are as a person. On top of that, a Frontrvnner is also someone who does whatever is needed to be done to make sure he is the leader for his/her craft. Like someone who just aims to excel at whatever their goal in life is, from helping people, creating great products, or being the best at whatever sport they do. I also like to think of the world as an army. We’re all fighting our own battles in life but Frontrvnners are the special forces of that army. The people that get stuff done!
BPLVS MAG: In recent clothing items you have used the icon of a woman with wings, what is the significance of it?
ATIF SAAD: That’s our guardian angel. The guardian angel signifies that there’s an angel always looking over you. That guardian angel can be someone in your life or it can even be your own ideology about how to stay positive in all situations. Interestingly enough it came from our creative director and founder Joshua Jackai’s childhood. Josh used to indulge in a lot of things that could have ended in very bad ways but the fact that he’s here right now proves that there were “people” out there looking over him so that’s just an example and I guess the origins of that angel.
BPLVS MAG: The streetwear space is almost oversaturated. Everyone has their own “clothing line”. How has Frontrvnners been able to separate themselves from the slew of streetwear brands out there?
ATIF SAAD: The thing is we believe we’re more than just streetwear. We want to bigger than what the industry is right now and I think that’s what separates us, that is, where others want to fit into the streetwear look and “vibe”, we want to stand out. When we’re designing we’re always thinking about what we would want to wear as opposed to following trends.
BPLVS MAG: We’ve seen all the successes on the gram, from being awarded “Top Small Business” to Buk Nkosi, Business Development Specialist of the collective being recognised as “Top 25 Under 25”. What about the downtimes? What has been the biggest challenge for Frontrvnners so far?
ATIF SAAD: We honestly don’t look at situations as “downtimes” but if I’m to give a challenge then maybe it’s the fact that we don’t pay ourselves, everything is paid upfront when it comes to production and we spend all nighters working on Frontrvnners. The “downtimes” are not really downtimes if I think about it because we learn so much every single day that we work on Frontrvnner’s and we can only be grateful for that.
BPLVS MAG: By being awarded “Top Small Business” you also received a $5 000 award. What do you guys plan to do with this sum of money and what was your biggest takeaway from the competition?
ATIF SAAD: Great question! The coolest thing and I guess biggest takeaway was to know that we presented a counterculture alongside 60 other businesses in tech, banking and the like and made the panel of judges believe in our product over the others. In this moment we realised that Frontrvnners can be so much more than it is today. It gave us a new energy to work even harder. And the 5000? We reinvested all of it!
BPLVS MAG: Where does that financial discipline come from? Many people would have spent a little of that money for personal gain as opposed to reinvesting in the business.
ATIF SAAD: (laughs) That’s very true. I guess the humble beginnings come from the fact that all 3 members of the team come from places where it was the intangible things other than money that made us who we are now. Myself I’ve lived in Pakistan, Malaysia and when I first moved out in Canada things weren’t that easy for my family and me. Buk comes from Zimbabwe and Joshua comes from Hayward where things weren’t too pretty for him too growing up. For us, being at university is a blessing and furthermore having the opportunity to create a whole movement is something we value way more than money. I guess to keep it short, it’s because we know where we come from, where we are and where we want to go so discipline just comes with the knowledge of this.
BPLVS MAG: What was it like having a member of OVO, Roy Woods, wear your merchandise? How did you guys even link up?
ATIF SAAD: Connections and grinding! It was all thanks to Buk. It’s such a crazy story. So we linked up through one of Roy’s people who just invited us over to link up at their hotel room and man, Roy is the most humble dude you’ll ever meet. So we told him we had some merch for him, he really liked what we stood for and the whole message of Frontrvnners and gave him the merch. A little while after the initial link up our phones started blowing up with our friends hitting us up to check Roy’s insta story and there he was in our merch. It was pretty great! It was the best representation of Frontrvnners we could have ever gotten. It reinforced an idea in my head; great people want to see others win.
BPLVS MAG: What is the final vision for the Frontrvnners? Is there a big end goal?
ATIF SAAD: More of a following than anything man. For us, it’s all about impact. Like personally I’m always thinking of what I’m going to be able to think of myself when I’m on my deathbed you know? And I’m most comfortable with the thought of having impacted people’s lives and helped them to dream bigger and become Frontrvnners in this life we live.
BPLVS MAG: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs out there, especially those in the fashion business?
ATIF SAAD: Stay loyal to yourself. Like, don’t live according to other people’s standards and what they deem to be a “good life”. We all have plan A’s and plan B’s. Plan B’s are usually what we are told is the safest path by other. But a frontrvnner is someone who always follows their plan A because it’s what they deem as the right path. Keep following your plan A in life and go with the flow. You never know where it will lead you. And as always, whatever craft you pick, make it a goal to be a frontrvnner of it!
BPLVS MAG: And finally, where can people reach you?
ATIF SAAD: You can always email us at [email protected] we reply all emails.
Our Instagram is frontrvnners you can follow us there too!