Founded by Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins in 1995, You Must Create, aka YMC, has established itself as one of the UK’s most durable and influential brands. Each season the brand offers a timeless and always relevant wardrobe, in quality materials and made with impeccable craftsmanship.
“You must create” is a call to creativity, to go beyond the boundaries of monotony. To respect this mantra while keeping the notion of an unisex and timeless garment, the duo decided to take inspiration from utility standards, reinventing the basics of the workwear and military wardrobe, always in architectural cuts specific to their brand identity.
Following the times, coupled with a past strongly influenced by the counter-cultures, the brand presents itself as the anti-fashion one, which goes against the current.
With twenty-six years of experience, the brand has 46 collections and none of them seem to have a wrinkle. We are very pleased to introduce our selection of their last SS21 collection. But let’s first have a look back at this London success story, and this amazing duo that never stops surprising us.
On the one hand, we have the genius Fraser Moss.
Fraser Moss is a slightly crazy art director. You’ll probably run into him in a London record store looking for the dustiest vinyl. The one that everyone has forgotten but that perfectly reflects its time.
Because for him, everything has always started from music. His creations and his love for clothes stem directly from his musical crushes. A way of apprehending fashion specific to the British.
So he imagines his collections entrenched in his cabin in his backyard, vinyl turntable in overheating, digging deep into the web the inspirations of the past left behind.
Fascinated by street culture, the Welshman follows closely any movement that comes close to the golden age of youth culture in the UK. A fascination that can’t be taken off him. Between raves, concerts, squats and wild parties, we can say that he represents this period by himself.
He cultivates a rebel punk attitude, and bathes in the universe of the counter-culture, which he still claims today with more maturity.
On the other, Jimmy Collins.
More pragmatic than his collaborator, Jimmy is a pure London product. He was born, raised and still lives in Kensal Green. For him, this is his strength. He thrives on the beauty, creativity and complexity that floods the city streets of the world.
Today Collins is an integral part of this cosmopolitan mix of modernity, poverty and opulence, at the cutting edge of globalization with its opportunities and dangers. A little less dressed up than Fraser, Jimmy is in sobriety and concentration. A professional and early riser, Collins plays hard but makes it a point to always wake up with a smile.
When great minds meet.
It is on this motto that the association of the two collaborators was born: “always wake up with a smile.”
The future partners met around the Professor Head project. A brand founded by Fraser to counter the growing obsession with ostentatious branding and street-culture focus that was too Americanized for his taste.
Refractory to the concept of pure fashion, the artistic director wanted with Professor Head, to propose a minimalist mid-range wardrobe without logo with a European identity.
But both disappointed by this project, the partners decided to leave the ship to create YouMustCreate. A brand new project, faithful to their common convictions: timeless creativity. Our two collaborators could finally wake up with a smile, and for a good time.
All about creativity.
The concept isn’t so very different from Professor Head, except for one subtlety. Moss and Collins wanted to continue with a clean, minimalist, utilitarian foundation. But a powerful spice slipped into the project’s development. A phrase that designer Raymond Loewy tossed out in the middle of a conference: “You must create your own design style”, A simple phrase that our associates took in their face. “You have to create” was the best way to sum up their ideas.
The message may be hard to hear from a clothing brand, but it is simple. YMC offers classics revisited with sensitivity, now it’s up to us to appropriate them to reinvent the codes.
The brand presents itself as a brand of flexible and modular basic utility. The artistic director wanted to bring a little sophistication to the common ready-to-wear. Successful bet, because today, if everyone snatches their pieces is for this extra soul. Each piece is revisited with style and in materials that are always carefully selected.
Modernizing Utility Standards
Fraser then became fascinated with vintage workwear and military garb. An attraction to utilitarian clothing that he justifies by one of the fundamental principles of design: everything must have a reason to exist. He scours London’s fripperies to Parisian ones to unearth the nuggets of these standardized wardrobes.
It is a secret for no one, the genius of clothing lies in the subtleties, the details and the choice of materials. For this, Fraser work hard to unearth vintage fabrics on which he does meticulous research on their origins. He also revisits historical prints with an archivist’s eye in order to not distort them. Everything from interior fabrics to food bags from the Great Depression.
Still relevant retro-futurism
Marked by its cultural inspirations YouMustCreate does propose collections heavily influenced by music, literature and art, not to mention Fraser’s post-punk past. In the early days of the brand, Fraser listened to Stereolab. This is where the brand gets its retro-futurism from.
This idea of looking to the past and twisting it in all directions to create something forward-looking, the firm controls it perfectly.
Fraser is convinced that you can’t create something 100% new, and so he relies on his sure values, without taking them for granted. Taking elements from the past is interesting, but you have to make them relevant and modern to create something lasting and timeless.
For Moss the key to success is simple: “if you are in constant motion, people will always be interested in what you are doing.” What makes him special? His selfishness. Fraser designs for himself and no one else.
It started with a need for clothes that no brand was able to offer him. As mentioned above Fraser is not interested in what other designers are doing. He proclaims himself as a designer with integrity and honesty, who does not follow trends and does not fixate on market demand.
These are the fundamental values of the label. Finally, we always come back to this consciously chosen name. Our two collaborators are attached to it, and have had the same ethics for 25 years. Their success is based on their common desire to create beautiful clothes without being irregular or trendy.
For them, a successful creation is a garment bought 10 years ago, which is still worn today with the same enthusiasm.
The SS21 collection.
For this new collection, The Welshman Fraser Moss plunged into the most occult writings. He was inspired then, by witchcraft and even the woodland people, which he found in the writings of the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley as well as in the novels of the Welsh mystic Arthur Machen.
More contemporary references come from experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger and the music of electronic music pioneer Ruth White.
True to its theme, YMC presents us for this summer a collection high in color, and esoteric symbols.
Blood red, black and gold, floral patterns or paisley, this collection is full of spirituality and mystical sensibility. We find the basics of workwear, mixed with sportswear that take on a countryside look. Pieces revisited in a range of robust but light fabrics such as linen, silk or organic cotton. How can we not mention his collection of Malick shirts with Cuban collars and freshness.
Among them is the Malick bandana print, a shirt inspired by the 40’s in a paisley check pattern straight out of a kaleidoscope. Note that the design is made of Japanese cotton, we are obviously on a piece to be enthroned in a wardrobe of high dress.
Also, for the SS21 season, the English label presents the Paisley Jacquard skate pant Sand. That is to say, a cotton pant typical sport, inspired by the revolutionary pro-skater Tony Alva. Subtly sophisticated, these jersey pants are made in Italian paisley embossed tone on tone. Light, hybrid and contemporary, it is a unique piece.
A selection that perfectly evokes the YouMustCreate label and this collection that exudes freshness, openness and promises a refreshing journey to fantastic and unexplored lands.