Summer is officially here, which means a change-up in wardrobe! Gone are the long sweaters, sweatpants and hoodies, it’s time for us to bring out the cute, the colourful and the chic.
Founded in 2018, U/R Italian offers unique & exclusive collections of accessories, handbags, shoes, and belt designs which come directly from their factory in Italy, straight to South Africa for South Africans.
For me, fashion is not just ‘business with clothing’ – for me, fashion is everything around me: the way we live, what ideas we have, what we see, how we see others, it is the most intense lived form of art. It is the interpretation of the world around us expressed in clothing. It is also the only true direct way for all people to express themselves.Ulrike Bollman
We caught up with Ulrike Bollmann; Owner, Designer and Founder of U/R Italian, who tells us more about her latest collection, Summer Breeze.
What is the name of this collection and why?
“Summer Breeze” – we all want to be able to breathe freely again this Summer. We want to breath the warm, sweet Summer air without masks and fear of getting sick. We want this collection to bring people happiness and that Summer feeling.
How does importing clothing from Italy affect your business here in SA?
It is challenging to send goods to South Africa as it often takes quite a long period of time, or we are faced with unforeseen obstacles along the way. Unfortunately the bureaucracy is very slow – but we can do it which is the main thing, and are happy when our customers are eagerly awaiting the latest pieces.
Your new collection is fun bright and colourful – what makes this collection one to have?
Summer breeze – we are inspired by freedom, serenity, joy, fun, diversity, and colours. We have to regain all of these natural features this Summer and it starts with feeling good. We want to use our strong colours to reflect the “love of life” that we have all missed! This Summer everyone should rediscover the world outside and rediscover themselves – finally we can dress in a variety of ways again and not just sit at home in sweatpants – it has to be a colourful celebration!
What made you go with these fun, bright colours?
We want to celebrate Summer and change – colourfully express a new lease on life, after the tough year we all suffered in 2020. I love colours, all colours – you can certainly see that especially in this collection. The fashionable plus side is that all colours and shapes, all clothes, actually go together – everything can be combined with each other in the end. In a way, a collection is like a large painting.
You so cleverly pair lots of different materials, patterns and pieces together to create iconic looks. What goes into the thought process when determining these collection pieces?
Thank you! At the beginning of every collection there is the mood board – this is where all ideas are collected and organized. For example, colours, fabrics, materials, and ideas for the shapes of the simple pieces of clothing. After the foundation is there, I start to design the individual pieces – cuts, colours and fabrics have to interlock and “hug each other”. It’s like marrying ideas together. It is important for me to design fashion for all types of women as everyone has different body shapes and needs. I want “my women” to look elegant – in a short skirt or wide pants.
What makes the U/R Italian brand unique in its offerings?
We have very exclusive collections because we only produce a small number of pieces at a time. There are a few classics that we reinterpret every season (especially bags, but also jeans, for example). We are lucky to work in the immediate vicinity of other important fashion companies in Italy and are therefore, always in a creative dialogue, in a big “fashion family” – that certainly makes us trendsetters and our customers are certainly lucky to be the first ambassadors of new trends in South Africa.
Rumour has it you are looking to open up a store in other parts of the country – when can we expect this?
Yes! We are going to be opening in Menlyn Park in Pretoria, and Hemingway’s in East London – both in the beginning of November! So exciting!