Meet XUMU - Berlin-Based Brand Inspired by the Street
With firm footing in the German art scene, XUMU is known worldwide for its avant-garde sportswear and outerwear. Inspired by designers, stylists, and artists, the label is worn by an international clientele of trendsetters who refuse to have their personal style dictated by societal norms. XUMU is a source of free expression for the fashion experimentalist.
Describe your signature design style in five words.
Edgy, artsy, comfortable, self-confident, rad.
What's your biggest source of inspiration?
Street, but we treat it like a culture, not a trend.
Do you think true innovation in fashion is still possible?
We have to take it as a transition process. Designers are changing. brands are changing, fashion weeks are changing. All philosophy behind fashion is about the change. We think this will be the most innovative era for decades. Of course some of the big brands will die, some cities will lose their shine, but this is a revolution. It can't happen without some pain.
What role does the commercial aspect play for you? Does it limit your creativity?
It is a possible scenario, but we always take it to the limit. If we are hesitant about making it either creative or commercial, we always choose the creative.
What other art forms inspire your collections?
The ones that are well known but rarely spoken. We love to dig into subcultures and find hidden treasures.
Do you prefer to follow or subvert trends?
We do both. We have our ideas and our timeline, but we think it is impossible to be irresponsive to trends. They influence you somehow in your daily routines, and as a result, your designs become affected. Even if you try to resist it, it happens subconsciously.
Do you thrive off of spontaneity or careful planning?
We do both, and we think it is a must to merge these two approaches. When you have a killer idea time becomes your enemy. You have to bring it to life soon before time kills it. If you do not carefully plan your production steps you will probably fail.
Do you prioritize aesthetics or functionality?
Our main inspiration is the street, and the streets have it all. They have the chaos, they have the calm, they have the order, and they have the anarchy. So we have all of these in our collections. Depending on what we are going to represent, sometimes functionality stands out and sometimes aesthetics.
Which fashion designer do you have the most respect for?
Alexander Wang, and my favorite pieces are the Wang-Adidas colabs, especially their sneakers. They match so well with our style. We love wearing them.
Are art and commercialization irreconcilable?
It's a talent to reconcile them. For some artists it's a very smooth process. Some artists consider commercialization irritating. At the end of the day, great art needs money and resources.
What places have the worst-dressed people?
Do you think collaborations between companies and designers are cash plays or real attempts at innovation?
We think it can be both, but I am not against it if it is only a cash play. Either way, it results in innovation, but we are not taking singers and some famous people as designers. Those are the true cash plays.
Do you gravitate more toward designing for men or women?
We are dreaming of a sexless future in fashion, and you can feel it in our designs. Most of our garments are unisex, and more will become unisex. When we are designing a garment, sex is not the first thing we consider.
What first made you passionate about fashion?
We want to create our garments because we want to wear them. If people like it so much we will be a successful global brand. If not, only we will be wearing them. We are a bit bored with the lack of color and craziness in peoples' looks so we try to make it seem normal because it is normal.
Once you’ve mastered a certain style, is it difficult to continue evolving it?
We think it’s all about competition. If there are lots of creative designers, there is a good chance of evolving it. It may be challenging to evolve, and it may not be a commercial approach that follows the trends. We think true designers should design what they see and feel in life. It does not have to fit a trend.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world on a new collection, who would it be?
Greta Thunberg. It would be interesting to discover a new sustainable approach together.
Check out Xumu's new collections here