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The New Zealand menswear label sends affordable style around the world

 

If you’re asked to name the most fashionable places in the world, cities like New York, Paris and Milan would likely spring to mind before anywhere in New Zealand. While the country, nestled in the Pacific to the south-east of Australia, may be best known in the States as home to Lorde or where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed, there is a lot more going on there than just that – including a burgeoning fashion scene.
One of the labels best positioned to bring New Zealand’s fashion credentials mainstream globally has already garnered attention for their eye-catching name: I Love Ugly.

The menswear label, founded in New Zealand in 2008, has a subversive streak that runs throughout the collection, and surely helped inspire the unusual moniker. In his mission statement, Creative Director and Founder Valentin Ozich wrote, “When people see the words I Love Ugly, I like to ask myself what that person feels… We look at things in a different light.

We value all human aspirations and endeavors with sincerity and intellect.”
More simply, the brand aims to produce, as they say, "quality men's clothing for the independent mind."
That perspective manifests itself in a collection of apparel and accessories with broad appeal; this isn’t fashion for elitist tastes. Instead, it’s a well-rounded assortment of streetwear-influenced wardrobe basics that touch upon trends without going in full-throttle, and all at a very accessible price point.

So, to satisfy those seeking to get into the performance-inspired look currently taking over streetwear, you have the ubiquitous tailored sweatpants for $95 and an (American) football jersey that is reminiscent of the recent output from designers like Givenchy and Marcelo Burlon, but priced at a much more affordable $85.
 Someone less interested in trends may gravitate toward evergreen pieces like a straightforward washed denim buttondown shirt for $105 or a smart, gray woolen overcoat for $305.

But throughout it all, I Love Ugly maintains a level of uniformity by incorporating into their designs subtle twists on the norm and simple, unexpected details. The tailored sweatpants, for example, have a dropped crotch; that wool overcoat has a seersucker lining.

That formula lends the brand an almost universal appeal: you can find pieces that will help you stay up to speed on whatever the fashion industry is churning out as the current look, but also round out your wardrobe with timeless essentials - and you can expect a standard of quality and interesting design features across the board.

I Love Ugly's eyewear assortment is similarly versatile. While the frames coordinate nicely with the brand's apparel selection, they can stand on their own, as well. Again, the designs reference both classic, simple pieces - like the the Alistar style, a standard round-frame pair of sunglasses - as well as their take on updated iconic shapes. See, for example, the Obi, which is a graphic, squared-off version of the iconic Clubmaster frame by Ray-Ban. It's a little bold, a bit unexpected, but still accessible, just like the best of I Love Ugly's clothing.

I Love Ugly has continued to expand upon its success at home. The brand recently opened up its first flagship US retail location, in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. And while their onward and upward trajectory seems inevitable, they'll always be linked to New Zealand.

Just ask Lorde, one of I Love Ugly's most famous hometown fans.

For more on I Love Ugly, visit iloveugly.com.



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Men's Magazine: The New Zealand menswear label sends affordable style around the world
The New Zealand menswear label sends affordable style around the world
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