Angie Sam went on a quest for creating a t-shirt brand with big eco attitude, yet her latest designs have earned media limelight in their own right.
Sublime: So tell us Angie, where did the inspiration for Ultra Tee come from?
Angie Sam: My mother was a follower of the healthy club long before it became a trendy movement. There was lots of focus on healthy food, physical activity and positive mindsets. We had a big garden where we grew vegetables and fruits – without pesticides of course. As a child, I didn’t like doing farming work. I realise now that learning to grow your own real veggies is actually a real privilege and luxury.
I wanted to further expand these values to everyday life by dressing sustainably too. I thought it would be easy, but I ended up spending weeks and months researching, finding sustainable partners and suitable ecofriendly printing techniques. This hasn’t stopped; I am always looking to improve my supply chain.
Sublime: Tell us about your sourcing decisions?
AS: I work with companies – big and small, local and international - who have the same way of thinking as I do. Honestly, it hasn't been easy to find them. When I work with small, local companies, the most important thing for me is to build strong long-term partnerships that allow us to grow together!
Sublime: What’s the driving force for your passion?
AS: I believe in creating something special and the little details – even my swing tags are made in-house. It is a long process – starting from drawing, designing styles, sewing and then printing each item. I started out with a pencil but today I use design software as there is more flexibility to adapt each design until it satisfies my expectations.
Passion is a kind of freedom, I think. The process is not easy, but it brings me my freedom.
When you look at a tee, you may say, so what? It’s just a t-shirt! But it requires attention and energy to produce a high quality product that is made to last.
Sublime: Who is the one person who you feel would embody your brand?
AS: Emma Watson. She is one gorgeous, talented and committed lady. Wearing a dress made from recycled plastic bottles on the red carpet – I think this sends a very strong message. I wish to prove to the younger generation that they still can wear trendy clothes, but sustainably made!
Sublime: What is your favourite tee from your current collection?
AS: The pineapple as it is so shiny and so summer. It urges me to travel to exotic destinations, and gives me a chance to dream of a holiday when I’m hard at work with the brand.
A little bird tells us you take inspiration from botanical gardens. What’s your favourite?
Le Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris is one of my favorites as I love the unusual tropical plants in its orangery.
Sublime: Your designs embody the style of historic drawings – was this intentional?
AS: Yes! Actually, I have a passion for finding rare and antiquated gardening books. I am sure that the modern world of the internet can tell us so much more, but old books are so inspiring!
I love the technique of drawing and how the plants/flowers are represented with so many tiny details! When I was a child, I spent my summers at my grandparent’s country house discovering different kind of plants and flowers that I would dry in big, thick books. Illustrative botanical drawings recall many fond memories for me.
Nature is Ultra Tee's creative base. There will always be slogan tees, but I’m excited to see how inspirational designs evolve!
Sublime: Where do you plan to take your brand next?
AS: I wish to expand my product range beyond tees. Currently, I am working on a limited edition, handmade accessories line made from fabrics that are printed locally in London and will be launched next month at Pure London, and at Innatex in Frankfurt.