We caught up with Zayyar Win Thein, Founder & Creative Director at Newspread. We discussed building a media platform with a central focus on New Zealand and Australasia, creating content you would want to read yourself, and got some insights into Zayyar's design process for Newspread's recently dropped Garamond hoodies.

Paired with our interview are photos by photographer: Tiori Daken Spooner (@ttspooner).

Newspread: INSTAGRAM

TNB: Thanks for catching up Zayyar! Newspread has really been kicking some goals in 2019, we are excited to get your insights from behind the scenes. Let’s start with the basics, can you tell us a little bit about Newspread, what it is and when did you start?

Z: My pleasure and thanks for having me. Newspread is an independent online media platform founded by myself back in 2018, we primarily cover topics and issues within culture, fashion, design and more. I think the best way to describe our content is informative and educational, our goal is that you leave our site knowing something new that is valuable to you. Whether that is framed in a business mindset, a fact you didn’t know about a brand, a new store opening up or a person you find an interest in.

TNB: What was the original inspiration behind starting Newspread?

Z: Originally it was an online PDF publication before it was a website, for me personally it was really about sharing information and ideas with my friends. I’m one of those people that constantly saves and bookmarks articles, interviews, brands, stores, music etc. Naturally from this I wanted to share this in a way with my friends so the PDF publication was an avenue for me to achieve that.

Over a few months of doing that, I realised that I should be creating the content I wanted to share. It dawned on me that there wasn’t a platform out there with the narrative storytelling I wanted to achieve and also have a certain lens focussed on New Zealand and Australasia.

TNB: That's a really interesting pivot, we hear similar stories from brands we’ve spoken to. This ‘I was doing it for myself anyway, so decided to put it out there’ type of pathway seems common in really great projects! As we know; if you don’t love doing it, it won’t work.

Elaborating a bit on your behind the scenes: Can you tell us a little bit about how collaborating with other creatives works at Newspread? Are you reaching out to specific creatives, photographers to assist with articles you’re writing? Or is it more a collaborative circle between friends and friends of friends?

Z: It starts with an idea and a concept of what we want to achieve and then finding who can bring that to life, whether its design, digital, photography etc. It initially started as friends of friends and a wider network but lately, it is us contacting certain people depending on the task at hand.

I’m grateful to know extraordinary and talented individuals within their fields and to also meet so many more through the platform. Newspread is definitely a platform where we want to foster creativity so it’s great we can attract people within communities to connect and collaborate.

TNB:  Newspread is extremely consistent in putting out content (we’re envious), how do you go about getting your ideas for your content and once you do, executing on a consistent basis?

Z: We really focus on what's important to us and ask ourselves “Will it align with our brand and who we are?”, and “Is this something we would actually read?”. Creating content is fun and exciting but you also have to have your reasons and your “why”. This mindset allows us to really engage with our audience more and reduce the disconnect from author to reader. Feedback is really important to us as well, we take everything on board and want our readers to have a collaborative experience with us - after all, they are consuming the content.

TNB: Your interview series have given us some great insight into some really impressive creatives from around the globe.

Can you tell us little bit about your ‘A Conversation With’ and your most recent  ‘Necessities’ series? How did ‘Necessities’ come about as an idea and how did you go about choosing who you would interview?

Z: ‘A Conversation With’ is our main interview series where we take an individual from a business or creative background and talk about their journey, some of the hardships they may have faced, what sets them apart from others and how they built what they have today. For me personally, I love this type of content as it allows you to really connect with that individual and their brand or work - it gives you insight, advice and tips on so much that you could apply to your own journey and that is the sole purpose. Recently we’ve been reducing the number of times we use ‘A Conversation With’ as I believe this is the standard of interviews we should be putting out time and time again.

The idea of ‘Necessities’ came around when I was talking to a friend of mine who is a photographer and I was curious about what their current setup was as well as what was important to them when completing a job.
After that conversation, I realised everyone would have different answers to the questions I was asking and the idea of ‘Necessities’ came into fruition. It's a spotlight into creatives and individuals in regards to what they personally think is crucial to their work or personal life. How we choose interviewees changes from time to time, again its either friends of friends and us expanding our network or sometimes people put their hand up and express interest.

TNB: When did your passion for culture, fashion and design begin? Why do you think you were drawn to this space?

Z: I’ve always been heavily interested in fashion from a young age, my mother left around magazines and I always enjoyed the advertising campaigns from luxury brands - the way something was shot, the products, the model, the fonts etc. - it all appealed to me. In high school, my interests in all the above rapidly grew thanks to Tumblr and the Internet, growing up musically on hip hop and punk rock also had a big influence.

What drew me to this notion was that all these different fields and subcultures are connected and influence one another as an ecosystem. It wasn’t me being invested in a brand or product, I was more interested in everything happening behind the scenes and how ideas came to fruition. I enjoy looking at trends and seeing how these movements have slowly been happening over time, an obvious example is Virgil and the age of luxury streetwear, or even recently how K-Pop has emerged on a global scale.

These shifts in culture are what I’m truly interested in, how does point A get to point B and what does it effect along the way as well as into the future. That really stems into what I want to achieve with Newspread, I hope by being an educational and informative platform on these ideas, we can help influence a shift or inspire a kid who ends up being bigger than Virgil or encourages a group of friends to collaborate and start a business. I want our platform to help in any way possible and provide a line of thinking that supports this behaviour.

TNB: Newspread also has an online store and its own line of threads, how do you go about sourcing items for the store?

Z: When it comes to picking and choosing brands it really has to align with us and our vision. Stocking magazines such as 032c, Hypebeast and Unconditional among others allow us to sit with these brands on a global scale and it directly shows our audience what we’re interested in as well as who.

TNB: The Newspread logo tees, “Ideas” Tee and hoodie were a big hit. You also just released your Garamond logo series, what does your creative process look like when you design your own pieces?

Z: Merchandise is a way to put our digital brand into physical tangible goods. In terms of designing, I collaborate and work with a few graphic designers and creatives to bring ideas to reality. It’s definitely a process I enjoy and it’s always nice to see people share their feedback and share their love of the products.

The Garamond hoodie, in particular, was something I’ve been working on since late last year, I wanted us to develop our own hoodie instead of using a blank from a company. Naturally, the development and creative process took a long time as fit and quality were at the forefront of what we wanted to achieve, my goal was to create a ‘90’s boxy fit hoodie that could be worn everyday outdoors, in bed, at the gym so you could really “live” in it without compromising comfort and structure. We opted for an extremely soft but heavyweight poly-cotton blend, explicitly with no drawstrings to keep it minimal, a reinforced heavy ribbed hem and sleeve finish with silk satin neck labels.

The logo application was just the icing on top, I wanted us to present something simple yet refined to our audience. I think the font and its history perfectly aligns with us in relation to it being used for body text and books which circles back to our educational aspect of what we’re trying to achieve.

TNB: What’s the future look like for Newspread?

Z: It’s still very early to say but personally I’d love to see us turn into a global media brand working on content worldwide by continuing to create meaningful stories, share ideas and inspire our audience to go and achieve their dreams or passion.

What that looks like or how we will achieve it is uncertain to me, I do have a vague idea of this in my head but due to the rapid growth in the last year, it’s hard to envision what may come down the line for us.
At the end of the day, I hope we can play a role in being informative and influential to our audience.

Check out Newspread at:

Instagram: Newspread

Check out Photographer:

Tiori Daken Spooner (@ttspooner).