Interview: Daniel Navetta

Interview: Daniel Navetta

Entrepreneur, Creative, Vegan, Sneakerhead, New Yorker.

"The people who rise are the people who are uniquely themselves" - Daniel Navetta

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I want to take the time to thank Daniel for letting us into his space as well as letting us take a further look into his life and mind. Extremely happy to have Daniel on as the first guest / friend of this series. We want to share the spaces and minds of great individuals who are pushing the needle and "punching up" as Daniel would say. We need to support these individuals. It's vital. Hope you enjoy the short interview below and some photos. Please please please take the time to look further into Daniel - he's motivated the hell out of me just by jumping on this quick project. Check out the links below for where you can find more information about Daniel, and Bryght Young Things. Enjoy. - Colin
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Check out everything Daniel has going on in these links below...
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 Sure Thing: What up what up!
 
Daniel: Yoo yo. Just got home

Sure Thing: Beautiful - I know you're always running around so I'll make this quick. I guess the "A Moment With" name makes sense. Wait...516 area code I see...

Daniel: Sounds good!! The 516 thing was an accident I’ve regretted forever. Got my first phone at a mall on Long Island 20 years ago....I’m born and raised in Queens, I should have a 718 area code.

It keeps me up at night.

Sure Thing: Ha! Sorry, but that’s pretty funny. I’m from the island, so I thought for a brief second you might be a fellow Islanders fan...

Daniel: Ha. Ooooops, I shoulda left that ole alone. Hockey is the only sport I don’t feel hyper passionate about, but I’ve got no ill will towards the Isles, they’re aiiiight. I never loved blue and orange as a color combo- so was easy to root against the Knicks and the Mets. I’m a Yankees / Bulls fan.

Sure Thing: Damn respect to that. I’m a Red Sox fan but that’s a story for another day. Great to finally meet you last week though - it was a long time coming ever since you and Liz hit it off while recording Business of Hype.

Daniel: Yea man, I was so glad to make it all happen and bring the worlds together. I’ve really gained a great appreciation for the act of spending time with like minded people in recent years. It feels like it raises our collective awareness in a positive way. I admire the work that both Liz, and you are doing- so it was a fun day. 
NY is the best bc just when you start wondering if you’re alone in the hustle, you connect w people in a big way.

Sure Thing: Yeah for sure, super good point. Is that where your head is at right now? Thinking you’re alone in the hustle?

Daniel: Because we run my company in a way that doesn’t want to take advantage of people, or sell people alcohol by making it look “cool”, or shill other things that aren’t good for them, it sometimes feels like I’m a loner in the community because nobody else really commits to that.

It’s sorta always been that way for me though...maybe when it’s rainy (like it was when all hang out), it hits me more, ha!

At the end of the day, I am really so grateful that I’m making things I’m proud of, and I think most creative people who follow that drive feel similarly at many times.

Sure Thing: It’s funny you say that. I wrote down a quote you said when we were in your space. “The people who rise, are the people who are uniquely themselves.” So hey - listen to yourself! And I’ve done a DEEP DIVE into Bryght Young Things and you have some incredible incredible work.

Daniel: Ahhhh, thanks man! I appreciate that! It’s been a decade of building it, so when I actually pause and look at the work, I give myself a break and feel a tiny bit of pride...but I’m happiest that I didn’t step on anyone to get here. I want to be a positive force, and it’s a relief that I’ve been able to sustain for this long.
The work makes me soooo excited, I love it, I can’t believe people let me bring my friends together to make commercials, or documentaries, or podcasts...it’s insane when I think about it.
It’s a wild industry, but there’s room for everyone, so I’m glad that we’ve been given space to be an honest, driven, overachieving small shop that punches above its weight and makes great work.
I hope I get to keep doing it.

Sure Thing: I think you’ll be around for quite some time - I’m not in the industry like that but it’s some of the more polished work I’ve seen. Something about it - everything has such a unique voice and vibe to it. And the New York focused ones feel SO New York to me - if that makes sense. Do you have a favorite piece of work you’ve made?

Daniel: Dude, thank you again.

It’s always so hard to call one thing out, but it’s probably the drag racing project we did last year, called “The Dual”. It’s my favorite bc we did it with a tiny crew (3 vid/1 photographer) and everyone volunteered to be there. We were filming my Dad, a maniac in his own right who has been drag racing for 50+ years. He grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn racing under the BQE. My dad has been sick fo a while and he was just getting back to the track, so I wanted to document it.

There’s so many stories about the project but I remember sitting in on the first cut w our editor and he brought such life to the edit that cried after the watching the cut. My dad is my hero and it moved me to make something for him, a “get well” card of sorts.
When it premiered on Hypebeast, he said “oh that’s nice”, ha. He loves that piece and his friends did too.
Sorry that was a long story, but I wanted to do the piece justice w some context : )
And sorry for the spelling errors, I’m devouring a bagel after playing hoops for 2 hrs this morning!!

Sure Thing: Damn that’s a beautiful story. And your dad is a badass. I have a couple more questions about BYT before we move onto something else. But first, what’s your bagel of choice?

Daniel: A well done (if possible) Whole wheat everything bagel w avocado, tomato, salt, pepper, and lemon. Has to be vegan friendly.
I also love a salt bagel. Bakers Dozen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn has the best bagels in NY.

