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Naming a brand ‘i love ugly’ is a move that’s equally mad and genius, says Diane Pantoja. Even their store is next to a beauty salon. Diane talks to i love ugly...
A famous quote by Aristotle in a lightbox against the black wall welcomed me into one of my favourite store visits to date. “No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness,” it said and as I learned more about i love ugly, I can’t help but think “Could they have chosen a more perfect quote?” I don’t think so.
Case in point, naming a brand ‘i love ugly’ in a world dominated by billion-dollar beauty-obsessed industries is diametrically opposed to most brand's visions - a move that’s equally mad and genius. And as far as the skeletal framework of their design flow goes, it is nothing short of ingenious too. Shapers are today’s shakers indeed.
Taking design to new heights while maintaining their brand philosophy, which is sophisticated simplicity, is a somewhat herculean feat that they seem to be pulling off slowly but surely. Mo Kheir, i love ugly’s branding virtuoso, worked closely with Valentin Ozich and the rest of the great minds behind the brand to develop their very own digital library that houses data on their fit-out materials - from colours, material, and components among other things - all unified by their own parametric system to ensure ultimate brand cohesiveness.
Not the easiest concept to get our minds around but investing on a complex system like this is all a part of their long-term plan that is to sell their brand first and foremost. I’d say always dare to take that first painstaking step and reap the rewards later.
Their vision for the brand clearly translated into the finished product of their newly refurbished store in Mt Eden. The furniture was designed with the products’ best showcasing possibilities in mind.
The innovative train of thoughts doesn’t just stop there. To those unfamiliar with their website (iloveugly.net), check it out and notice how they came up with the brilliant idea of instant reblogging. Coming up with it may have taken them time and effort, but with an increase in Internet traffic by roughly 400%, I don’t think time or resources were wasted.
With their great idea and execution of marrying Branding with Design, all eyes are definitely on i love ugly. The obvious question would be what’s next?
Fashionphiles would be excited to know that a Britomart branch is in the works sometime in the last quarter of the year. Albeit a bit bigger than their Mt Eden branch, the new location would still be small in comparison to other labels’ stores just to steer clear from the luxury supermaket vibe. Keeping things intimate and personal is a must.
And for our readers in neighbouring countries (and yes, even continents), international branches are envisioned as I type and it’s definitely something worth keeping an eye on. Mo instantly mentioned Japan as one of their brand’s dream homes in the future for the simple reason that Japanese sartorialists are trendsetters and never the ones to follow trends, which is exactly what i love ugly’s all for.
For a quick dose of fashion and design at its finest, visit i love ugly at 11 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden or check out their website iloveugly.net
Words and photos Diane Pantoja
29 June 2012