Founding my label
My label, hamansutra, was launched in 1996 and is based on a background of Indian and Persian elements. I laid the groundwork for hamansutra by printing thousands of stickers with portraits of me and my fellow writers on them and plastering them absolutely everywhere – and suddenly hamansutra came to life. I’d been a graffiti writer since 1989, but that kind of self-exposure was a calculated experiment. True graffiti writers have always been anonymous and unknown, and always will be, but our portrait stickers were more inspired by the football stickers you see in public places. They weren’t intended to represent street art; back then, authentic, bold self-projection was our real-life equivalent of today’s degenerate virtual Facebook world. By publishing our faces, we risked arrest by the task force set up to fight us. We were a great team. The first stickers were entitled “Helden der Grossstadt” (Big City Heroes). In 1999, when I was studying at Central Saint Martin’s College in London, I started to make systematic use of my CI for branding in my hamansutra label. It’s a hard slog these days for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to build a market; so many competitors, so much competition, and at the start at least, such small order volumes. Everything goes slowly. Labels like Hugo Boss, Harley Davidson, Porsche and Burberry had it easier when they started out; they quickly built a successful foundation for their development by manufacturing military products – uniforms and vehicles.

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