LINEUP Spotlight: Young Uni
"Fashion and creating to earn money has been a big part of my life since I was 13 years old. Currently I am a 19 year old fashion designer and a sophomore in college, working towards a business-marketing degree. In the future, I see myself continuing to create and thrive in the business and fashion world."
LINEUPOKC: In general, what inspires you with your designs.
ELLA: My biggest source of inspiration comes from the new era of fashion "streetwear." To me, streetwear is more than just fashion, it's a culture surrounded by youth. My designs are distinctive, but most of my inspiration comes from brands like Joyrich, M+RC Noir, and A-COLD-WALL.
LINEUPOKC: Do you have a background in fashion? What got you into it?
ELLA: My mom has always said I could dress myself with style, beginning when I was 2 years old. Young Uni came about when I was around 15, and at that time it was based off the same concept as it is today, modified vintage. My friend Madi would take pictures of me in the clothing I was selling and eventually it opened up another path of modeling. I was fortunate enough to model for a very young and talented designer, Isabella Rose Taylor. Through her company, I was able to walk in multiple Austin and Dallas fashion shows and even appear on teenvogue.com and nordstroms.com.
Eventually, I became overwhelmed with modeling and decided I wanted to create again. In 2015, my boyfriend Hunter Owen and I started an interactive streetwear line called MRDR WLF. We specialized in reflective jackets and 24 hour multicolored glow sweatshirts. In just one season, we managed to sell our entire inventory. We were unable to continue MRDR WLF this winter due to busy schedules, but we plan on launching a new collection fall 2017. In the summer of 2016 I decided to relaunch Young Uni. Through my experiences in the fashion industry, I was able to construct a more professional image for Young Uni.
LINEUPOKC: Do you have icons that you look up to? If so, has that shaped your mentality as a designer?
ELLA: ASAP rocky has always been a huge fashion inspiration for me. As far as meeting him, no, but I did get caught up in his posse at Coachella backstage, that counts right? For business inspiration I'd have to say The Chainsmokers. Hunter started working with them during their come up and they have built their brand from nothing in a short period of time. Not only are the double-platinum artists, they're savvy businessmen.
LINEUPOKC: What materials are in your palette right now? What's dope?
ELLA: Some of my favorite materials to work with are clear vinyl and vintage denim. I've dreamt of designing a completely iridescent couture line for years now. Although clear vinyl is somewhat impractical, it brings a new aesthetic to clothing.
LINEUPOKC: How would you define the "niche" of your brand?
ELLA: The Artwear trend is something I'm currently obsessed with. It allows young designers like me to create and sell unique wearable art. It might be a little loud and over the top, but it's different from anything on the market right now.
LINEUPOKC: Tell me a little bit about your experience with the culture here in OKC. Based on your experiences via travel and fashion, what do you think OKC could use here?
ELLA: When I first started modeling in Okc I was very involved in the fashion community. I feel like in some ways I have lost touch with Okc over the past few years, because of traveling and working abroad. Recently, I have become more active in the fashion community again, and I am truly impressed by how our industry has grown. It makes me proud to see young designers and business owners striving to make Oklahoma's fashion industry flourish. Traveling has taught me that Oklahoma has some growing to do, in both the music and the fashion community. This should excite us, as we have the opportunity to be apart of the shaping and growth of our community.