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The evolution of hip label YMC


Second chances are hard to come by in general. But in the world of fashion design they’re practically non-existent. Which explains why the new-found success of the independent clothing label YMC is such a big deal to its founders, Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins.

Having opened a flagship store in London’s Soho district last year, they’ve been building up a fan base among the city’s trendy young people with their classic styles that are neither strongly masculine or feminine. Which brings to mind the hip niche brand status YMC held back in the 1990s before they nearly lost it all. In Collins’ own words, “We were getting along nicely – we had a shop on Conduit Street, people loved the designs – but it became a disaster. We knew nothing about production and made some very bad decisions.” As a result, Fraser and Collins were forced to close the shop and abandon their womenswear line. If it weren’t for a generous investment from the French Connection, the brand may never have achieved the cash and know-how to get back on its feet again.

Nowadays, looking back on the rough times the brand has weathered, its comeback is quite remarkable. From the very beginning Moss (who manages the design side and leaves the rest to Collins) knew his aim was to produce original garments that people who loved clothes would find appealing, independent of seasonal fashions. “It’s a cliché, but although money might buy you fashionable things, it can’t buy style,” says Moss. “And I’d like to think our customer is someone with a real sense of their own style.”

YMC’s 2010 spring collection, dubbed “YMC Basics”, is all about every day apparel like t-shirts, polo necks and sweats, with a commitment to quality that’s inherent to the brand. The spring pieces are understated with a light design touch and precise attention to detail. Overall, the collection is a reflection of YMC’s focus on classic design with a contemporary touch. The collection features 100% cotton jerseys with a pleasing marl effect and ribbed collars that make them ideal for summer, and garments with a nautical feel like knitted cotton cardigans with anchor buttons and navy and off-white stripes.

Terrence Jones is a fashion student in London, and avid fan of clothing labels like YMC.