Monday, November 28, 2011
We are ULTRA
We are ULTRA is a sustainable collective for the future. Founded by Tengku Jamidah and Anita Hawkins, two women with an eccentric mix of experiences in design, art and politics. The pair have recently won an Innovation award through the EFF for Ultra 10. A collection designed to be the only items you need for a whole year, it challenges the over flowing wardrobes of most of us! Anita tells us how the concept began.
How did Ultra start?
In 2009 my partner Jamidah and I had come to turning points in our lives. Jamidah had just become a mother and was starting to think about how to make products and a lifestyle that was beneficial for a child; and I had just finished working with UNHCR and had started to think about how I could use my experiences to benefit something larger than myself. Since then we have created artwork, installations, skincare and more, with a future-minded perspective.
Can you expand on the concept behind your 10 piece wardrobe?
It's about addressing the need for conscientious consumption. Thinking about what one really needs and how much use you can get out of well-designed basics and multifunctional clothing. It's compiled of ten pieces designed for a woman to wear for a year, made up of innovative pieces such as a 4-in-1 coat/dress/jacket/skirt. When it launched, Amena from The Wellness Works committed to wearing only the ULTRA 10 and a few basics, donating the rest of her wardrobe to prove the point of conscientious consumerism and simplifying one's life.
Call you tell us a bit more about your yearly exchange and up-cycling service?
We aim to create a refreshed set of ULTRA 10 once a year, which builds on the idea and gives extended options. We offer the owners of the previous ULTRA 10 the option to return their pieces in exchange for a large discount on the newest version. It's an effort to reduce the waste often associated with fashion, we will recycle, upcycle or donate the returned pieces as responsibly as we can.
Where are you based and how does this inform your work?
I am based in Shanghai which as a massive city in a heightened state of flux is highly influential on my own pace of innovation. It helps inform the pace of my work as well as confronts me with the huge state of consumer culture and ensuing environmental effects on a daily basis. It keeps me in check and striving for forward momentum.
What's next for We are Ultra fashion?
We are developing new ways to distribute our clothes and ethos through means that are not so taxing on the world. Downloadable design being one of them. We will also seek to keep refining ideas such as the ULTRA 10 so we can really make an impact on how people view the way that they are consuming fashion.