UBI SUNT is a Swedish independent fashion label with a focus on contemporary wardrobe essentials and healthy slow business growth. We talked to creative directors Moa Wikman and Aidin Sanati to find out what drives them and where they are heading.
Can you tell us a bit about the creation of your own label and where you come from?
We started out with this venture back in 2011 and were running UBI SUNT more on project basis on the side, in the beginning. We chose this way of working, to slowly get all the pieces of the puzzle in place; production, creative direction, all the legal work etc. Our concept was basically not to rush things, but having something solid and to remain independent. UBI SUNT, is a two-man team. As we run a small operation working as partners in crime. Moa is from the North of Sweden and has a pattern making and a design background, whereas Aidin was born in Paris, has an Iranian background and was raised in Sweden. We met during our design studies in London, right upon our graduation, back in 2008. After some years as consultants at various design houses, UBI SUNT started to take shape. We have never looked back since.
You file your style under contemporary wardrobe essentials. How do you approach the contemporary?
Basically, we emphasize shapes a lot, we work on different ideas of shape and proportion and then morph them into wardrobe essentials. This gives UBI SUNT its own voice. Over the past seasons we have worked diligently on this, focussing on our silhouette, textural interplay and overall look. To us, it is important to keep everything in house and to craft garments that are functional and effortlessly wearable. We tend to let the fabrics guide our process, by exploring where they take us, in terms of shape and form. From here, we sculpt the garments and let everything morph together. It is a most organic and hands-on approach.
You claim that your design process is democratic. How is your team structured and what is your design method?
We just have abstract ideas and start our collections by traveling to Italy to our producers and manufacturers. Here we work with very small ateliers, to which we have built a personal connection. The premise of working together in order to advance, is so beautiful. Together with our craftsmen, we discuss how we can develop innovative ideas, sourcing techniques or fabric textures — it really is a team effort. Of course, when it comes to the overall aesthetics, we might have some conceptual leitmotif. However, we like to allow for spontaneity and exploration. This idea of reducing what is unnecessary makes minimalism the hardest direction to master, when it comes to the final construction and assembly. Good collaborations and good dialogues, for us truly makes for a solid product.
Can you give us a glimpse on the origin of your brand name?
UBI SUNT is actually a literal motif for writing poems that remember the past and the fragility of life. For us, it was important to have a connection to fashion in terms of the craftsmanship and unique techniques that have been used over decades and centuries. If you observe, tailoring, textile research, treatments, etc, all these have been initially founded and discovered by dedicated people, many years ago. There is such a richness of knowledge out there, which is important to remember. This paves the way to push things forward by being innovative and striving for new horizons. So that is basically where our brand name is derived from.
Do you feel connected to a certain school of fashion design?
We have worked on many projects, both small and bigger ones, with independent firms as well as really big companies, so we have found our own individual way to approach things. However, when you boil things down, it is all about keeping the voice of UBI SUNT alive and sticking to what we want to express. We believe in the connection to a strong sartorial concept for each season, which we then translate to each final product. Having said this, our years spent in London have been formative when it came to triggering our sense of conceptual thinking.
We're eagerly awaiting your online shop. When will it go public?
Our new online journal/shop will allow people and clients to connect with us more. We shall present a smaller curation of our work. We are working very much around the clock to get this new chapter into place. Hopefully within a month we should be up and running. We have the pieces ready to ship out as soon as we are online with the store. It will be interesting also for us, to engage in this new way of communication and sharing our work.
Photography courtesy of Atelier Marlo Saalmink.