Sandra and Anja Umann are for me without a question THE gurus for vegan high fashion. With its Japanese-inspired, avantgarde collections the creative twin sisters demonstrate that sustainability and high fashion not only work together, but that the future lies in this concept. I have visited the Umasan store in Quartier 206 during the Berlin Fashion Week and was in addition to the current collections able to get a first impression of the incredible skin-flattering new collection (who has not touched the Umasan clothes, should do it for sure, so you know what I am speaking about!). With delicious vegan snacks (and gummy bears) I – accompanied by harmonious harp – enjoyed a wonderful break from the bustle of the fashion week and asked Sandra Umann to talk about vegan high fashion.
Sandra Umann about vegan high fashion of Umasan
my-GREENstyle.com: Veganism is often called a trend. Which name you use?
Sandra Umann: We see it rather as a new, future-oriented lifestyle. Basically it comes to define a new value and quality understanding. It is also about a new kind of attention. Creativity, not standard, vote on needs rather than equality, holistic thinking, not narrow-track thinking, responsible action, not stubbornness are the keys of progress and designs.
my-GREENstyle.com: Are there in your wardrobe “non-vegan” garments?
S.U.: Yes, unfortunately, there are still some relics from ancient times, which we hardly longer wear.
my-GREENstyle.com: Strictly vegan high fashion from your own collection, or pieces of other labels?
S.U.: By now virtually no longer, because we became so accustomed to the wearing comfort and our skin is very sensitive.
my-GREENstyle.com: And which?
S.U.: One or two pieces of YY’s (Note: Yohji Yamamoto) I probably have still in the repertoire : )
Purity, peace and respect for nature – Umasan
my-GREENstyle.com: The Umasan style in three words?
S.U.: Timeless, innovative, purist … the simplicity in design – by reduction to the essentials – plays a fundamental role to create maximum clarity. Important for UMASAN are criterias as grace and understated elegance. The subtraction is important, not the addition. By reducing on the basic message, we increase the overall significance of a garment, and even more of its wearer. UMASAN takes up the fundamental Zen principles purity, peace and respect for nature and sets it in line with a new, innovative design and material language.
my-GREENstyle.com: And what about your personal style? How would you describe it?
S.U.: Reduced, clear contemporaneously in black.
The Umasan target group? The “change avantgarde” as new social dimension!
my-GREENstyle.com: To which target group you speak with Umasan?
S.U.: The “change avantgarde” as new social dimension: A post-materially influenced society, which calls for a new value orientation, with the central desire for self-development. The credo: A balanced life believing in the feasibility of a better world, which is not achieved by sacrifice, but by better ideas, intelligent technologies and active public spirit. The motto: consume without restriction and thereby feel even better. We also like to talk to the people, who have not yet dealt with the subject vegan or even green fashion or have prejudices against these issues. We do this quite well by addressing first with the design, people will open themselves up more and more to these themes.
my-GREENstyle.com: You are known for the use of innovative materials such as soy silk, Seacell, Tencel & Co. Is there a favorite material?
S.U.: Yes, we love to work with Tencel C and brand new with recy paper and pet.
my-GREENstyle.com: What is the average recycled content of your collections?
S.U.: That will be about 25 percent of the collection.
For every designer there are good opportunities to take a moral stance.
my-GREENstyle.com: Why are so many high-fashion designers still do not dare approach the issue of sustainability?
S.U.: We live in a world of technological progress, which allows us much easier to practice sustainability, than it was the case about ten years ago. Unfortunately, ethical and sustainable action is still more expensive than the ignorance of these values. The task of the coming years in business and politics is to make sustainability in the overall balance of a product for the consumer cheaper than the comparable conventional way. Nevertheless, I believe that there are good opportunities already for any designer today to take a moral stance.
my-GREENstyle.com: And what is the Umasan communication strategy?
S.U.: For us, the challenge is to dispense with established “eco-clichés”. Will say that we need to address and win the customers primarily over the design respectively, the aesthetic statement of the collection. The ecological requirement is then “on top” – this strengthens possibly a purchase decision, but should not be the determining decision factor. Our consumer society needs the incentive of beautiful things, to do good and the customer should not feel a sense of abandonment or “either-or”. The majority of the “eco-labels” on the market, communicating mainly via the aspect of “ecological” and leave it out the design appear.
Design won´t exist without ethics and sustainability in the future.
my-GREENstyle.com: Sustainable fashion as a mass phenomenon. Imaginable for you?
S.U.: In any case, we are looking at the future, precisely also in the crowd. Design won´t exist in the future without ethics and sustainability. Quality no longer defines itself solely through external attributes, but must convince a holistic concept value. Primarily a product is indeed responsive always exceptional design, but design increasingly requires the rethinking of EGO to ECO.
my-GREENstyle.com: What you’re wearing?
S.U.: UMASAN – black long dress … perfect for a summer day like today : )
Thanks for the interview about vegan high fashion, Sandra!
Learn more? Click here for the label Portrait of Umasan