U/R Italian offers unique & exclusive collections of accessories, handbags, shoes, and belt designs which come directly from their factory in Italy, straight to South Africa for South Africans. A touch of international flair in South Africa.
Founded in 2018, the team behind the brand have been working together successfully in the fashion business for more than 10 years.
They have extensive experience in designing & manufacturing Italian goods, allowing them to offer the South African market unique & exclusive collections.
They produce only a handful of each item which means their clothing is exclusive to the buyer.
We caught up with Ulrike Bollmann; Owner, Designer and Founder of U/R Italian, who talks us through this exciting new fashion brand in South Africa.
How did U/R Italian come about?
We, the founders of U/R Italian, love fashion and have been devoting our careers to this business for many years. U = Ulrike (fashion designer) R = Romano (businessman) – the label stands for the union of our strengths and passions.
When was U/R Italian officially established?
U/R Italian was founded in 2018 but has a much longer history – we have been working together successfully in the fashion business for more than 10 years. Romano has been in the fashion industry for more than 30 years.
Tell us about the name U/R Italian – what does it stand for?
It stands for the first names of the founders and the most important pillars of the label: Ulrike & Romano…
We like that these letters mean U = you, R = Are in English, because combined with Italian, that’s exactly what we want to express: our customers should feel and become a little Italian when wearing our fashion – that means that every piece from our collections is really Italian and so stands for quality, creativity, elegance, it stands for THE WORLD’S MOST IMPORTANT COUNTRY of fashion.
We love the idea to create this community of “Italians” all over the world and feel like ambassadors of this idea.
Who would you describe as your perfect consumer?
There is no such thing as the perfect consumer – all customers who love Italian fashion and quality clothing are very important to us. Individuals that take pride in what they wear and what they look like should try our products and surround themselves with a touch of speciality, exclusivity, and innovation.
One of our highly esteemed colleagues, Miuccia Prada, once said: “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”
You currently have one store in South Africa – any plans to expand?
Yes, most definitely! But, we have also invested in online trading as we believe, given the current economic situation and Covid-19 impact, that it is extremely important to protect our customers in every possible way.
Testing our products in the safe comfort of their own home should be standard and in addition to that, with online retail, we also reach customers who live outside the metropolises and reach target audiences from around the country.
What can we expect from your upcoming collections?
Each of our collections is our very personal interpretation of global trends in fashion, technology, science, art, and society.
Specifically, this means that our label, from its individual and creative point of view, with each new collection, will allow customers to make a fashion statement!
We believe our customers will always be interesting, elegant and true trendsetters.
What do you want your customers to feel and experience, whilst wearing your clothing?
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak” – that’s exactly what I want for our customers… to feel good, sophisticated and comfortable when wearing U/R Italian.
Do you believe there is a growing potential to bring in clothing from abroad?
Yes, I do, but I also believe that there should be a differentiation.
I am an opponent of “uniformity” that has been spreading around the world for years.
The space for individuality is getting smaller and smaller – which is something we aim to change. I mean, it’s horrible to go to a party and meet 2 other women wearing the same dress! This is exactly what happens to so many women at the moment when a few global players dictate the fashion market.
I hope that the women and men in South Africa continue to show their individuality and personality and maybe UR Italian can help them with that – this is my dream!
Our motto is very conscious: we only produce a small number of each item in our collections, because mass is the opposite of class!
How do you deal with negative criticism/customers?
Criticism, constructive criticism, is like training your mental strength and the chance for feedback. I also prefer to be criticised by the right person than to be praised by the wrong person.
What motto or words do you live by in the workspace?
It is exactly as Michelle Obama said: “There is no magic to achievement, it really is about hard work, choices and persistence.”
“For me, fashion is not just “business with clothing” – for me, fashion is everything around me: the way we live, what ideas we have, what we see, how we see others, it is the most intense lived form of art. It is the interpretation of the world around us expressed in clothing. It is also the only true direct way for all people to express themselves.” says Ulrike Bollmann.
Thank you Ulrike! Follow U/R Italian below!
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