i love ugly

I recently had the pleasure of seeing the new I Love Ugly store refit of their flagship store in Eden Terrace. An already great space with a natural age and concrete floors, branding Manager Mo Kheir, head designer Valentin Ozrich and Jordon Saunders have stayed true to their design philosophy.  With a deceptively simple approach, they have most certainly achieved their philosophy of a sophisticated simplicity.  The space is unfussy, stripped out almost, but with incredible attention to detail.  With Mo Kheir’s background in architecture, it is easy to see his influence in the four pieces of furniture that live within the space.  Using laminated plyboard to construct the counter, shelving unit, display case and the seating, they have added texture into the simple black and white colour scheme. We particularly loved the seating bench – with each of the individual panels cut, put in a very particular order, and then held together with giant metal rods worked all the way through. We love the use of text (Valentin’s background is graphic design) with the light box with black text, and the wording on the mirrors – Please don’t stare, and Girls love guys who wear l Love Ugly. The detail of the shelving was just the icing on the cake.  As you walk past, a motion sensor lights up the patterned black and white panels.  You cant under estimate the amount of detail, and work that has gone into finished product.  As you stand at the counter, to your left is a floor to ceiling wall of Valentin’s graphic work. Perfectly placed, with great visual texture.

This attention to details flows through to the packaging, and then to the product itself.  When most companies are just interested in getting product OUT the door, these guys are interested in the entire process. The clothing itself is exactly the same – sophisticated simplicity.  The range is concise (to say the least) with two shirts – long and short sleeves.  They have a small range of fabrics – but are in a position to introduce new fabrics and finishes in a very quick time frame. Some of the finer detailing and tailoring, differs from fabric to fabric. I find it quite incredible that none of these guys has a tailoring background – just an obsessive amount of attention to detail.  There are only two styles of pants – the Zespy and the Jonty.  To round it out, they have the I Love Ugly T Shirt range. I think the striped T in red and white and blue and white could possibly be close to perfect. These T’s are of course unisex.  They are making no concessions to a woman’s shape, just assume that the well cut shirts and T’s will appeal to women wanting that more androgynous look.  With their new watches due shortly, they are making sure the straps have more holes added so they can fit a smaller wrist.  I am personally very happy about this, as the ILU 1.0 watch is possibly the only watch I would wear. You have to love that kind of attention to detail. At present the watches come in both black and tan. Their five panel caps are legendary – and in my humble opinion, the best trucker cap on the block at present.

Their other love is of course music. Mo Kheir himself is in the band The Wyld and Barnaby Marshall (one of the directors) is an audio engineer. They have many musical connections here in NZ with Homebrew and rapper ZU. And in the US with female rapper (and partner of Rob Kardashian – who is also keen on the brand) Rita Ora, as well as Kanye West (yes, you read that right – Kanye West).

As well as their Eden Terrace flagship store, it looks like I Love Ugly could be heading to the Britomart sometime very soon. After the high standard that the boys have set with their current store, we cant wait to see what they do with their next one.

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