Interview with Anja & Sandra Umann – Twins and Designers of Berlin Based Umasan

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UMASAn Designers Portrait

WHAT ROLE DO EACH OF YOU PLAY WITHIN THE COMPANY AND HOW TO YOU INSPIRE/WORK WITH EACH OTHER?

Well, Anja is mostly responsible for design and production and I, Sandra, look after sales and marketing as well as brand strategy. But in reality we work closely together throughout the process of creating the collection. Staring with a common vision, Anja begins physically creating the collections and then she’ll come back to me to get my feedback. Once a sample is ready we work together on perfecting the details. We tend to share the same mind-set, so if Anja for some reason has a block during her part of the design process, I’ll take over where she left off and vice versa. We are twins, so we do everything together. When Anja was studying fashion design, I was so close to her that I became part of it as well. Maybe without each other the results would be a little less powerful since we are actually working with double energy:-) and I honestly don’t think UMASAN would have grow as fast as it has without this twin power – like YING&YANG : )

 

WHAT MADE THE TWO OF YOU WANT TO BECOME DESIGNERS?

We were 16 and we just started creating our own clothes … and once we started we couldn’t stop. It became our dream, independently of each other, to study fashion design and become designers

 

WHAT IS UMASAN ABOUT? WHAT MAKES IT STAND OUT?

Our demand, and at the same time our motivation, was to create a line that transcends the production of clothing and establishment of a fashion brand. Innovation in the fashion industry also aims to correct luxury mistakes, to redefine collective values, and to enhance individual values. This was reason enough for us to launch Umasan in 2010. We wanted to bring avant-garde “feel-good” fashion with innovative fabrics and using a sophisticated Japanese cutting technique to the fore. I feel like we’re creating a brave new world combining high end taste with the latest innovation regarding the longevity of planet earth and its inhabitants. We looked at the complete concept of sustainability, and since we are both vegan, it was important to include this aspect as well. We use exclusive vegan fabrics because we believe in animal rights and the well-being of the environment and we use “vegan” as a primary descriptor of our line to put explicit focus on these two elements.

 

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE MOST RECENT COLLECTION?

ABOUT THE COLLECTION SS15: Character (greek: kharakter, a making instrument) was originally a distinctive mark impressed, engraved or otherwise formed. The word later generally came to mean an enduring imprint or the peculiar, persistent nature of something, evident in all its individual expressions and impressions, and distinguishing it from everything else. But above all the word is used as a description of the peculiarity of a willing being, as becomes apparent in its actions. UMASAN SS 2015 Coll. searches and strengthens the relationship of the individual to his inner world, and dedicated to her, where we ourselves refuse any form of dogmatism.

 

HOW HAVE YOU GROWN SINCE YOUR FIRST COLLECTION?

Well in April 2014 we opened our second Flagship store at Bikini Berlin. We also have about 35 point of sales internationally. We present the collection in NY, LA, Paris as well as Berlin and Milano. …Our next dream is to open a Flagship store internationally either in London, Paris or New York first as those are incredible cities with amazing energy and fashion inspiration.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING A DESIGNER?

I think the best part of being a designer is creating a new collection and presenting the collection on the runway and this allows you to be a communicator, to spread ideas and philosophy.

 

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

… Price point as well as fast fashion

 

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM IN GENERAL?

We’re inspired by the day-to-day life of down to earth, working people, from various cultures — by artists and travelers who are not simply into a glamorous allure. We look at the human body and how it moves.

With our Collections we want to search and strengthen the relationship of the self and its inner world and its dedication to it, in which it refutes any form of dogmatism. UMASAN is an aesthetic homage to a unpolished and functional design. The creations are sincere and natural, a subtle phenomena. They melt together with the body and harmonize it into its infinite variety. While a general applicable ideal is that a whole perfect symmetrical illustrates perfection, UMASAN Collection shows that the natural asymmetry and irregularities followed the shape of the beauty of nature.

Our goal is to develop a collection, which has always been part of the person who wears it. Clothes which seem somehow familiar, help being yourself.

 

DO YOU TWO EVER FIGHT OVER WORK AND IF SO WHAT ABOUT?

Actually not seriously… We have a deep trust and understanding, which makes everything easier. We couldn’t imagine working so closely with someone else. Most of the time we do not need to speak to each other since we seem to always be in the same mind knowing the thoughts of the other. It’s scary but true! I think it’s more difficult for our team and partners when the two of us are together. For us it`s the greatest gift to have each other and work together and it’s especially true when we’re having a tough time in the business which makes us realize how much stronger we are together.

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