Ultra Tee – a collaboration between Geneva based graphic designer Juan Sebastian Rickenmann and Angie Sam based in the Ukraine – creates trendy t-shirts for urban people. Ultra meaning beyond, the label offers more than just fashion. The whole collection is eco-friendly and combines responsible production processes with innovative design. Under the slogan ‘Let our planet be green!’, every Ultra Tee customer gets a small bag of flower seeds with their delivery as a gift. We talk to Angie about her passion and future plans.
Sublime: What inspired you to create Ultra Tee?
Angie: I was born in Ukraine near Chernobyl and therefore have been faced with ecological issues from a young age. I saw the way my country has changed: radiation, irreversible environmental processes, people’s health deteriorating.
I’ve always wanted to use the resources within my reach to make a positive contribution in my country and get involved in eco matters. I wanted to create an awareness-raising project that could help the next generation develop an environmental consciousness.
So my partner, Juan Sebastian Rickenmann, based in Geneva, and I came up with the idea of launching a clothing brand that would combine fashion, youth and eco-consciousness. It was important for us to create an eco-friendly, high-quality product that ‘talks’ to young people. We want to show that everybody can do something for our planet by choosing to wear green clothing and still be fashionable.
S: What does a usual working day of yours look like?
Angie: I am currently spending a lot of time building relationships with various communities. ULTRA TEE is a member of FELLOWSHIP 500 of the Eco Fashion Forum, which gives us lots of opportunities to develop and expand our company. This global platform helps connecting thousands of pioneers and innovators in fashion and sustainability all over the world.
S: Tell us more about the material you use for Ultra Tee.
Angie: Our current collection is all about softness and has a vintage touch. We use Tencel Lyocell for our clothes – the most environmentally friendly man-made cellulosic fibre, produced wholly from the wood pulp of eucalyptus. The material is well known for its outstanding physical characteristics – silky softness, luxurious drape, and excellent moisture absorbency. It is also naturally hygienic as it inhibits the growth of bacteria. Tencel absorbs colours very well and suits the style of our collection perfectly: it’s romantic, slightly vintage, light, and soft.
S: How have you come up with the beautiful designs for your t-shirts?
Angie: Sebastian is a very talented graphic designer and responsible for the designs. He was inspired by old vintage drawings of flowers and birds. Sebastian is crazy about all things vintage and found some of the drawings in a very old book somewhere in a library’s archives.
S: You say that before you created Ultra Tee you dreamed of creating a project you can be proud of. Do you think there is lack of projects out there one can be proud of?
Angie: Not at all! There are so many great projects all over the world – all of them different and interesting. My goal was to create a social project that was satisfying, a project that is useful for the community, my country, and people in general.
S: Would you like to expand your collection?
Angie: Yes, of course. We are currently working on it and developing unisex sweatshirts, casual dresses, tops and trousers. All items will be made of organic cotton certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and are tested for harmful substances according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and certified by Confidence In Textiles. We are also going to integrate up-cycled and re-cycled fabrics in our new collection, which is a completely new experience for us.
S: What are your plans for the future?
Angie: The Ukrainian eco market is in the early stages of development. Only very recently people have started to ask themselves what they were eating, wearing and where those products came from. As the first Ukrainian eco fashion brand I would like to initiate a progression in the industry. Another dream of mine would be to create a green fashion community in the Ukraine. I would like helping people understand how important it is to live in accordance with our planet and showing them ways of respecting the environment and still be stylish. ULTRA TEE is a member of several Ukrainian, Russian and American eco-platforms that can help sharing experiences and knowledge on how to reduce the negative impact on our planet by living differently.
S: What is your vision?
Angie: I think it is creating a strong relationship between different people all over the world who have the same ambition, people who want to move forward, people who are passionate about making their dreams come true.
Check out their launch collection at Ultra-Tee.com