Seeing as its Brands week here at Cogs Agency (and Brands certainly are what we know best) this week, Cogs Recommends: Ukulele.
Ukulele is a freshly launched womenswear label, pioneered by Purple-Qie Qin. As the proud owner of my very own Ukulele dress, I was keen to find out a bit more about the journey from Purple’s inspiration, all the way to my wardrobe.
What made you decide to launch your own brand?
“Having worked as a buyer and product developer for several suppliers and independent labels, I quickly realised that there is a gap in the market for affordable but high quality statement pieces in the UK. There are loads of girls like me who would happily spend £100 on a dress but expect, and be guaranteed to get a unique piece that’s not all over the high street.”
“Ukulele represents a relaxed and happy lifestyle. I believe that fashion is not an unreachable vision. Fashion is a tool to put a smile on everybody’s face.”
Where do you take inspiration from when designing the pieces?
“I take inspiration from everything around me. Music, films, culture, art, dreams. Everything from Ryan McGinley’s youthful dreamy photos, the girls who are still living in the 90s in east London, the ravers who danced in the rain in festivals, to the Olympics. I’m collecting everything I find interesting and sometimes things I find funny.”
Tell us about your new collection.
“For our initial collection inspiration was drawn from the evocative retro-style landscapes and futuristic metropolises of Wong Kar-Wai’s art-house film ‘2046‘. A structured shift dress is worn over a vintage swimsuit; futuristic, fitted, aqua maxi dresses are combined with retro roll-neck details and matching 60’s playsuits; traditional Chinese dress shapes are created from a newly developed crochet lace inserted with 80’s shoulder pads; 60s style tailored shift dresses are given a high-low hem for ultra-modern styling. The collection is a fresh combination of delicately retro and boldly futuristic elements.”
Do you have a favourite piece?
“Every piece from our collection is for a different occasion. I would wear the beautiful lace embroidered shell top and matching maxi skirt for summer festivals, the sexy bodycon dresses in acidic brights for a girl’s night out, vertical stripe skater dress for afternoon tea and the elegant but subtly sexy side slit crochet lace maxi dress for a date.”
I wore my sheer cream minidress to an outdoor gig – sounds like a terrible idea but it was very well received! So what kind of marketing strategies are you using?
“I really admire how Shawn Stussy built his streetwear empire ‘Stussy’ through word-of-mouth and deep involvement in the music scene. I believe that a strong brand should grow slowly with the reputation of their garments and the personal connection with consumers. Marketing is endless.”
What are your plans for Ukulele’s future?
“Our first A/W collection is going to be available very soon. Expect to see the return of retro suits and unexpected combinations of luxury future fabrics incorporated into uniquely designed on-trend silhouettes. 2012 is not the end of the world. It’s the start of our journey. We hope to grow healthily and rapidly as the year goes on.”
So basically the future of Ukulele is in my wardrobe. Where can we find Ukulele online?
“We just launched our own website and online shop www.ukulelefashion.com. It’s very vibrant and dreamy. I hope it puts a smile on your face.”
It’s not every day that you find pure artistry and inspiration inherent in beautifully crafted clothing for the everyday girl. We sincerely suggest you check out ukulelefashion.com, Facebook page or @UkuleleFashion