To kick off the inspirational section of the site, I had the great opportunity of interviewing the creative designer of Ukulele, Purple-Qie Qin. Ukulele is a high-end, high street fashion label based in London. In this quick chat, Purple gives us a brief insight into how it all started, staying focused and keeping at it.. A great read for all aspiring designers, retailers and anyone trying to break out..
Ezinne Chinkata: Tell us about Ukulele?
Purple: Ukulele is a London based contemporary womenswear label. We love anything dreamy and romantic with a modern twist. Ukulele is cute, feminine and subtly sexy.
EC: What is behind the name Ukulele?
P:Ukulele represents a relaxed and happy lifestyle. I believe that fashion is not an unreachable vision. Fashion is a tool to put a smile on everybody’s face.
EC:Did you have to have a degree in fashion?
P: Fashion and science have always been two things I love in life. I completed a maths degree at Manchester university and then after graduation I took up a production role in London where I learnt how to develop garments. Unlike all the designers I can’t draw very well. Lucky enough I still manage to produce what I create in my head. My motto is if you love something, go and do it. Don’t stop just because you think you’re not technically good enough.
EC:Without your previous work experience, would you have been able to succeed at this?
P:Surely not. You need to work for other people to understand what it needs to succeed. Learning from other people’s mistakes is much better than learning from your own mistakes.
EC:Your big break was?
P:My big break was when British girl band Little Mix wore the statement denim jacket from my first collection on their first american tour and London IT girl Millie Mackintosh started wearing our cute dresses on her blog. She has nearly 1 million followers.
EC: Toughest point in your career?
P:I had no money to employ anyone at the beginning, so everything I did came from my bedroom. I designed the whole collection, sourced the fabric and cut out all the patterns I wanted- all while sat on my bed in my small flat in London. It was tough, and there were a lot of late nights and working weekends, but I’m lucky to have a lot of friends in the same industry who could help me out in their spare time.
EC: One advise for the aspiring designer or fashion entrepreneur?
P:Do your research and plan properly. Opportunities are only for people who are prepared.
EC:What is your advice for the undergrads about to go into the universities?
P:As Steve Jobs once said, ‘ Stay hungry. Stay foolish. ‘
EC: How do you stay focused?
P:Doing something you truly love.
EC:Where do you draw your inspiration from?
P:I take inspiration from everything around me. Music, films, culture, art, dreams. Everything from my favourite photographer Ryan McGinley’s youthful dreamy photos, the girls who are still living in the 90s in east London, the ravers who danced in the rain in festivals, to Taylor Swift. I’m collecting everything I find interesting and sometimes things I find funny.
EC:What do you feel is the one quality necessary for success?
P:Talk less and do more.
EC:What has helped Ukulele the most?
P:Connecting with your customers on a personal level. Knowing their needs.
Ukulele is stocking at Zinkata. For enquiries please contact us on +234 9090404886.
Image Credits: Purple-Qie Qin