Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Style Salvage Speaks to... YMC

As you all know we have joined up with my-wardrobe to offer one lucky reader five hundred pounds to spend on a new winter wardrobe from YMC. This British born brand were one of the very first brands we featured here on the blog. Formed in 1996, YMC have played a key role in the resurgence of workwear and have seen so much so we jumped at the chance to speak to them about their experiences in the industry, their own personal style and how they see the brand devoloping over the next few years.

SS: How did it all start for you? What were your inspirations, your dreams and the driving catalyst behind YMC?
Fraser: I have always been more interested than personal style over fashion and this was the driving force behind starting up YMC. At the time (1995) everything was brand led or American 'skate' inspired so we felt there was a real gap in the market for the kind of clothes we were looking for.

SS: Describe what YMC means to you...
Fraser: Hopefully a brand with integrity

SS: Having launched as a menswear brand in 1995 you’ve certainly been around for a lot longer than most people realise. How has the industry evolved over this time?
Fraser: Today the fashion industry is far more professional, corporate and less naive than when we started which I think makes thing much harder for labels and designers starting up now.

SS: Over the last few seasons we've seen a real rise in the interest surrounding workwear style. Having offered classic designs showcasing quality fabrics and an attention detail for some time now, what is your take on the rise in interest?
Fraser: Inevitable as everything tends to go in cycles and the last time this was popular was the early 90s but to be honest it has always been an influence to us and this would have been more noticable from our Winter 2004 collection onwards.

SS: In a recent interview with The Independent you confess that early on you ‘knew nothing about production and made some very bad decisions’ and after initial success you were forced to close your shop on Conduit Street and abandoned your womenswear line. Thankfully, today, you have a busy flagship store in Soho and your relaunched womenswear line is in its third season. You must be feeling pretty good about it all. Do you think that this has made success all the sweeter now?
Jimmy: No not really . If anything it’s been a constant reminder of how tough this business is , its been a valuable lesson . We still have plenty of room to improve...

SS: With regard to production, how have you changed things from the set up in the late 90s?
Jimmy: The company that backs us helps on the production , they have offices worldwide who look after our needs . Our quantities are small
But with their assistance the collection gets produced.

SS: What were the first and last items you remember designing?
Fraser: First: Our first collection which was Winter 95 and it was a jacket and dress inspired by my wife Jody's military jumpsuit
Last: Autumn Winter 2010 Footwear collection.

SS: How do you see the YMC brand developing over the next few years?
Jimmy: We would hope to develop the business by opening in store concessions / further YMC stand alone stores. Also for SS.10 we have launched a new range on Men’s called ‘ basic ’ which has great potential.

SS: Which fellow designers/brands do you admire? Other than YMC, which brands do you wear?
Fraser: I don't really follow fashion and prefer not to look at other labels. I only wear a mixture of vintage and YMC.

SS: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men wore?
Fraser: It's not so much the items but the way they are worn. I'd like to see men being a bit more confident with their own personal style.

SS: How would you describe your personal style? The brand ethos is You Must Create your own style but do you have any style icons?
Fraser: Detail is paramount but I couldn't really say what my 'personal style' is as it's something that I naturally do!

SS: The current collection is inspired by Depression era workwear. If you could go back in time and experience any moment/era of style, what would it be?
Fraser: I'd need a Tardis as there are so many periods I love and whatever I am inspired by when designing at the time tends to be my favourite.

The shopfront in Soho.

SS: What are you favourite pieces currently available from YMC?
Fraser: The waxed cotton hunting and fishing jacket and a shawl collared Chore jacket in cotton/wool and of course a pair of our jeans which I think are a really good men's cut and in particular for anyone looking for an alternative to a skinny jean.

SS: Finally, would you be able to share a few address book recommendations with our readers (hairdressers, tailors, cafes...anything you like really) which we will duly add to our map.
Gary at Sean Paul Barbers in Brighton. He's around my age and like me was part of most youth cultures from punk onwards so this gives him the edge over a lot of younger hairdressers. Lewes for all things old. It has a great array of really interesting antique shops full of curios.

A reminder of how we would spend the money...
For your chance to win, enter here. You have until 27th November 2009 to win. Good luck!

1 comment:

Matthew Spade said...

really like YMC's ethos and, basically everything about them, it's not over designed or gimmicky, or as they said trend led. that's another shop i'll have to swing by later this week.

i want to win so bad


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