'Wear Nice Clothes' is the ultimate in procrastination for our writers who prefer to write satirical fashion commentary than actually do the work for their degrees. We love vintage shops, charity shops, clothes that last forever and customisation.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

An Interview with Me&Yu.

Viki Imrie talks to the up and coming fashion label.


You have to be in London, Paris or NYC to make it big in the fashion world, right? Actually, wrong.

About four years ago, Wear Nice Clothes blogger, Kate Lloyd organised a hilariously shambolic fashion show for charity and asked (forced) a little known brand called Me&Yu to take part, after finding them at Manchester Fashion Market. Her memories of the event, other than that of having her fringe gelled, include how lovely the Me&Yu designers were and how interesting their pieces were.

Me&Yu is now a flourishing, Manchester based label (no thanks to Kate). Their bright, screen printed and hand customised clothes are now stocked in stores all over the country. With customers like Shameless and Skins cast members, their clothes have been worn by Noel Fielding and Agyness Deyn and they have recently designed a quirky menswear line for River Island. A real tale of the underdog, they prove that success comes from hard work not connections. 

Wear Nice Clothes blogger, Viki Imrie, spoke to the design duo about their accomplishments.

Viki - You’ve developed a large on-line community through your blog, which blogs do you read on a regular basis?
Angie- I really like the Sartorialist for a classic fashion street style blog but White Lightning and Style Bubble are great too. I also like completely random blogs I find through Blogspot.

Gordon- I tend to look at the more street wear related blogs- the daily street, hypebeast, streething, Wooster collective and I’ve recently been looking at a few art based blogsBooooooom and Svartkonst. Like Angie I do find a lot of blogs just by stumbling across them so I normally spend a few hours a week just browsing new blogs. 

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get started writing or promoting their own blog?
Gordon- I think it’s important people don’t worry about how many people are reading it, just keep writing. We’ve been lucky in that we promote the blog through the shop. 

Your collaboration with Rads Kapur was really interesting, do you plan to do the same with any other writers?
Angie- We’re always open to people approaching us for collaborations. Rads came to us for work experience and we wanted to give her the opportunity to get her work out there. It was interesting getting her to ‘guest’ our blog and it inspired us to be more creative with ours.
Gordon- I found it really very interesting to collaborate with a writer as it’s not the norm for a fashion label so we definitely want to do more art based projects in the future. 

The photo montages on your clothes are amazing, do you take the photos yourselves or do you source them from elsewhere?
Gordon- The photo montages are something we’ve wanted to do for ages but it’s only recently that we’ve been happy enough with the quality of the technology required to do it. I would love to use all original images but it’s just not possible. 

You've used a lot of 'hybrid' animals on your recent collection with mismatched body parts; any new ones in the pipe line?
Angie - A Unikitten. I'm definately going to be featuring this in a new design (Unicorn and Kitten - forever miniature and cute)
Gordon - Cat/Dog (like the cartoon)

You've just sold a menswear range to River Island (congratulations!) but how do you feel about the high street scene right now? If you could stock a women's range in any high street store which one would it be?
Angie- We're actually in talks with Topshop at the moment about producing an exclusive range for them - this would be perfect for us! I think the high street has got some great looks at the moment but some of the cheaper stores have really poor quality clothing . I also hate wearing something that lots of people have so it always puts me off buying from the high street.

Gordon - I think the women’s wear on the high street is pretty good but the men’s wear is sadly lacking. I also have issues with the quality of the cheaper shops and how that reflects on brands like ourselves. 

Me&Yu for River Island

If you could dress any celebrity/celebrities in your clothes who would they be? How do you feel about celebrity clothing ranges, like Kate Moss for Topshop for example? Do you think the 'let's all dress like our favourite celebrities' mentality is getting old or stifling individuality?
Angie- Personally, I don't really get the whole celebrity endorsement thing - if something is good I'll buy it no matter who designed it. Having said that I think there have been some great pieces in the celebrity collections and perhaps it’s just a novel way of presenting different ranges. It will be interesting to see if this fades away in the next year or so. We've had our clothes worn by Agyness Deyn and Noel Fielding as well as lots of musicians and actors - we're continuing to try and get our pieces on celebs we like so watch this space!

Do you feel that you tap into key trends for each season or do you go your own way? Do you get requests from friends for certain things and get influenced in that way at all?
Angie- Its always a little bit of both, we knew Alice in Wonderland would be big this season so we made sure we had a design that reflected this but it worked out that it sat well in our Takes a Trip range anyway. Our customers are the people who suggest things and we listen. That’s one of the reasons why I like working in the shop so much.

Gordon - It would be difficult for us not to be influenced by key trends as part of our job is looking at what’s happening, but equally we don't do things just because they are 'in fashion'. 

 Print from Alice Takes a Trip range.

I love chopping up my clothes and experimenting with a needle and thread, how did you two first start playing with clothes and realising you could make a living out of it?
Angie - Well I have been sewing for as long as I can remember and have always wanted to be a designer. I guess it was when we were in Australia in 2004 when we realised it was something we could do together, but it took quite a while and lots of hard work until we could make it our full time jobs. Originally we just used to hand paint straight onto t-shirts before we learnt to screen print.

Me&Yu screen printing.

I know you started out selling clothes in fashion markets and Affleck's Palace which is one of my favourite places to shop for bargains in Manchester.  There are some amazing second hand shops in Manchester and the Northern Quarter is a veritable treasure trove! Do you wear second hand clothes or vintage yourselves and are you inspired by styles from the past? 
Angie- I love vintage fashions and have always worn them, I have quite a collection! We sell re-mixed vintage pieces online and in the shop we also have choice vintage accessories such as boots, handbags and shoes. We've just started selling 'key vintage pieces' such as denim jackets, suit jackets and chunky knit cardigans - they compliment our clothing so well! 

So many people are adamant that the South is the only place to make it where fashion is concerned. You've certainly proved them wrong and it’s great to see designers achieving success in the North for a change! Do you have any plans to move any time soon or are you happy in Manchester? Do you find you have to travel a lot to London for shows?
Angie- I lived in London for 5 years and I didn't enjoy the experience, yes the shops and markets are great but I hate the crowds. Manchester has a good vibe but as we live in Blackpool it is quite hard for us to enjoy all the social scene that Manchester has to offer. I think people in Manchester have a great style and the teenage scene is more connected as it’s so much smaller. We've had to go to London a few times recently for business meetings and it can be frustrating as it is so expensive but I don't have any plans to go back - we'd rather head back to Australia! 

"Alice Takes a Trip!"

We wish Gordon and Angie luck with Topshop! Check out their website for more information.
Written by Viki Imrie.

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