How did you form Umasan? Where did the concept come from?

Our demand, and at the same time our motivation, was to create a line that transcends the production of clothing and establishment of a fashion brand. Innovation in the fashion industry also aims to correct luxury mistakes, to redefine collective values, and to enhance individual values. This was reason enough for us to found Umasan in 2010. We wanted to bring avant-garde “feel-good” fashion with innovative fabrics and using a sophisticated Japanese cutting technique to the fore.

I feel like we’re creating a brave new world combining high end taste with the latest innovation regarding the longevity of planet earth and its inhabitants.

Whom do you design for? How do you want them to feel when they wear Umasan?

Everyone. But, our designs tend to appeal most to people in large cities, who consume with a new awareness for quality, origin, and high demand for design. They combine a high level of sensitivity for holistic and sustainable actions, with an increased awareness of the body. This target group is not just opinion-forming, it is also growing steadily. Our high end collection is also perfect for the global luxury traveler who likes comfort and taste without sacrificing responsibility and consciousness. UMASAN’s goal is to watch life and humanity carefully in order to absorb the right energy that allows a progressive and healthy lifestyle.

How is it working together as sisters and identical twins?

We are twins, so we do everything together. When Anja was studying fashion design, I was so close to her that I became part of it, as well. We always worked together. Anja first started a label with another partner, but that didn’t work out, so we gravitated back together. We have a deeper trust and understanding, which makes everything easier.

Umasan, Autumn/Winter 2014, Fall/Winter 2014, vegan fashion, vegan clothing, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, vegan style, vegan bags, Berlin, Germany, SeaCell, Modal, Tencel, slow fashion, zero waste, zero-waste clothing, zero-waste fashion, cruelty-free fashion, cruelty-free bags, cruelty-free clothing

Umasan is one of the few fashion labels that leads with a vegan foot, meaning that the vegan aspect of the brand is not an afterthought, but rather is the cornerstone. Tell me more about that decision.

We looked at the complete concept of sustainability, and since we are both vegan, it was important to include this aspect as well. We use exclusive vegan fabrications because we believe in animal rights, and we use “vegan” as a primary descriptor of our line to put explicit focus on animal rights.

Veganism ties in to our stance on fair labor, safe materials, and an overall slower pace of life. These are our actions and a state of being, a shift of awareness from ego- to eco-system. To avoid sustainability being just another buzzword, it needs to speak to all of our fundamental beliefs and values.

Let’s talk about fabrics and materials. Umasan uses very innovative fabrications for its clothes. Tell me about those and why those are important to the line.

This shift toward sustainability is not limited to one thing. At Umasan, we’re espousing new values, new consciousness, because we recognize that the human needs aim inside, living to self-awareness, balance, slowing down, sustainability, and consistency.

We use certified-vegan fabrics to create innovative designs that allow the body to breathe, feel held; they’re the best for ergonomic and ecological performance. These methods are designed to respect human wellbeing, safety, and environmental production.  Soy and bamboo are innovative, organic fabrics derived from vegan fibers. They stimulate blood circulation and have natural antibacterial agents, allowing the skin to breathe.

We also work with SeaCell (seaweed), micromodal (beech wood), and Tencel (eucalyptus wood), which have different therapeutic properties for warming, cooling, and moving with the body. We never use synthetics.

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Umasan, Autumn/Winter 2014, Fall/Winter 2014, vegan fashion, vegan clothing, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, vegan style, vegan bags, Berlin, Germany, SeaCell, Modal, Tencel, slow fashion, zero waste, zero-waste clothing, zero-waste fashion, cruelty-free fashion, cruelty-free bags, cruelty-free clothing

Your silhouettes are forgiving and pretty unisex. Was that intentional? If so, why?

Yes, unisex is a big theme for us. The Umasan style is marked by a timeless expression of color and design, which is conspicuous through details. The Japanese cuts we use are anatomic and functional, in other words, the clothes move with you.

Umasan is a aesthetic homage to an unpolished and functional design. The creations are sincere and natural, a subtle phenomena. They melt together with the body and harmonize it into its infinite variety. While fashion usually promotes perfection through symmetry, Umasan embraces the natural asymmetry and irregularities that follow the shapes and beauty of nature.

How is your clothing made? Is the line made in Germany?

Yes, our collections are ethically made in Germany by using innovative Japanese pattern systems.

One of the cornerstones of Umasan is to “slow down.” What does that mean?

Timelessness. Our pieces are made well and according to core ethical values. You’ll have our pieces forever. There’s a certain relaxation in that simplicity.

Umasan, Autumn/Winter 2014, Fall/Winter 2014, vegan fashion, vegan clothing, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, vegan style, vegan bags, Berlin, Germany, SeaCell, Modal, Tencel, slow fashion, zero waste, zero-waste clothing, zero-waste fashion, cruelty-free fashion, cruelty-free bags, cruelty-free clothing

We love your use of multigenerational models. Was that an intentional choice? Why?

Sure, it’s part of the collection themes and all over Umasan’s philosophy to design for everyone. To make clothes that flow with every body.

What is your favorite piece from the Autumn/Winter 2014 show and why?

The long dress; It’s very charismatic, comfortable, and maybe a little histrionic.

You have a very successful brick-and-mortar store in Berlin that carries other brands, as well. What is the mission of that shop?

Umasan calls on people in every walk of life to become aware of the critical situation our world is in and use the power of new thinking and acting to bring about the necessary change. Our shop provides clothes and other goods that are in-line with that type of mindful action, or rather activism.

What are your goals for Umasan in the near future, as well as longer-term?

We don’t want to be a just a niche label. We want  to communicate our message globally and inspire others to follow in our footsteps when it comes to sustainability.

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