Interview with the founders of UMTC Studios
The founder duo Kai and Flo do not have the standard fashion career and both come from different working fields. However, with their unique approach to things and the “outsiders-angle” they can look at fashion, UMTC Studios garments have conquered the hearts of streetwear enthusiasts from Germany to Japan. We at the ARYS Store are impressed by Kai’s and Flo’s passion for what they do, their never-ending will to swim against the tide of the outdated fashion circus.
We sat down with them to discuss the story of UMTC and their new collection, which is now also available at the ARYS Store.
Your background is not the classic story of a fashion designer who goes to Berlin and starts his own label. You can rather be called a lateral entrant and your place of work is Ludwigsburg. What were your beginnings like and how did you manage to make a name for yourselves in the streetwear scene from Germany to Japan?
We are career changers and we don't try to hide that at all. Rather, we are of the opinion that we have more freedom in the head to approach things often unconventionally. This allows us to have our very own view of things. Sometimes an advantage. Sometimes not. Many things we definitely had to learn the hard way and that cost us a lot of time, especially in the first years. Through coincidences at Paris Fashion Week 2016, we got connected with a store called CANNABIS in Tokyo. A love that never ended and is ongoing until today. We have been doing various pop-ups and implementing stuff with the crew and haze of the store there for 3 years. We are already very motivated, as soon as entering Japan is possible again, to pick up where we left off at the end of 2019 with our now good friends!
"Silent but radical design" is one of the ways you guys interpret your work. What makes UMTC's clothing stand out? What is your signature design?
Yes! It’s our guideline nowadays. And especially with the current stuff, we believe quite noticeable. Kind of basic. But somehow not. The things are clean and wearable, but still meaningful and strong enough to have a central place in any styling.
We are paying more and more attention to what we buy. For example, fair working conditions in production are now a decisive criterion for a purchase decision. With your "Made in Germany" shirts, you are making an extremely strong statement. Can you give us a little insight into your value chain?
Made in Germany has always been important to us and is a matter close to our hearts. We try to do everything as local as possible. Design, cutting, and production take place 100% on our premises, which allows us to flexibly adapt and change things at any time. Real studio work. Above all, it decelerates us extremely. Especially in this stormy and fast digital age, this is good for us. We try to pass this on to our customers as best we can, for example with our life-long repair service. Every customer of a Made in Germany shirt has the possibility to send in his shirt at any time at our expense and we will take care of the repair.
What we love about UMTC is your independent and casual translation of classic fashion and workwear. The designs are on point and not over the top, making your styles suitable for many people out there. Anyone who wants to stroll the streets in style without looking " overdressed" just has to have a piece from you in their closet. Which of your items have you particularly taken to heart?
Wow!!! Thanks for the compliment. Flo and I are especially proud of the leather jacket. For us, a piece that can not be so easily designed for everyone wearable. But somehow that has succeeded in our opinion quite well. Really many people say first: I do not really wear leather jackets. After trying it on, we get most of them to change their mind about leather jackets. And that was exactly our goal. Flo and I didn't have a leather jacket in our closet before.
What are the further plans for UMTC? What can we expect in the next months?
Quality instead of quantity. That's 100% for sure. Less is more, as is often the case. But we can already announce the next release: our first own jeans. Made in Portugal and an absolute everyday companion. 3 colors. More we don’t want to reveal yet.
Thank you so much for the interview.