Sure Thing: Damn that sounds great right about now. I need to get on that wave - I get a bacon egg and cheese whenever I get a bagel and end up feeling like a bag of shit.

Daniel: Hahah. That used to taste good to me, but I can't even imagine how crazy that would taste after 6 years of being vegan and living a clean lifestyle.

Sure Thing: 6 years. Good for you. You were an OG vegan then huh? I mean, I don’t know - it feels trendy now. Am I wrong? It’s a positive trend though...

Daniel: You aren’t wrong, it does feel “trendy”, but if the awareness about what we’re consuming and how it’s impacting the environment is being raised, I’ll take it.

Sure Thing: Bingo. I always eat vegan if it’s available wherever we go out. I’m on the way I guess, ha. Nah but I’d go full time vegan - I just need to figure out recipes and all that - we can chat another time about that debacle.
You don’t stop the vegan life with food I see. What’s the story with the Air Vegan? How’d that get started? I know we chatted briefly about some future ventures so no need to dive too much into that. Don’t want our millions of readers to steal anything from you.
 
Daniel: Ha, yea..the Air Vegan was a product of my own manic research to find great sneakers that didn’t utilize real leather or suede. I quickly realized that the sneaker community is a minefield of confusing information. Nobody was providing people w that perspective and considering whether the sneakers looked good.

So it started because I was doing hours of research to make sure I bought sneakers that didn’t harm animals. Again, it goes deeper....synthetics aren’t the answer either bc they don’t break down, but I wanted to tackle the biggest issues first. The sneaker industry is very lazy, and it’s profiting like crazy, but things need to change. 
The Air Vegan is a passion project, but I’d love to be included in bigger discussions with brands and at panels to educate people on where the industry is falling short.

Sure Thing: That’s such a beautiful and necessary thing. I’m the polar opposite of a sneakerhead, but it’s mind-blowing that I even see the consistency of these releases and the hype around basically each and every one of them. I understand money needs to be made, but you’re right, things do need to change. People are clicking “buy” based off of hype and to flex on social without taking into account how these things are made. The people need The Air Vegan!!

Daniel: Thanks CR- You’ve already helped moved the needle, I woke up to 100+ more followers this morning!!  I appreciate you spreading the word!

Sure Thing: Haha holy crap you’re right. Hope this helps a little more too. You deserve many more than 5k. Take this thing to the moon.

Any big plans, projects or trips in the near future?

Daniel: Yeah, we’re finalizing talks for me to direct a feature length documentary this year, so I’m really excited to do some bigger storytelling this year.

We’re also announcing some new directors for @byt.nyc - which I’m really thrilled about.
…And I’ve got a few things up my sleeve for the Air Vegan.
Maybe we’ll push the Business of Hype into it’s next progression too- time will tell.

Sure Thing: Not too sure what to really say. I have a hard enough time getting this interview set up and you have three massive endeavors cooking. Looking forward to any over the others? I feel like Bryght Young Things is your baby, right?

Daniel: I honestly love them all the same. I get such a deep feeling of satisfaction when I make something creative in the video space or when someone on our team succeeds at doing that for themselves. But I also feel so connected to sneakers, design, and the the environment… AND the podcast is a massive labor of love because I want to I’m grateful that we’re providing people with free access to the lessons of great entrepreneurs. As someone who couldn’t afford a notable college education, I’m glad that we’re unlocking that access on a platform as big as Hypebeast.

Sure Thing: You’ve paved your own path man, and you’re definitely capitalizing on what you’re pushing and all of these opportunities. I honestly feel like we need an entire magazine spread to dive into what you have going on - maybe one day. I just texted the other members of Sure Thing on the side of how inspired I’m getting from this haha.

I just have two more quick questions for you. Well, three. Give me one word answers if you could.

Daniel: Aw man. Thank you so much. Ready for your questions.

Sure Thing: Super Bowl pick?

Daniel: Chiefs (I always bet the better quarterback)

Sure Thing: Recommend a pair of sneakers for me to buy. Vegan sneakers. I'll buy them if they're available.

Daniel: Hmm….deadstock Terra Humaras. Prob not expensive (they retro’d them a year ago). So many good color combos. And in my opinion, they are a real sign of good taste and being willing to think about sneakers in a different way. I suggest this color way for you...
 
Sure Thing: Beautiful - I’ll hop on the interwebs after this to try and scoop these. 

Last question then you're outta here. It's a guest question from Liz...

Daniel: Ha, ok...HI LIZ : )

Sure Thing: "...YouTube?" - Liz

Daniel: I'm announcing it on my IG in 5 minutes. Shooting my next episode next weekend. Wish me luck.

Sure Thing: “YEAHHHHH!!!!!!!! Tell him I’m proud” - Liz. 

Alright man. I’ll let ya go. We’ll need to do a part 2 or something down the road. Or we’ll need to get you on our pods - IDK let’s figure something out.

Daniel: Whatever makes sense, I’m down. I’m so grateful for the support. You and Liz are great people and I’m glad we’re all connected. Thanks for giving me the platform Colin. Much appreciated.
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Daniel, thanks again. Until next time...