Place Presents is a platform to show you what we think is important to see in skateboarding today. In a sense, it shows you what our taste in skateboarding is like. A big part of that is showing new initiatives and people like Kaissan Ibrahima and his brand called Désir. Truth be told, we had noticed them a little while back when they dropped “Spirit Of Ecstacy” but we feel with part two in the SOE series that the brand has elevated itself. With people like Kaissan, Matis, Achilles, Sammy, Jud, and many more backing the operation we believe Désir is here to stay.
Intro & Interview Roland Hoogwater.
Film & Edit Kaissan Ibrahima.
Photos by Clement Harpillard.
Hey Kaissan, how are you? Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you too.
Let’s start at the beginning, tell the people who you are and what you do.
That makes sense, I am Kaissan, I was born in the south of France, but I’ve lived in Paris for the last couple of years. I have been skating for what feels like all my life, but around ten years ago I became a bit more serious about it. I have been obsessed with video, I loved skate vids and everything that goes into making them. I started filming with an iPad actually (laughs), but I have moved past that phase. There are many other interests as well but that has been my focus, making this video.
So you filmed this video?
Most of it yes, but Jud lives in Los Angeles so a lot of his US footage was filmed by others. We actually went on a few short trips for this video as well. Mostly Italy, I have this fascination for what you could call “Old Europe” and Italy has that vibe, I love it there. Just to explain, “Old Europe”, if I could film a skate video in an old greek temple, I would. But since that is not possible I am trying to find something similar to that.
“If I could film a skate video in an old greek temple, I would.”
Does the animation at the beginning of the video allude to that style of Europe?
It does! The video came actually because this is the second video in the “Spirit Of Ecstacy” series. The Roman numeral for two is II, and that is partially how we came to use the greek columns for the opening animation. I actually did the drawing and my friend Matis lend helped me animate it.
That makes sense, cool concept. So, tell me about the brand Désir.
At first, it was an excuse to make t-shirts together with friends, it wasn’t really serious. At some point though, I was kinda over it not being serious, so I started to take it in a more serious direction. I love clothes and I am into fashion in general so I wanted to put the effort in so I could be proud of it. The people in the video make an effort to do their tricks, so I wanted to put effort into making the clothes.
Style-wise, the idea is to make streetwear, and skate clothes but with more elegance and higher quality. Still, at the same time, I.E. we make silk shirts now, produced in the south of France. That is the part I currently really enjoy working on.
To me, anything elegant can be part of Désir, right now I am working on a tracksuit. That is a piece of clothing that might not seem elegant at first, but if you use certain fabrics like velvet you can transform it into an elegant set of clothing.
Going back to the video for a moment, how long did you work on this project?
It took around a year, but not everyone worked on it for that long. Some were there for the full year others for a few sessions. It was actually meant to be a shorter project, but it turned into a longer thing. I like to film with different people as well because they all bring a different vibe to a session. I love filming Jud, we really get along well. He would make lists of spots and we would go there and it felt natural. In contrast, Sammy (Homes) and I have very different tastes in spots but we know each other very well, so it still works out in a good way. He’s so good, effortless, and chill, that describes both his skating but also his person very well.
Can you tell me a bit more about the rest of the people in this video?
Ruben is fun cause you never know what is going to happen, he could do anything anywhere and you wouldn’t expect it. He’s very hard to catch tho.
I love filming Matis style he’s so nervous and goes all in or doesn’t.
Achille is an energy ball and has this super happy and strong aura which is super important when it’s shitty Paris weather.
Arto isn’t in this video(too busy with school etc) but he’s great cause he’s like a wizard. He’s magic on a skateboard and a super crazy person, the type of skater you have to see in real life to understand how good he is because he is very spontaneous. There is so so much more to say about each one of them but that would take such much space, you could fill a book. Instead, I will just say, you gotta meet them.
You didn’t show a lot of your own skating in this video, why is that?
In the last ten years, I never injured myself but over this last year, I rolled my ankle four times. I felt like I was overconfident with my skating, I maybe wasn’t that focused and I hurt myself. At the same time, I think my level of skating is not that high, so I don’t want to take up to much space. Fun fact, I actually landed my one trick for the video, walked by up the slope, and injured myself, it sucked so bad. I think the other skaters deserve to get that shine more than I do.
Don’t you think you are being a bit harsh on your skating?
People do say that, so maybe there is something to that. But for instance, with Sammy, there is no doubt that he adds to the video. When it comes to my tricks, I feel doubt, so that is the deciding factor for me. I actually don’t decide that by myself, I show the video to others and get feedback from them. I actually went back to re-edit a big part of this video because of the feedback I got from the team. It is important to me to hear what they think, I don’t just want to impose my vision.
A friend of mine once told me he really didn’t like one of the edits I had made of his skating. He told me that he didn’t enjoy the music and as such didn’t like the video. This is rare for me but I told him “I know why I made these choices trust me!”, he did and after it came out he got a lot of positive feedback from people that had watched his section and he was happy he did trust me.
It is good to be so sure of yourself. To move on, you also did an event last year right?
We did, together with Converse, we rented a room and had some set designers design the whole space. I worked with them on the concept, which was a mix between a fancy hotel and a place that could be your home. People connected to that well, some didn’t even notice it was a shop. My friend Matis Bonnet, who also worked at the shop DJ’ed there. We decided to record one of the sets and uploaded it so people could listen after the pop-up ended. I want to do more musical content with Désir because we love music and as such, it is a big part of the brand.
So to look forward, what will the future be like for Désir?
We will keep working, I have a lot of ideas but it takes money to make them happen. We will work on our new pieces so we can go on more trips, make even better pieces, and further develop the style of the brand. I am working on many things even for future pop-ups.
After the video now, people just want to chill, skate at a park & hang out. But we have been filming a bit here and there so slowly we are getting back to it. Maybe something will drop sooner rather than later.
Alright, well Kaissan, we will be looking forward to that. Thank you for the interview.
Thank you as well.