I Love Ugly Creative Director, Valentin Ozich, caught up with Urbis on our garments and their connection with furniture and interior design. See the full interview with and editorial below.
Where does your affinity for interior design and architecture come from?
My cousin introduced me to architecture and my father being a property developer and renovator exposed me to spatial design and theories early on. I love the tangible aspect of it, and how a piece of furniture or colour of the wall can create a certain feeling and mood within a space. Theres so many different variables involved in interior design and architecture that I find appealing. Its a cross pollination of different cultural and historic influences fused together.
How does architecture, and interior design inform/influence your garments?
Whenever we design a garment, we are thinking about the ideal environment to help contextualise the piece. This helps the creative process and gets you thinking outside of the box. Theres certain colour palettes and objects within an interior space or building that can help give a garment that needed direction. All it takes is seeing an image of a space or building that can ignite a spark and end up driving the direction of an entire collection and campaign.
How about in this specific collection?
For this, we started by visually creating the lounge so if this collection was on a clothing rack it would blend in and effortlessly become part of the space. We focused on the type of floor and art on the walls, the light shades, the rug, wall colour and texture of fabric on the couch. It was an interesting process, which we haven't used for any other collection before.
How did the idea for a photo shoot of your garments without any models and using residential interior furniture, etc come about?
I guess it was the next step for us and an idea we had been toying with for a while. We felt the need to use a model to convey the brands message isn't always necessary because theres too much association with the person wearing the clothes. We also wanted to treat the garments like art or furniture to represent the level of care and detail put into each piece we design and show people that interior design and architecture is something I Love Ugly is heavily influenced by. Theres something novel about the way a piece of clothing sits on a piece of beautiful furniture, it almost brings new life into both pieces.
Tell us about your favourite objects at home and what do you think they say about you?
My biggest problem, is my taste is constantly evolving, which gives me this urge to always buy things that pop up on my radar. My two favourite pieces are by Los Angeles artist Dave Kinsey. It's an original art piece painted on board which he sold to me direct. I also have a collection of handmade black and white vases I purchased for my wife in Los Angeles. Theres something weird and unorthodox about them that I love, which I feel represents me in a way.
How do you approach the design of your retail outlets – what was your brief or goal for your recent Los Angeles store?
The way we see it, is each store is a progression from the last. You get more resourceful, you understand how your brand transcends into a physical space better, and at the same time you want to tell your story as clearly as possible. With our Los Angeles store our main goal was to stand out from everything else on offer in the city but in a non forceful way. When you step into our space, you subconsciously block out the outside world and become completely enthralled in the experience.
Since LA is always warm and sunny, and most stores play with this, there was a natural juxtaposition of our brands black, clean, cooler temperature, good smell and earthy wood toned aesthetic, which helped create a unique retail experience. Our brand's about conveying a high quality and premium image at an accessible price point matched with great customer service. I think this LA space encapsulates I Love Ugly well as a brand, without needing to explain to people what we are about. It’s something our team is really proud of, and is now performing very well.
How much do you think the interior design of retail spaces can influence your brand? I would say nowadays, this is one of the most important branding exercises every brand needs to have. If you cant translate your brand into a physical environment, something is missing, and customers will pick up on this.People have high expectations now. When you enter a retail space, people need to feel something, and the stronger that emotion is, the more people will become attached to your brand.