UMTC STUDIOS - Silent And Radical Design
UMTC STUDIOS is another great German brand that appeared on my radar a couple of months ago and when I first saw their Tokyo look book, I would have never thought they were a German brand at all. However, times have changed and there is more and more good and unexpected stuff coming from Germany.
The aesthetics of UMTC are on point – from their look book to their very own touch to their designs…this brand is very exciting and I actually cannot stop looking at their clothing without a sheer urge to tell other people about this great project straight from South Germany.
After I met the two creative minds behind the brand a couple of months ago in Berlin and a couple of emails later I finally managed to learn more about their project and were also able to ask them more question about UMTC Studios and their way of the ninja:
UMTC STUDIOS - Silent And Radical Design
What is UMTC STUDIOS all about and who is behind it?
UMTC STUDIOS are two guys who found each other’s minds working quite well together.
So what is the idea behind being a non-commercial streetwear brand?
...people wearing our stuff because they love what we are doing, not doing the stuff people love to wear...
You shot your last Spring Summer look book in Tokyo. Can you please tell us how this happened and why Tokyo?
Most of the SS17 ideas and designs were already made before we headed to our Tokyo pop-up store last December. We were carrying the samples with us because we really wanted to do a shoot in Tokyo with locals. So, we started searching for a location and a team.
So where did you find the models and people who worked on this? Was it harder to produce this look book than your older ones?
Milo, our Model, was at the opening party of the UMTC STUDIOS pop-up installation at Cannabis Tokyo. We fell in love with him from the very first minute. Kato, who did hair & make up, was walking down the street from Harajuku to Shibuya when Flo took a photo of him in his 032c outfit. So, we got his Instagram account and saw that he is doing amazing stuff. All in all, it wasn’t harder because the creatives in Japan are more open-minded on working together and go hand in hand to create something cool.
How did the pop-up installation at Cannabis Tokyo come about and how did people react to your designs?
When we were in Paris during fashion week last June, we visited a location in Marais with two friends of ours from London. There were cool Japanese brands showing their collections in a showroom which was also the place where we first met our dearest Susumu & Aya (avalonetokyo) and Jumpei Seki (sekijumpei). They saw us wearing our stuff and thought we could match perfectly to a little store some of their friends are doing in Tokyo: Cannabis.
Jumpei, who was like a mentor for us due to his good England and Japan knowledge, connected us with the lovely Cannabis buyer, Yamada. Yamada was also the guy who asked us to come to Tokyo for the pop-up. Japanese people are just reliable.
Let`s talk about your Spring/Summer collection, 1997 and The Death of Gianni Versace. What’s the idea behind this theme?
Gianni is dead for 20 years now and fashion has changed a lot. A lot of people think that the "American gigolo" on our pieces is Gianni, but he isn't. The news and the media used to call his murderer, Andrew Cunanan (Gianni’s psycho-lover), the American gigolo. So, two contradictory things were responsible for the main part of the collection: on the one hand, directing the focus of our collection (secretly) on the murderer and, on the other hand, having an homage to Gianni because he is dead since 1997.
Your “HOODY THREE” features a big “NEWS.” print on the front and a big news excerpt on the back. So, what is your opinion about today’s news and why did you put this excerpt on your hoodie?
The news excerpt printed on our pieces is the only hint that the “American gigolo” is not Versace but his deeply amorous killer, Andrew Cunanan.
Today’s news does not stand in any context with the collection.
You started your brand in 2015. What have you learned since then and how have your designs changed over time?
The hardest step for people who want to do anything with clothing is getting to the point where you are not doing "just T-shirts" or "just caps". It’s about developing your hobby of printing on any blancos to a well-organised, serious business partner for bigger companies. We always try to do everything on our own. Since 2015, we have been working under our name UMTC STUDIOS. You should never stop trying to improve in whatever it is.
However, one thing hasn't changed, at all: we are trying to be simple and silent while improving everything about and around our products as good as we can.
How is it like to start a brand in Southern Germany, far away from Berlin where everything “important” seems to happen right now?
You have time to focus. You have time to be creative. You have time to try out things. Live is quite good here in the South.
The German street wear scene is still young and most of the kids don’t go beyond the surface of sneakers and Supreme. What do you think it needs to draw these kids’ attention away from this hype game that is rolling the scene at the moment?
For us, there is a very big problem in the scene and that's the people who (in)form the kids' minds. Big platforms are doing nothing more than just posting and reporting on the wrong things. There are too much posts about hype stuff. Ok, their names already suggest that they only care for and inform about hype stuff. But for us, they are responsible for what happens in the fashion game (sadly). Especially the "understatement of fashion" turns into a superficial view on the most-liked post, meaning that kids, and even older people (who should know better), think truth and realness come from followers and likes. A Lie.
How much does the internet help you to connect with the right people and creative minds? Are you actually relying on the German market or do you see yourself in a bigger, international picture?
The internet is the rise and fall of fashion. Furthermore, it keeps you stay in contact with so many people you used to not being able to reach out to, at all; for example, our Japanese friends. It would be very hard for us to get information about their latest projects or what they are up to, if there were no internet.
We are not really interested in the German market. We want to be international but as independent as possible and also small.
If there was one brand you could collaborate with who would it be and what kind of product would you create?
IKEA. Just kidding.
Hmm....Brian Donnelly, a Bearbrick.
So, what are your plans for UMTC STUDIOS and where do you see your brand in 5 years?
Hard to say. It should not change a lot because we are very happy right now about how we can work on our products and projects. We will try to improve our cloth and our textures, sure. However, 5 years is such a long time in fashion. So much can happen and a lot of brands, people, and styles will come and disappear. Let’s see...